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ADA: Gwinnett teacher charged with sex assault impregnated ex-student

A former Gwinnett County band director who has been charged with 20 counts of sexual assault had a relationship with a student in North Carolina that resulted in a child, Assistant District Attorney Matt Acuff said Thursday.

Villie Jones, 44, was denied bond after a hearing on Thursday.

The sexual assault charges, as well as one charge of child molestation, stem from alleged sexual relationships that Jones had with four South Gwinnett High School students.

All of the students were female members of the school band, which he directed. Jones has admitted the sexual relationships on video, Acuff said.

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In asking that bond be denied, Acuff cited the child that Jones had with a former student.

Jones began a sexual relationship with the student 10 years ago, when she was a sophomore at a school in North Carolina where he taught, Acuff said.

The relationship continued through the student’s high school career, and she had Jones’ baby at the age of 21, Acuff said.

“There is reason to suggest that he’s been up to this behavior for about a decade,” Acuff said.

Jones’ sister, Velandria Jones, said that she knew the child’s mother had been a student when the relationship began. Velandria Jones was one of five people who asked for Jones to be released on bond.

Judge Warren Davis denied bond because he was concerned that Jones could commit another crime and because Jones could contact any of the four alleged victims, even though he would be barred from doing so.

The fact that Jones had fathered a child with a former student led Davis to believe that pursuing sex with students was a “long-rooted” pattern that “goes back years,” Davis said.

“My experience is: People don’t really change. They are who they are. When you’re dealing with issues such as relationships, sex drive, other things like that, that doesn’t change at all,” Davis said. “When I look at that and I balance that, I do find that the allegations and the pattern would cause a concern to the community.”

Acuff expressed concern for the victims’ vulnerability if Jones were to be released on bond.

Jones allegedly ignored directions to not spend time alone with one of the victims because she had mental health issues. Another alleged victim referred to Jones as her “boyfriend.”

“That speaks to the amount of manipulation he is capable of,” Acuff said.

If convicted of all charges, Jones would face a maximum sentence of 520 years in prison.

This article was written by Amanda C. Coyne, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

ADA: Gwinnett teacher charged with sex assault impregnated ex-student

A former Gwinnett County band director who has been charged with 20 counts of sexual assault had a relationship with a student in North Carolina that resulted in a child, Assistant District Attorney Matt Acuff said Thursday.

Villie Jones, 44, was denied bond after a hearing on Thursday.

The sexual assault charges, as well as one charge of child molestation, stem from alleged sexual relationships that Jones had with four South Gwinnett High School students.

All of the students were female members of the school band, which he directed. Jones has admitted the sexual relationships on video, Acuff said.

TRENDING STORIES:

Man shot, killed in car in front of his children and wife Sheriff: Deputy never went inside to engage school shooter Among the cast of 'Black Panther' is a 91-year-old Atlanta actress

In asking that bond be denied, Acuff cited the child that Jones had with a former student.

Jones began a sexual relationship with the student 10 years ago, when she was a sophomore at a school in North Carolina where he taught, Acuff said.

The relationship continued through the student’s high school career, and she had Jones’ baby at the age of 21, Acuff said.

“There is reason to suggest that he’s been up to this behavior for about a decade,” Acuff said.

Jones’ sister, Velandria Jones, said that she knew the child’s mother had been a student when the relationship began. Velandria Jones was one of five people who asked for Jones to be released on bond.

Judge Warren Davis denied bond because he was concerned that Jones could commit another crime and because Jones could contact any of the four alleged victims, even though he would be barred from doing so.

The fact that Jones had fathered a child with a former student led Davis to believe that pursuing sex with students was a “long-rooted” pattern that “goes back years,” Davis said.

“My experience is: People don’t really change. They are who they are. When you’re dealing with issues such as relationships, sex drive, other things like that, that doesn’t change at all,” Davis said. “When I look at that and I balance that, I do find that the allegations and the pattern would cause a concern to the community.”

Acuff expressed concern for the victims’ vulnerability if Jones were to be released on bond.

Jones allegedly ignored directions to not spend time alone with one of the victims because she had mental health issues. Another alleged victim referred to Jones as her “boyfriend.”

“That speaks to the amount of manipulation he is capable of,” Acuff said.

If convicted of all charges, Jones would face a maximum sentence of 520 years in prison.

