Local News

June 25, 2014

Sexual battery, underage booze case going to grand jury

At one time, Gilmer County Sheriff Stacy Nicholson said more arrests were coming “soon” following a May 10 incident where around two dozen Calhoun High School students held a post-prom, underage drinking party in Ellijay where one of the girls was sexually assaulted.

But complications have prevented those additional arrests with the case going before a grand jury next week, Nicholson said Tuesday.

“We have had much discussion about this with Alison (Sosebee, district attorney), as late as (Tuesday) and we’re probably going to be holding off on the alcohol charges for a little while because of this reason — every one of those kids at the party in one way or another is a witness to the more serious crime,” Nicholson explained. “We’re going to have to have them, and it’s going to make it difficult for the prosecutors to be able to communicate with them if they are criminal defendants.”

Nicholson added he was “not real fond of the idea” of not charging the underaged participants at the party for drinking, but certainly understood the need for it to help the case move forward.

“That’s just of kind of where we’re at right now,” he said.

Currently, three 18-year-old Calhoun High graduates — Fields Chapman, Andrew Haynes and Avery Johnson — have been charged with one count each of aggravated sexual battery and possession of alcohol by a minor. None of the three was allowed to walk through graduation commencement exercises after the story broke about the party in a cabin on the Coosawattee River.

Johnson lost his college baseball scholarship to Georgia Highlands College for being charged with a felony, school officials there said. Another teen involved in the case as a witness, Rhett Harper, who was the valedictorian at Southeast Whitfield High School, has his baseball scholarship under review at Georgia State College, which is coached by Gilmer High alumnus Greg Frady. Harper’s identity was released to the media by his attorney, Sam Sanders of Dalton.

Chapman, Haynes and Johnson were each released on $51,000 bonds the day they turned themselves in at the Gilmer County jail.

Text Only
Local News
  • Longtime Dalton business Green Spot to close

    Larry Green says he made the decision more than a year ago.

    July 29, 2014

  • Kiwanis Club3.jpg Kiwanians get a lesson in money and banking

    It makes it easier for us to buy and sell goods and services. It is the measure by which we judge the relative value of those goods and services, and it allows us to “store value,” by placing it away and using it when we need it.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sheriff: Inmates don’t ask to vote

    In his 21 years of service, Whitfield County Sheriff Scott Chitwood said inmates have never asked for the opportunity to vote.

    July 28, 2014

  • Little library 1 mlh.jpg Little Libraries, big goal

    Whitfield County just received a new library.
    And better yet, 26 more are on the way to the region.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Picture 3.jpg Rock solid

    A great number of things have come and gone since 1974.
    One that hasn’t: a small Dalton school founded by parents wanting a unique learning environment for their children.

    July 27, 2014 2 Photos

  • Vann House Day '14 6 mlh.jpg History comes alive at Vann House

    SPRING PLACE — In the early 1800s, the 1,000-acre plantation belonging to Cherokee Indian leader James Vann was a bustling place.

    July 26, 2014 5 Photos

  • Local officials agree with Deal

    Regarding news last week that approximately 30 unaccompanied minors from Central America, who had crossed the southern border into the United States, were sent without warning to Dalton last year and enrolled in Dalton Public Schools, Republican politicians representing portions of Murray and Whitfield Counties agree — state and local school officials deserved to know in advance, they say.

    July 26, 2014

  • Former chamber location 2 mlh.jpg Plan could cut flooding, stormwater damage in Dalton

    On a recent day, McClellan Creek flowed gently through Harlan Godfrey Civitan Park. But some park goers who live near the area say that even a mild rain can turn the creek into a torrent that eats away at their property.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Civil War anniversary: The Battle of Crow Valley, May 9-12, 1864

    The Atlanta Campaign began during the first two weeks of May 1864 in and around Dalton. Union Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman’s strategy was to target two of his armies, about 80,000 men, against Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston’s Army of Tennessee at Dalton. Then, while Johnston’s attention was diverted by these forces, he would secretly send his third army, about 25,000 troops under Maj. Gen. James B. McPherson, in a flanking movement to the southwest through Snake Creek Gap. Sherman’s goal was to break Johnston’s railroad supply line some 15 miles south at Resaca and trap Johnston’s Confederates in Dalton.

    July 26, 2014

  • New church being  built mlh.jpg Church construction continues

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo