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Crime & Law

    The owner of two popular downtown Athens bars was arrested Monday after a 21-year-old woman reported she was sexually assaulted at one establishment. The alleged assault happened Sunday at Hedges on Broad, the East Broad Street bar and music venue owned by 38-year-old David Ellis Ippisch. The business owner is facing charges of battery, sexual battery, kidnapping and rape, Athens-Clarke County police said Tuesday in a news release. Ippisch is being held in the Clarke County Jail without bond. No further information about the alleged incident was released. Ippisch also owns 100 Proof, another East Broad Street bar frequented by University of Georgia students.  Anyone with information concerning the case is asked to contact Detective David Harrison at 762-400-7361 or Lt. Derek Scott at 762-400-7068. — Please return to AJC.com for updates.
  • A former Louisiana State University student was sentenced Wednesday to five years in prison for his role in the alcohol-related hazing death of a freshman from Roswell, but a judge suspended all but 2½ years of the term, according to local media reports.  Matthew Naquin was also sentenced to 1,000 hours of community service, three years of probation when released and he must pay a $1,000 fine, The Advocate reported.  Naquin, 21, of Fair Oaks Ranch, Texas, was convicted in July of negligent homicide in the September 2017 death of Max Gruver.  Gruver, 18, died after a hazing incident at the Phi Delta Theta fraternity house, according to investigators. He had an alcohol level of .495% — more than six times the legal limit for drivers — at the time of his death, the East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner’s Office previously said.  LSU President F. King Alexander temporarily suspended all Greek activities after Gruver’s death. The fraternity’s national headquarters also suspended the LSU chapter. Gruver was a 2017 graduate of Blessed Trinity High School and planned to study journalism at LSU. He loved sports and helped coach younger children, including his sister’s basketball team, according to his family.  “Max was very lovable. He cared a lot about people,” Eugene Gruver, Max’s grandfather, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution the day after his death. “He was bright, he was intelligent. He was so talented. He knew all about sports.” Prosecutors placed the bulk of the blame for Gruver’s death on Naquin. At trial, they told the jury Naquin ripped up Gruver's bid card and made it his personal mission to keep Gruver out of the fraternity, the Advocate previously reported. During the ritual, when Gruver answered questions about the fraternity incorrectly, prosecutors said Naquin forced him to drink. In July, two other former LSU students were each sentenced to a month in jail for their roles in Gruver’s death.  Sean-Paul Gott, 22, of Lafayette, Louisiana, and Ryan Matthew Isto, 20, of Butte, Montana, pleaded no contest to misdemeanor hazing charges.
  • A Dahlonega man was shot and killed in his front yard Wednesday after pulling a knife on a Lumpkin County deputy, the GBI said. Shortly before 1:30 p.m., authorities received a 911 call from a woman on Black Mountain Road who reported a domestic disturbance involving her husband. Deputies arrived at the home and made contact with 55-year-old Paul Cheek, who was standing in his yard, the GBI said. Cheek then allegedly pulled out a knife, prompting the deputy to pull his weapon and fire. Cheek was struck once and died at the scene, the GBI said. No officers were injured in the incident.  In an emotional video posted to his department’s Facebook page Wednesday evening, Lumpkin County Sheriff Stacy Jarrard said he knows both the deputy and Cheek’s family. “I’m familiar with a lot of people that’s involved with this situation,” the sheriff said, adding that he’s known the deputy “all of his life.”  “My prayers go out for all individuals involved,” he said, fighting back tears. “I would ask for everybody to remember them in prayer and I will release more (information) as I can.”  Wednesday’s incident was the third officer-involved shooting reported in Georgia in less than 24 hours. The night before, a Richmond County investigator was shot and killed while conducting a routine patrol with a narcotics unit in Augusta, authorities said. Investigator Cecil Ridley was fatally injured at a gas station, Sgt. William McCarty with the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office told AJC.com. RELATED: Deputy killed, suspect injured in shooting in Augusta The 51-year-old is the third Georgia law enforcement officer killed by gunfire in 2019 and the seventh to die in the line of duty.  A suspect was also killed by police in Henry County after exchanging fire with officers outside a home in Hampton overnight, authorities said.  William Harris, 51, was fatally shot by Hampton police after telling officers he was going to kill them and opening fire, the GBI said. Police were sent to the home on North Avenue to conduct a wellness check, authorities said. MORE: Man dies after exchanging gunfire with police in Hampton, GBI says The three officer-involved shootings were the 77th, 78th and 79th that the GBI has been asked to investigate this year.  — Please return to AJC.com for updates.  In other news:
  • The GBI was called late Monday night to the scene of its 76th officer-involved shooting investigation this year. The latest shooting was the result of a 911 hang-up call at a Walton County hotel, according to city of Monroe police. Officers arrived at the Haven Inn and Suites on West Spring Street just before 9:30 p.m. and determined there was some type of dispute between the hotel and patrons. According to the GBI, officers tried repeatedly to identify a man on the scene. That man, 35-year-old Chad Joyner, was ultimately found in a Jeep. He refused officers’ orders and accelerated, the agency said. An officer fired at the vehicle, hitting Joyner at least twice. Joyner was taken to Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center with injuries that are not considered life-threatening. He was still in the hospital Tuesday morning, the GBI said. No officers were injured in the incident. The officer who fired at the vehicle has been placed on routine administrative leave, and the GBI is now leading the investigation, according to Monroe police.  The Atlanta Journal-Constitution also tracks officer-involved shootings that don't involve the GBI, and those numbers sometimes differ from the GBI's tally. — Please return to AJC.com for updates. In other news: 
  • A Georgia deputy accused of killing a University of Georgia graduate student believed the man was having an affair with his wife, newly released 911 calls show. Former Madison County Deputy Winford “Trey” Terrell Adams, 32, has been in jail since Sunday evening after allegedly shooting Benjamin Lloyd Cloer multiple times at a home in Athens. The 26-year-old was pursuing a master’s degree in artificial intelligence at UGA.  RELATED: Sheriff’s deputy fired after fatal shooting of UGA grad student According to 911 calls that AJC.com obtained Thursday from Athens-Clarke County police, Adams immediately called for help and admitted shooting the college student. “I just shot somebody,” Adams tells the dispatcher. “My wife was cheating on me and I couldn’t take it. I didn’t shoot her, I shot the guy. I couldn’t stop myself.”  At the time, Adams didn’t know the extent of Cloer’s injuries, telling the dispatcher he wasn’t sure where the man went. “He ran away. I don’t even know if I hit him,” Adams said, breathing heavily. “I’m about to go look for him.” At that point, the woman on the line tells the deputy not to do that, but to stay where he is and put his gun down while he waits for police to arrive. Adams then threatened suicide, telling the operator that he’s a deputy sheriff and “can’t go to jail for the rest of (his) life.”  “I can’t go to jail,” he cried. “I can’t. I’m sorry ... Tell Athens-Clarke County I’m not going to hurt any of them, but I can’t go to jail.” Toward the end of the nearly 5-minute call, Adams expressed concern for his shooting victim, asking dispatchers if they received a call from Cloer and if he was OK. “If you’re there, I’m sorry,” the deputy can be heard yelling, presumably to the man he had just fatally wounded. “Oh my God ... I did shoot him. I see him. I see blood on the steps.” The deputy’s wife, Charlotte Adams, also placed a 911 call, telling authorities that her husband had just shot her friend.  In the background of that call, her husband can be heard telling her, “I always loved you, even if you didn’t love me.”  The dispatcher on her call then advises Charlotte Adams to get away from her husband, if possible.  “My friend is bleeding out,” Charlotte Adams told the dispatcher. “His name is Lloyd Cloer. He’s just my friend. This was a misunderstanding. My husband doesn’t understand he’s just my friend.” Much of what she said during her 12-minute, 30-second conversation is inaudible in the 911 tape. Police can be heard arriving at the scene about eight minutes into the call.  Once they arrived, Trey Adams directed first responders to the injured man, according to the tapes. He was arrested at the scene on a murder charge and remains held at the Athens-Clarke County Jail without bond.
  • The wife of the Flowery Branch police chief was one of three people arrested last week when narcotics agents seized about $6,500 worth of heroin and methamphetamine from a Gainesville home. Samantha Sheri Spillers, the wife of Chief David Spillers, has been in the Hall County jail since her Nov. 7 arrest for heroin possession, authorities said.  RELATED: 3 charged after bags of heroin, meth seized from Gainesville home The bust was organized by Hall County’s Multi-Agency Narcotics Squad at the home of Albert Lee Scott and Samantha Ann Shugrue in the 2000 block of Ridgeway Drive, police said last week.  Inside the home, agents discovered about 20 grams of heroin packaged in multiple bags, approximately five grams of meth, four Xanax pills, two firearms and $3,000 in cash. Scales, syringes and ledgers to keep track of the alleged drug sales were also seized, according to police. “Many families have been impacted by addiction and, unfortunately, Chief Spillers has been placed in the difficult position of dealing with his wife’s sickness,” Flowery Branch City Manager Bill Andrew wrote in an emailed statement to AJC.com. “I have been aware of this situation and have determined it has not been an impediment to Mr. Spiller’s performance as Chief of Police.” According to the city, David Spillers joined the department in the summer of 2006. He was promoted to police chief in July 2012.  Samantha Spillers, Scott and Shugrue all remain held at the Hall County jail.  Shugrue is the only defendant who has been given bond, records show. She is eligible for release if she can come up with $4,600.  In other news: 
  • A state investigator was arrested Wednesday after being accused of giving contraband to an inmate who allegedly killed two guards during a prison transfer escape in 2017. Public defense investigator Lily Engleman faces a count of introducing contraband after she allegedly gave Ricky Dubose two small unknown items during a prison visit, the Georgia Public Defender Council told Channel 2 Action News. Authorities have not said what the items were. Dubose is one of two convicts who escaped a prison bus in Putnam County in June 2017, allegedly killing two corrections officers. RELATED: Georgia fugitive confesses to gunning down prison guards Engleman allegedly gave Dubose the contraband Sept. 6 while inside the special management unit at Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison near Jackson, Channel 2 reported. She’s accused of putting the items on the ground, which he then picked up and hid in his socks. She was suspended by the Georgia Capital Defender’s Office, which is representing Dubose, after the arrest, pending the outcome of the investigation. The Georgia Capital Defender’s Office is a division of the Georgia Public Defender Council. Dubose and his co-defendant, Donnie Russell Rowe, both face the death penalty in the deaths of Sgts. Curtis Billue and Chris Monica. They allegedly admitted to the crime before pleading not guilty last year, saying they would only plead guilty if prosecutors would reverse the decision to pursue the death penalty. District Attorney Stephen Bradley has turned down that offer. MORE: Inmate who escaped pleads not guilty to charges he murdered 2 guards Before the escape, Dubose was serving 20 years for an Elbert County armed robbery and Rowe had been sentenced to life without parole for an armed robbery in Macon. They were being transferred to Butts County from Baldwin State Prison along with 31 other inmates when they escaped. RELATED: Work continues on proposed reforms to safely transport inmates The two escaped because their handcuffs were not “double locked” and the gate separating the inmates from the guards was not locked, Dubose admitted in interviews with investigators. In that interview, he admitted to being the shooter. The two were caught in Tennessee after a three-day manhunt. ALSO: Three Days on the Run: How the manhunt for Georgia fugitives unfolded Engleman was booked into the Butts County Jail before being released on a $5,000 bond, Channel 2 reported. Her bond was granted by Magistrate Judge Megan Kinsey. While her case is pending, she is barred from visiting any Georgia Department of Corrections property. In other news:
  • A former southeast Georgia police officer will serve prison time despite his acquittal in the fatal shooting of a father of two.  Zechariah Presley was sentenced Friday to one year in prison and four years on probation, according to Jacksonville, Florida, news station WJAX.  A jury found the former Kingsland officer guilty of an oath of office violation, but he was previously found not guilty of the more serious charge of voluntary manslaughter, the news station reported.  The charges stem from the death of Anthony Marcell Green, who was shot and killed June 21, 2018, AJC.com previously reported.  RELATED: Georgia officer arrested after shooting, GBI says Presley followed a vehicle driven by Green, GBI officials said following the incident. The vehicle stopped, and Green ran from the scene, according to the state agency. Presley pursued and eventually made physical contact with Green.  MORE: Victim in police shooting ID’d as father of 2 “Green again fled from Presley, at which time Presley fired multiple shots resulting in Green’s death,” GBI agent Stacy Carson said after the shooting. Kingsland is in Camden County, about 335 miles southeast of downtown Atlanta.
  • A Hartwell man faces vehicular homicide charges after slamming head-on into a car driven by a University of Georgia student and then leaving the scene, Athens police said. The student, identified as 20-year-old junior Drury Anderson Shierling, was killed about 6 a.m. Wednesday on Timothy Road when the other driver took a curve too fast and crossed into his lane, according to a crash report. The driver who caused the wreck, identified by police as 51-year-old Edward Lee Stowers, was traveling north from the Inner Loop to Timothy Road when his rented 2018 Ford Fusion crossed the raised median and entered the southbound lanes, authorities said. After striking the UGA student, Stowers allegedly got out of his vehicle, flagged down another driver and asked for a ride to a nearby gas station, according to the report. He was arrested after the witness called 911 and told police where he was. Shierling, who was from Leesburg, studied business and real estate, a university spokeswoman said.  Another passenger in the students car was injured in the wreck and taken to a hospital, the Athens Banner-Herald reported.  Stowers is charged with vehicular homicide, hit-and-run resulting in death, traveling too fast for conditions, failure to maintain lane and driving with a suspended license. He remains held without bond at the Athens-Clarke County jail, records show.  In other news: 
  • Police in Athens released a sketch Monday of a man they say robbed a University of Georgia student right outside the campus.  The victim told Athens-Clarke County police detectives that the suspect is in his 20s and is about 6-foot-1 with a slim build. According to the sketch, he has a tattoo on his forehead and may also have one on his neck.  The robbery happened about noon Thursday, Athens police said in a news release. Officers were called to the 300 block of South Pope Street near Waddell Street, where a 21-year-old man was robbed by a man with a weapon, police said. It’s unclear what weapon the suspect threatened the victim with during the robbery. RELATED: 2 armed robberies reported in Athens within a half-mile, including 1 on UGA campus The man was one of two UGA students robbed within a half-mile of each other that day, AJC.com previously reported. The other robbery happened on campus. Just before midnight, an 18-year-old man was robbed at gunpoint by two men in a parking lot, university police said in emails to students. The robbery happened in the West Deck near Russell Hall. Two men approached the victim, with one asking to borrow his phone before telling him to get on the ground, the emails said. Both men, who were armed with handguns, then took several items from the victim. The victim was not injured.  The suspects escaped by running toward Cloverhurst Avenue, the emails said. Athens police earlier released surveillance video of two men, one of whom is believed to match the description of the suspect in the South Pope Street incident. Police spokesman Geoffrey Gilland said his department’s detectives are working with UGA police to try to determine if the crimes are connected. Anyone with information on the South Pope Street crime is asked to contact CrimeStoppers at 706-705-4775 or Athens police at 706-613-330, ext. 522, or 706-613-3330, ext. 556.