This article was written by Amanda C. Coyne, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

MLK's daughter supports students, says gun changes overdue

As the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination approaches, the civil rights icon’s daughter said Thursday that limiting access to guns is long overdue.

The Rev. Bernice King, speaking at The King Center in Atlanta, offered condolences to the families of the 17 people killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and commended survivors for their activism to change gun laws.

She said she hopes people can "look toward solutions as these young people are forcing us to have the conversations, bipartisan conversations."

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She also said she plans to join them for the "March for Our Lives" rally in Washington next month.

"I thought about the fact that, 50 years ago, my father was taken away from us with a rifle," she said. "A few years after, my grandmother was slain ... It is long past due in this society that we do something about the access to guns and the type of guns."

Martin Luther King Jr. was fatally shot on April 4, 1968, while standing on the balcony of a motel in Memphis, Tennessee.

Starting April 4, The King Center will hold a series of events during a six-day span to commemorate the 50th anniversary of his death.

The center will launch a cross-cultural act of kindness campaign, a peace prize award ceremony and a global bell ringing that will start at the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis and the King Center in Atlanta. King said she wants to focus on peace instead of violence.

Channel 2 Action News, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and WSB Radio are also planning special commemorative coverage surrounding the anniversary.

"Daddy gave the vision," King said. "He outlined philosophy and methodology. But it was the people who embraced it. I'm hoping it will revolutionize our society to come back to it. I hope we don't miss this moment. Daddy said we still have a choice: nonviolent coexistence or violent annihilation. For me, it's recommitting to my father's nonviolent philosophy and methodology as we move forward."

King said the planning for the anniversary was an opportunity for "deep healing."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Convicted murderer mistakenly released from jail

The jail that mistakenly released a convicted murderer says no one will be disciplined for what happened.

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Office realized a mistake was made after the murder victim's family saw the murderer on the streets.

"Sounds like somebody didn't relay the right information or didn't look," one DeKalb County resident told Channel 2's Tom Jones .

The jail said it didn't know Javoris Hurston had recently pleaded guilty to manslaughter in Fulton County.

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"So, there's a murderer on the street again?" one resident asked. 

Hurston had been free two days before a fugitive squad located him and put him back in jail.

DeKalb officials realized the mistake after the family of murder victim, 51-year-old Barry Hawkins, saw Hurston on the streets and called wondering how he got out.

"I don't know this family, but I sympathize with them," said a mother who also lost a son to murder.

Hawkins was killed in 2015 on Ira Street in Atlanta. Hurston was arrested and then got out on bond. Soon after, he was arrested in DeKalb County on aggravated assault charges.

Last June, Hurston was sent back to Fulton, where he pleaded guilty to Hawkins’ killing and received a 20-year prison sentence.

Then he was sent back to the DeKalb County Jail to answer to the aggravated assault charges. The charges were dropped Feb. 15. The jail then released Hurston.

DeKalb officials say Fulton didn't send over the disposition of the murder case so it released him.

Fulton officials are looking into what information it sent.

Residents feel bad for Hawkins family.

"My prayers go out to them because that’s not right. It is not right," Butler said.

The DeKalb jail says no procedural errors were made by its employees, so no one will be disciplined.

Hurston is back in the Fulton County Jail awaiting transfer to state prison.

2 arrested in connection with series of random shootings

Atlanta police believe they have found the suspect and SUV involved in a series of random shootings.

One driver was shot overnight on I-20 West near Holmes Drive. Another driver was shot on Fulton Street, flipped his car and hit two other cars. A third person was shot and killed in his car in front of his wife and children in DeKalb County.

Police do not believe the shooters knew any of the victims. 

The two surviving victims told police the shooter was in a silver SUV.

Police said a stolen SUV was involved in a high-speed chase in southeast Atlanta on Thursday afternoon. Georgia State Patrol said the chase ended when a trooper performed a PIT maneuver along Moreland Avenue.

Authorities said the driver, Mikeal Callaway, 24, and his female passenger were arrested. 

We have a reporter gathering the latest details in this developing story for a live report on the Channel 2 Action News Nightbeat at 11.

