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FRONT PAGE - NOVEMBER 24, 1999 - HOMER, GA

NOTICE
Because of the Thanksgiving holiday, MainStreet Newspapers' printed editions will be printed on Tuesday, Nov. 23 instead of the regular Wednesday publication date. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

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A HELPING HAND

Linda Bray, (R) helped her little Indian, Meredith Bray, get ready for a Thanksgiving feast. The meal was held as local home-schoolers studied about the first Thanksgiving and dressed up as pilgrims and Indians.

CHRISTMAS

Kids photos deadline set for special section
The deadline for turning in photographs of children for The Banks County News' 33rd annual special Christmas kids section is set for Wednesday, Dec. 1.
Photographs of children ages 8 and under are featured free of charge in the special section planned for the week of Christmas. The children must live in Banks or Jackson counties. The name, age, address and parent's name must be listed on the back of each photo.
Photos may be turned in at The Banks County News office in Homer. They may also be mailed to: The Banks County News, P.O. Box 920, Homer, Ga., 30547.

CRIME

Suspect in home invasion to testify against others
BY SHERRY LEWIS
One of the suspects in the home invasion of Maysville residents Sam and Georgia Thurmond has agreed to testify against his alleged partners in crime.
Paul Kozachyn will plead guilty to armed robbery and testify against his brother, Michael Kozachyn, and Bobby Wilbanks, Randal Vaughn and Glynn "Tootsie" Boswell, in exchange for 10 years in confinement and 10 years probation. This was revealed by district attorney Tim Madison during motion hearings in the case that is set to go to trial in Banks County on December 13.
All of the men are charged in the April 8th armed robbery at the Thurmond's home on Hwy. 98. The suspects allegedly broke into the Thurmond home, beat up Mr. Thurmond, tied up the couple and took a large sum of money, guns and jewelry from a safe in the home.
Last week, Superior Court judge David Motes ruled on a number of motions, including one that denied bond to Boswell, the nephew of the victims in this case. Motes heard testimony from Boswell's girlfriend, Margaret Mosley. She is bound to a wheelchair and told the judge of how he has cared for her in the past.
Boswell's attorney, Dan Summer, talked of his lifelong residency in Banks and Jackson counties and pointed out that Boswell has pled innocent to all charges. Mrs. Thurmond testified earlier in a magistrate court hearing that she recognized the voice of one of the suspects wearing a mask and believed it to be her nephew.
Motes' ruling gave visible relief to the victims and their children who sat in the courtroom.
"These offenses are extremely serious," Motes said. "Based on previous testimony in this and the earlier hearing, Mr. Boswell would pose a risk of intimidating witnesses and be likely to reoffend."
Tim Healey, attorney for Wilbanks, focused on the confidential informant used by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. This person wore a tape recorder when Wilbanks talked about details of the crime.
"I know the law of one party consenting to a taping but this was a state actor," Healey said. "It was an interrogation and there needed to be a court order."
Motes ruled that this was not an illegal act.
Also, M. Kochachyn's attorney, Billy Healen, and Randal Vaughn's attorney, Kevin Christopher, said that Mel Janousek, special agent with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, failed to expose all the facts in the case when he obtained a search warrant for the Athens residence of Anna Marie Walker. She is the mother of the Kochachyn brothers and they, along with Vaughn, were reportedly staying at her residence around the time of the alleged crime.
Motes said under the circumstance the search warrant was obtained with probable cause.


Ex-girlfriend to testify against Ballinger
The ex-girlfriend of the man accused of setting the New Salem United Methodist Church fire will testify against him next year.
Angela Wood pled guilty in federal court to seven charges for her involvement in church arsons and agreed to testify against Jay Scott Ballinger, according to Judith Stewart, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Indiana. Ballinger was indicted for the New Year's Eve fire that took the life of Banks County volunteer firefighter Loy Williams Jr. Ballinger has also been charged in 30 more church fires from California to Georgia.
For her guilty plea to all charges, 36 prosecutors, in 19 states including Georgia, have agreed not to prosecute her for any other church arsons she allegedly helped Ballinger set. Wood was working at a club in Athens on the night of the Banks County fire and is not a suspect in that case.
Wood could face a 105-year maximum prison sentence and a $1.75 million fine.
Ballinger's trial is set to begin on Feb. 7, 2000.


Maysville Christmas plans announced
Christmas in the Park will be held from 6-9 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 4, in Maysville.
Entertainment, refreshments and door prizes will be among the highlights. Santa will also be on hand for photographs with the youngsters.
The Christmas hay ride will be held after the lighting of the memorial tree. For more information on the celebration, which is sponsored by the Maysville Community Improvement Club, call Cyndi Taylor, 652-2334.
TOUR OF HOMES
A Christmas Tour of Homes will be held from 4-8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 11, in Maysville. Tickets will be available beginning Nov. 26 and will be $10 each. Tickets are available from any Community Improvement Club member or at the Maysville Golden Pantry or the Short Stop Convenience Store
Those who purchase tickets will receive a map of the homes included on the tour. Tickets must be presented at each of the homes. Among the homes on the tour are the old Maysville Hotel on Sims Street. All proceeds will go to the building fund for the community club building.
Those interested in having their home in the tour are asked to call Catherine Daniel, 652-3058 or 652-3013 by Nov. 20.


Christmas event ahead in Homer
The Town of Homer is hosting a "tree of the century celebration" at 6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 5, at the historic courthouse in Homer.
The celebration will include Christmas carols, special performances by area groups, holiday refreshments and a visit by Santa Claus. The lighting of the Christmas tree will be the highlight of the evening event.
For more information, contact the Town of Homer city hall at (706) 677-3510 or the Banks County Chamber of Commerce at 1-800-638-5004.



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