Tag Archive: georgia

Ga. school gunman sentenced, why Trench thinks it’s too long

Michael Brandon Hill

Michael Brandon Hill

Do you remember Michael Brandon Hill? A little bit more than a year ago he took several guns into the Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy in DeKalb County, Georgia. No one was hurt after he briefly exchanged gunfire with police and he ultimately surrendered after being talked into it by the school secretary. Considering he was armed to the teeth and had 500 bullets in his possession, yet no one was hurt, I had suggested that he was trying to commit suicide by cop. I was right.

This past Tuesday Hill pleaded guilty to the charges against him. He said that he wanted to take responsibility for his actions. He was then sentenced to 20 years in prison, that sentence doesn’t help anyone. Hill has a history of mental illness, specifically being bi-polar. According to Hill’s brother he was off his meds because his Medicaid ran out, a situation that I can certainly relate to. Even at his hearing Hill admitted he was trying to commit suicide by cop.

“He knew because there were children the police would come there and they would fire at him and he would die,” Deets told Superior Court Judge Mark Anthony Scott. “He is a 21-year-old man who had the deck stacked against him from birth. He reached out for help but our system, as it exists, is not equipped to give people like Mr. Hill help.”

Not to mention, and yes I will keep beating this horse, that seeking help for mental health issues in our society is still stigmatized. His own brother even said that he had ‘the bi-polar’. That’s a great example of how many people are still ignorant of what these terms really mean.

Bottom line is 20 years in prison is too much for Michael Hill. This is someone who actually needs treatment and not jail. Sentence him to a state psychiatric facility? Fine, that I have no problem with. In prison I doubt he’ll get nearly the help he needs.

14-year-old Ga. girl prostituted and impregnated by Backpage pimp

Arthur Gerald Reid

Arthur Gerald Reid

Recently 27-year-old Arthur Gerald Reid of Macon, Georgia, tried to get out of his guilty plea during a sentencing hearing. Back in 2013 Reid pleaded guilty to prostituting a 14-year-old girl on Backpage. He also got the girl pregnant as well. As usual with these gutless cowards Reid used threats of intimidation and violence to get the girl to work for him.

Reid tried getting out of his plea by saying that he didn’t understand what he was agreeing to. Thankfully the judge didn’t buy it.

The really sad part is that some of the girl’s family don’t want her around because they fear they’re in danger while other members of her family call her a whore.

I’m sure if asked Backpage would just call this a byproduct of their freedom of speech while wrapping themselves in the flag.

Journey Ann was not in the system

Boyd and Payne

Boyd and Payne

Couple charged in beating death of 1-year-old Bartow County girl:

This is an older story but I think it still deserves attention.

I’m not usually a fan of nontraditional names but Journey Ann is a beautiful name for a beautiful baby. Unfortunately 1-year-old Journey Ann Cowart’s own journey in this life was cut short. Journey Ann’s mother, Brandy Ann Boyd, and her boyfriend, Austin Payne, both of Cartersville, Georgia, were arrested for Journey Ann’s death.

The coroner’s autopsy revealed that Journey Ann had been systemically beaten prior to her death. Blunt force trauma was the cause of death and the autopsy also showed that she had been beaten previously with bone fractures that never healed properly. If she hadn’t been killed Journey Ann probably would have grown up handicapped due to all the injuries she sustained.

What really grabbed me about this story is this quote from the article…

Investigators said they had not received reports of child abuse in the home from either the Division of Family and Children’s Services or family members.

I don’t know why that struck a chord in me but it got me to thinking about how a lot of child abusers are good at hiding things. How many stories have been posted here where the suspects either moved around to avoid detection or hid behind home schooling? A lot of them are eventually found out but too many of them go undetected until it’s too late.

The police and child protection agencies can’t be everywhere at once so we as citizens need to be their eyes and ears. Maybe you don’t know how to report child abuse. Do you call police, family services, your local crime stoppers? My answer to that is yes to any of the above. I asked someone who works for a child protection agency at what point should someone call in a suspected case of child abuse. They told me if you have any suspicion of child abuse to notify someone. It doesn’t have to be physical signs like bruises or cuts. In case you don’t know who to contact I found a list of each agency in each US state and how they can be contacted. As the old adage goes if you see something say something. However let me also add that you shouldn’t go looking for child abuse everywhere you look. If you look for abuse everywhere you’ll see abuse everywhere whether it exists or not.

I’ll have that link posted on the sidebar as well.

Thanks to Victoria for the tip.

Journey Ann Cowart

Journey Ann Cowart

Ga. principal says he ‘taught’ other girls

Douglas principal charged with attempted child sex released on $50,000 bond:

John Harold McGill

John Harold McGill

John Harold McGill is an elementary school principal in Georgia. I would imagine that the school district is trying to relieve him of that position since he was arrested in DeKalb County during a craigslist predator sting. McGill allegedly responded to an ad placed by investigators posing as a woman who was offering her teenage daughter for sex. McGill allegedly responded by saying that “he has taught other girls and he would go slow.”

