News Nearby: Prison for Nursing Home Operator, Panhandler Convicted

Here are your top Patch headlines from around the region.

20 Years in Prison for Rome Nursing Home Operator

Conditions at nursing homes in nearby Rome were so horrendous that residents were near starvation, the United States Attorney's Officesaid Monday after the operator, George D. Houser, 64, of Sandy Springs, was sentenced to federal prison.

Houser, assisted by his wife—Rhonda Washington Houser, 49, also of Sandy Springs—operated the Mount Berry and Moran Lake nursing homes in Rome and a third home in Brunswick between July 2004 and July 2007. The two Rome nursing homes each housed about 100 residents.

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Fired Canton Cop Requests Hearing

In a letter formally appealing his termination as the city's assistant police chief, Todd Vande Zande asked that the  assign a hearing officer "who does not report to the City Manager" to oversee the appellate process.

City clerk Susan Stanton released the letter this morning, one day after the council went into executive session to discuss "possible litigation" against the city. The council did not return from that closed session to make any formal statements to the public.

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Man Airlifted with Severe Injuries, Fiancé Blames Hit-and-Run Driver

Jacob Elisha Downer, 29 of Marietta, was airlifted to Grady for treatment Friday at approximately 10:20 p.m. but doesn't remember a thing that happened, according to Gordy Wright, spokesman for the Georgia State Highway Patrol.

Downer was found in the roadway on Meadowview Rd. in Lithia Springs.  There was no visible evidence on his clothing, no witnesses, no one who heard anything, no roadway evidence and no vehicle evidence at the scene, Wright said in an email.

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‘Panhandler' Convicted of Killing Tourist in Midtown

Fulton County District Attorney Paul L. Howard, Jr. announced Monday the conviction by jury trial in the murder case against 29-year-old Wanique Odwin.

Jurors returned guilty verdicts against Odwin Monday on charges of Murder Felony Murder, Aggravated Assault and Possession of a Firearm During a Felony in the shooting death of 48-year-old tourist Kashma Avery and one count of Aggravated Assault against 33-year-old Jay Abernathy who was traveling with the victim.

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