ROUNDUP: Columbus police say teen shot parents because they made him do chores instead of looking up Bible verse for friend who wanted to be 'saved'

COLUMBUS — The teenager accused of opening fire on his parents Friday evening was angry that they insisted he do his chores instead of looking up a Bible verse for a female friend who had told him she wanted to be "saved," a detective testified Monday in Muscogee Juvenile Court.

Detective Amanda Hogan said the 15-year-old felt his mission to find the right verse for his friend took priority over the list of chores his parents maintained for him, and when they insisted Thursday that he stick to the list, his pent-up rage grew overnight Thursday and continued to build all day Friday while he was at school.

So he went to his parents' night stand where he knew they kept a .9-mm pistol, took the gun and hid the gun in his room, Hogan said. When his parents got home from work Friday, he first went to the bathroom, then stepped into his bedroom, got the gun, came out and opened fire, the officer said.

His mother, Kristi Lynn, 45, was shot through the right wrist, and a bullet lodged in her right abdomen, Hogan said. The father, Randal Stanley Askevich, 40, was hit in the right hip, she said.

When police got the 5:54 p.m. call to the family's Olde Towne Drive home, they were told the boy still had his parents at gunpoint, so officers did not go charging in, Hogan said. But then the father got the gun away from the teen, and the mother came outside to tell police what had happened, the detective said.

Hogan said the mother told police her son was on several medications, and the parents could not believe he had shot them. The parents were not present Monday in juvenile court, and authorities said they were having difficulty contacting them. Hogan said they were released from The Medical Center around noon Saturday.

The detective said the mother and father kept the teen's seven or eight medications atop their gun safe, but had not stored the pistol in it.

The bespectacled boy sat silently in court Monday and did not testify. He was represented by attorney Richard Zimmerman.

Testimony revealed the boy in 2011 had been through Juvenile Drug Court, a diversion program to guide minors away from drugs and crime.

As Monday's preliminary hearing concluded, Judge Andrew Dodgen ordered the boy remain held without bond at the Youth Detention Center until a formal hearing is conducted later. The Hardaway High School student is charged with two counts each of aggravated assault and possessing a firearm while under the age of 18.


Judge sets Atlanta school cheating hearings

ATLANTA — The 35 defendants in the Atlanta Public Schools test-cheating case will get their first day in court early next month.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Jerry Baxter, who is presiding over the massive case, has asked lawyers who represent multiple APS defendants to appear before him on May 2 to consider whether the attorneys have possible conflicts of interest. The following day, Baxter has scheduled arraignments, during which the defendants are expected to enter formal pleas of not guilty.

Late last month, a Fulton grand jury indicted former APS Superintendent Beverly Hall, three area superintendents, six testing coordinators, six principals, 14 teachers and others in a racketeering conspiracy. The defendants are also charged with making false statements and writings, influencing witnesses and theft by taking.

Baxter's initial concern will be to make sure lawyers with more than one defendant do not have conflicts of interest. Legal ethics rules say lawyers cannot represent co-defendants with competing interests.

Atlanta lawyer Bruce Harvey said he foresees no conflict problems with his representation of former Dunbar Elementary School testing coordinator Lera Middlebrooks and Venetian Hills Elementary School principal Clarietta Davis.

"My clients are from separate schools and they don't know each other and have never spoken to each other," Harvey said. "There's no actual conflict of interest. I don't see how this will be a problem."

As for the charges against his clients, Harvey said, "This is more mouseketeering than racketeering."

Atlanta lawyer George Lawson, who represents former area superintendents Tamara Johnson, Sharon Davis-Williams and Michael Pitts, also sees no problem with representing all three defendants.

Lawson already represents the trio in a lawsuit against APS, alleging the school system violated state employment laws and ruined his clients' reputations and their ability to secure other employment.

"Their interests are not antagonistic to each other," Lawson said, adding that all three will fight the charges at trial. "They've asked me to (represent them). I have no concerns about it."


Jones County coroner to halt body removal services over benefits flap

MACON — As of midnight Monday, Bridges Funeral Home is no longer picking up bodies and storing them for Jones County.

Coroner Jerry Bridges Sr., who owns the funeral home, said he sent Jones County commissioners a letter last week explaining that he would no longer provide those services after the commission decided to end health insurance benefits for deputy coroners as of May 1.

"I'm mad as all get out and trying to be as gentlemanly as possible," Bridges said Monday. "Tonight at 11:59 p.m., we're not making any more removals."

Jones County Commission Chairman Preston Hawkins was out of town Monday and referred questions about the situation to County Attorney Frank Childs. Efforts to reach Childs for comment were unsuccessful Monday.

Bridges said he charged the county $400 to remove corpses from crime scenes, accidents or other deaths. Typically, two people were needed for such calls that come at all times of the day and night.

Bridges Funeral Home provided that service for free for 20 years between 1984 and 2004, he said.

In recent years, the funeral home also provided refrigerated storage, when needed, at $100 a day.

His business has cold storage for up to 16 bodies at a time.

"This is about the coroners office, but Bridges Funeral Home was brought into it," he said.

Bridges currently has five deputy coroners, but only three of them were on county insurance, including one whose child was recently diagnosed with spina bifida, he said.

In 2004, the deputy coroners were classified as full time due to the amount of time they spend on call, Bridges said.

The deputy coroners were given a one-line statement from the human resources department on April 2, notifying them of the change.

"I didn't get any notification at all," said Bridges, who was informed later in a private meeting with the board.

Bridges said he'd put his highly educated deputies up against anybody in Jones County.

"County commissioners get hospital insurance, but they are part-time," he said. "That's small town government."

Telegraph writer Phillip Ramati contributed to this report. To contact writer Liz Fabian, call 744-4303.


COUNCIL: Only doctors can give tattoos

AUGUSTA — Grovetown council members unanimously approved an ordinance Monday that allows only licensed physicians to give tattoos inside the city.

The city attorney presented council members with ordinance options to regulate tattoo shops in the city.

"This is the one council has chosen," Mayor George James said.

The new ordinance goes into effect immediately. It also covers body piercings.

James has previously said only allowing licensed physicians to perform tattoos is the "safest" option.

Electric Avenue, the city's only tattoo shop, and its owner, Brad Thomas, were grandfathered into the city ordinance and will be able to continue operating under the guidelines that were in place when Thomas opened the shop on Robinson Avenue.

The Columbia County Board of Health, on which James sits, worked with commissioners to put a body art ordinance in place in early 2012. That ordinance, which local tattoo artists were involved in developing, regulates sanitary and safety procedures.

Thomas' shop falls under the county ordinance and, like other county shops, is inspected annually and must follow strict operating procedures.

Thomas attended the meeting, but did not comment on the ordinance. He has said that he doesn't have a problem with the new rules.



VSU 1 year, 11 months ago

Another example of a sick person. My sister had just emailed me saying an elephant was a victim of a drive by shooting. No one is safe anymore. just too many sick minded people out there.


Cartman 1 year, 11 months ago

That first story is screwed up on many different levels. All I can say is "wow".


trudy2 1 year, 11 months ago

I'm betting on the shooter boy's daddy being a member of the NRA. So much for keeping a gun safe locked and the gun on top of it.


VSU 1 year, 11 months ago

Hopefully he learned his lesson and will keep it locked up from now on, but with him in the same house I think I would sleep with one eye open or keep the bedroom door locked.


Sherwood_Eagle_Alum 1 year, 11 months ago

You're missing the forest for the trees, young man.


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