A statement like that would lead me to believe that this isn’t McGill’s first dalliance into underage girls, only the first time he’s been caught. McGill’s lawyer is arguing that his client didn’t do anything wrong because of the wording of the arrest warrant.

“There’s no mention of the (girl’s) age in that warrant,” Pilgrim said. “The warrant said ‘teenage daughter.’ That could mean 16 or 18. The evidence is different than the warrant.”

I’m sure the investigators have enough documentation saying what age the purported teenage girl was and I get the feeling it was under the legal age of consent. I don’t think that McGill would be into ‘teaching’ 18-year-olds.

McGill is also out on $50,000 bond.

If McGill had ‘taught’ other girls I wonder how many of them were from craigslist. If you think no real parent would actually turn out their kid on craigslist like this you’d be very sadly mistaken. It’s real, it does happen and craigslist does nothing to stop it.

Backpage rapist couldn’t get away with it twice

Accused backpage.com rapist arrested after a second Athens assault:

Gary Shane Chatham

Gary Shane Chatham

36-year-old Gary Shane Chatham of Danielsville, Georgia, allegedly raped a Backpage prostitute in 2012, but police didn’t have enough to hold him. It seems like he tried his luck a second time, because he’s been arrested for the rape of another Backpage escort, but this time Athens-Clarke County police are able to keep him behind bars for now.

The way Chatham was caught this time reads like the shortest episode of CSI ever, minus all the sunglasses removing. At the scene of the second rape police discovered a cigarette butt which Chatham admitted to that being his brand during questioning. The victim was also able to give details of Chatham’s life that he supposedly actually told the victim before he raped her at knifepoint. Everything else came together when police were able to connect Chatham’s cell phone to the victims.

Police have also re-opened the investigation into the first rape.

The sadder part is that not only were these women allegedly raped but they could also be the victims of sex trafficking as well, meaning they could also be getting raped for money that they won’t necessarily see. Still, Backpage calls that free speech.

UPDATE 6/22/2015: Chatham was recently indicted on charges of THREE sexual assaults on women he found on Backpage.

UPDATE 7/20/2016: Late last month Chatham was sentenced to 30 years behind bars with a chance of parole after 25 years. He’ll also have to spend the rest of his life on the sex offender registry.

Craigslist killing in Georgia over an iPhone

Irving and Dent

Irving and Dent

2 Riverdale teens held in death of Lithonia man selling iPhone:

25-year-old Jevon Nathan Freeman of Lithonia, Georgia was allegedly shot and killed by 18-year-old Terrance Justin Dent of Riverdale, Georgia. Freeman had placed an ad on craigslist to sell his iPhone. Dent responded to the ad and when the two met to make the deal police say that Dent shot Freeman. Then Dent allegedly gave the gun to his 17-year-old cohort Latrel Irving. Nice friend. No honor among thieves and all that apparently. Dent has been charged with murder while Irving has been charged with possession of a weapon by a minor. Police say that Dent has admitted to the murder.

And once again people still think that craigslist is safe. I used to joke by referring to craigslist with a famous quote from Star Wars. The tagline of the old craigscrimelist site was that craigslist was an online hive of scum and villainy. While a little melodramatic the heart of that quote still applies to craigslist.

One of the arguments I get most is that crimes like this also happen with newspaper classifieds as well. I’ll tell you what. Compile those statistics from the last 6 years and then let’s compare notes. I’m confident that the craigslist numbers will dwarf anything related to the newspapers.

500 bullets

Brother: Georgia school shooter changed as a teen:


A big deal is being made about the fact that Michael Brandon Hill allegedly had 500 bullets on him when he exchanged gunfire with police at the Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy. A lot of people seem to think that this shows how intent he was on killing people at the school. I’m still not buying it. I still think that he was trying to commit suicide by cop. Not to take credit away from Antoinette Tuff though. She talked him into surrendering rather than taking his own life. However if Hill was really intent on killing kids he would have because any kind of security in our country is mostly theater, or done for the sake of appearance if you will. A man with an AK-47 and 500 rounds of ammo can go anywhere he damn well please depending on his willingness to kill and again I don’t think Hill had it in him.

Hill’s brother appeared recently on Piers Morgan’s show and stated that his brother has a history of mental illness.

“Once he started hitting his teenage years, something happened with him. Everything just started changing after doctors started messing with his medicines here and there, and changing them up and putting him on a different one and institutionalizing him multiple times to correct his medicine. It just escalated from there.”