 

3 shootings just hours apart. Why would the suspects shoot at random people? We're working on getting that answer. But we can tell you now that police have the 2 suspects they believe are responsible. pic.twitter.com/C8IMMf2ZZp — Tyisha Fernandes (@TyishaWSB) February 23, 2018

 

As police were responding to the 3 shootings acorss 2 counties, they didn't know if they were connected. Police are now saying they're all connected, but they still don't have a motive. We're expecting an update from APD shortly pic.twitter.com/XhoHwrHRcy — Tyisha Fernandes (@TyishaWSB) February 23, 2018

 

Police are still investigating the shooting spree, but right now they believe it was just random acts violence by 2 suspects - a male and a female. We're gathering details & will have a live report on Ch2 at 11pm pic.twitter.com/wcphNntua7 — Tyisha Fernandes (@TyishaWSB) February 23, 2018

 

5-year-old girl reported missing reunited with family

UPDATE: Police say the girl has been located and is with her family.

Authorities in LaGrange are asking for the public’s help locating a missing 5-year-old girl.

According to LaGrange police, Aubri Parker Carston was last seen around 6 p.m. Thursday in the 800 block of Borton Street.

Aubri was last seen wearing a turquoise long sleeve dress with a dog print on it. Her hair was up in a bun on top of her head.

Anyone with information on Aubri’s whereabouts is asked to call 911.

CLICK HERE to share Aubri's photo from the official WSB-TV Facebook page.

AMBER ALERT issued for 8-year-old girl from Florida

An Amber Alert has been issued for an 8-year-old girl from Florida.

According to Channel 2’s sister station WFTV in Orlando , 8-year-old Juliet Odierna was last seen in the 3000 block of Oasis Boulevard in Cape Coral.

Juliet is 4 feet 3 inches tall and weighs about 80 pounds. She was wearing a blue polo shirt, khaki shorts and black shoes.

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Officials with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement said Juliet may be with 34-year-old Jennifer Odierna and 37-year-old Theodore Moschovas. 

Moschovas was last seen wearing a light blue shirt with white stripes, tan shorts, brown sandals and a white hat. The three may be traveling in a black 2016 Hyundai Accent with the tag “CBN-123.”

PLEASE SHARE! FL AMBER Alert for Juliet Odierna, 8yo W/F, 4'3", 80lbs, strawberry blonde hair/ blue eyes. May be w/ Jennifer Odierna and Theodore Moschovas in 2016 black Hyundai Accent, temp. tag no. CBN9123. See flyer. Info? Call Cape Coral PD at 239-574-3223 or 911. #FLAMBER. pic.twitter.com/WMrf13IOoI — FDLE (@fdlepio) February 22, 2018

Investigators haven’t released the relationship, if any, between Juliet and the two adults.

Anyone with information on the missing girl is asked to call Cape Coral police at 239-574-3223 or 911.

Family confidant says Billy Graham was ready to be with God in final days

Preparations are underway for the funeral of the Rev. Billy Graham.

The Billy Graham Evangelical Library in Charlotte closed down Thursday as crews began putting up a tent on the grounds where Graham’s funeral will take place. 

Channel 2’s Justin Wilfon traveled to Charlotte, where he learned about Graham’s final days. 

[PHOTOS: Rev. Billy Graham through the years]

For more than 70 years the Graham turned countless doubters into believers by reaching millions through TV and his crusades.

“I think what’s interesting about Billy Graham is how he changed over the years,” said Tim Funk, religious reporter with the Charlotte Observer. “Over time, he became less fiery, less judgmental and almost became more like a grandfather figure by the end.”

Funk had a front row seat to the end of Graham’s career.

[Billy Graham's daughter: 'Daddy is home']

“I found him incredibly gracious and warm and humble,” Funk told Wilfon. 

As a longtime confidant of the Graham family, Funk gave new insights into the reverend’s final days.

“He could not hear, he could not see. I think he was frustrated that he couldn’t see because he loved to read the newspaper and he loved to read the Bible, and he couldn’t do either,” Funk said. 

[Former President Jimmy Carter releases statement on Billy Graham's death]

After circling the globe for decades on his crusades, Funk said Graham spent much of his final years alone at his home outside of Asheville.

After spending a lifetime finding millions of followers, he died on Wednesday with only a nurse by his side.

“I think he was lonely. I think he missed his wife, who died in 2007, and he talked a lot about how he couldn’t wait to die to be with her and God in heaven,” Funk said.  

[PHOTOS: Billy Graham was counselor to presidents]

Graham will be honored in Washington, D.C. next week. His body will lie in honor in the rotunda in the U.S. Capitol next Wednesday and Thursday.

Members of the public are invited to pay their respects.

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