He said Michael Hill set fire to the family’s home when eight people were inside sleeping — the fire was discovered before it spread — and at another point their mother awoke to find him standing over her with a butcher’s knife.

“My stepfather and mother ended up having to lock up…like all the knives in the trunk of the car, just to protect everybody in the home,” Tim Hill told Morgan.

Tim Hill also confirmed that his brother threatened his life on Facebook, prompting him to call police. He said he feared for his life.

Not to excuse Hill’s actions in any way but supposedly he was off of his medications because his Medicaid benefits ran out. That opens up a whole other can of worms that we won’t get into right now. All I’m saying is that no one was physically hurt in any of Hill’s previous violent tendencies. I think these were all cries for attention as he seems to be all bark and no bite.

Like I said previously this is one of the rare cases where I hope the suspect gets the help he needs. It just shouldn’t take having to storm an elementary school with a loaded rifle to get it.

Craigslist killing in Atlanta

Man shot and killed during Craigslist sale:

Man reportedly shot during botched DeKalb Craigslist deal:


As if the DeKalb County section of Atlanta didn’t have enough problems to deal with yesterday an unidentified 60-year-old man was shot and killed during a craigslist deal gone bad.

The details have not been forthcoming but reports say that the victim was allegedly meeting with potential buyers for a cell phone he was trying to sell. Police seem to think that this was a botched robbery attempt. No suspect has been apprehended at this time.

With the lack of details I can only comment on this, craigslist is dangerous. I realize that craigslist has millions of transactions that happen without any malice but has an inordinate amount of transactions that end up just like this one.

UPDATE 4/15/2015: The victim was 56-year-old Clarence Gardenhire and his killers Contevious Stepp-McCommons, 20, and Malik Rice, 19, have both been convicted and sentenced to life without parole.

Yesterday’s shooting at DeKalb County elementary school in Georgia

Police: Gunman wielded AK-47 inside Georgia school; no one injured:

‘Lucky we didn’t have anyone killed’: 20-year-old charged after school shooting:

Neighbors: Alleged shooter quiet, friendly:

Michael Brandon Hill

Michael Brandon Hill

Yesterday 20-year-old Michael Brandon Hill stormed the Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy in DeKalb County, Georgia. The school is an elementary school. Hill was said to be armed with an AK-47 among other weapons. Considering the media and I haven’t seen a picture of the actual gun that’s up for debate if it was an AK-47 because sometimes the media thinks that just about any rifle is an AK-47, but I digress.

Once inside the school Hill told a school employee to call local TV station WSB to tell them ‘start filming while police die. After exchanging shots with police Hill surrendered peacefully. Not to flog a deceased thoroughbred but I was unable to find which weapon he used to exchange gunfire with police. It’s also unknown at this time if Hill has any connection with the school. No one was injured in the fracas. Some reports say that a school secretary by the name of Antoinette Tuff talked him into surrendering. Hill’s brother says that the suspect has a history of mental problems ‘including bi-polar’.

Neighbors say that Hill was quiet and polite and looked after his roommates’ kids without any trouble.

On the surface I’m going to say that this was more than likely a suicide by cop plan. Hill slipped into the school behind somebody and if he was really going to kill any children he would not have hesitated and what better way to get the attention of an entire police force? Since he has ‘bi-polar’ as his brother put it he could have been having an extremely depressive episode which could have triggered this. As some who has the ‘bi-polar’ I can sympathize with Hill but I can’t excuse his actions. Just with that brief exchange of gunfire with police could have resulted in the deaths of innocent victims. If my hypothesis is correct this would be one of the few times I would prefer to see the suspect sentenced to a mental facility rather than prison.

Just by his brother saying that he has ‘bi-polar’ shows how much that people with depressive conditions are still stigmatized in today’s society. We need to let this stigma go so more people would be willing to come forward to get the treatment they need than resorting to acts of self-violence that could also harm others.

Fugitive Backpage serial rapist caught in Georgia

Joseph Sivonda

Joseph Sivonda

Serial rape suspect taken into custody:

Accused serial rapist captured in Gwinnett County:

After being on the run for a week police in Gwinnett County, Georgia arrested 23-year-old Joseph Tyler Sivonda on rape charges. Police believe that Sivonda would order a prostitute off of Backpage and when they showed up to his apartment complex he would force them into a vacated apartment at gunpoint and rape them. Five victims have come forward but police say there may be more. However for someone who police believe is a serial rapist he’s only being held on $2400 bond. He should be held on at least a six figure bond. Anybody could post the bond that he got and he could be out at anytime looking for more victims.

Also this is yet another problem that Backpage has a hand in yet doesn’t do anything about as long as the money keeps coming in. They don’t care how many women and girls are raped, trafficked or killed.

UPDATE 6/22/2015: Sivonda was convicted and sentenced to three consecutive life terms.