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Clean up underway after Irma



On Thursday Clean up crews continue clearing downed trees across the county this morning after Irma's high winds raged for much of Monday night. Schools remained closed Thursday and many areas of the county were still without power.

Reports from the County Emergency Operation Center was that east Pickens, along Cove Road (pictured above) took the worst of the damage, but that there was damage in all sections of the county.

Schools closed Monday and Tuesday due to hurricane concerns


School District statement on Hurricane weather closures --  Due to inclement weather conditions,the Pickens County School District will be closed tomorrow, Monday, September 11th TWELVE MONTH EMPLOYEES REPORT AT NORMAL TIME. Schools will also be closed on Tuesday, September 12. Twelve month employees will be contacted late Monday as to whether they will be required to come to work on Tuesday. All school activities, including athletic events and after-school programs, will be canceled.

Information will be posted on the Pickens County School District website at, the Infinite Campus parent portal, district and school websites and social media sites, and sent to local media. 


Grand Jury also not convening tomorrow, Tuesday

Due to Pickens County Schools closing the Grand Jury set to convene on Monday September 11th will not appear Monday or Tuesday September 11th and 12th due to possible inclement weather. They will need to call the jury info line (which is our regular number 706-253-8763) Tuesday September 12th after 6 pm for their instructions for Wednesday jury service?
Juvenile Court also canceled for Monday
Pickens County Juvenile Court has been canceled for Monday, September 11th due to the possibility of inclement weather. All cases will be rescheduled at a later date when determined by the court. If you have an attorney please stay in touch with him/her. 

Harvey Relief efforts in Jasper



Volunteers are collecting supplies for Hurricane Harvey victims at Lee Newton Park in Jasper. Volunteers, headed by a group from Trinity Tabernacle, will be there today until noon taking donations and back every day but Sunday until the truck is full. They are hoping to expand hours if more volunteers to help load supplies come forward. "We want this to be a real community effort," said one of the volunteers Roger Jenkins.

Supplies needed include linens, clothing, school supplies, toys, bath products and more. 

Judd Voyles, who organized the efforts said, "Stand in your yard and look at your house and imagine water all the way up to the roof, that's what those people out there are dealing with."

Voyles has made contacts with churches in the affected area that will distribute the donated items. He is providing the trailer and will drive the load out himself.

Woodstock High student dies in Ball Ground crash


 Press Release Cherokee County Sheriff's Office.

     Cherokee Sheriff’s Office deputies were dispatched to a vehicle accident Friday, September 08, 2017 at 7:27 a.m. on Ball Ground Highway at the intersection of East Cherokee Drive.  When responding units arrived they observed a Buick Lacrosse had been struck by a Kenworth flatbed construction truck.   Preliminary investigation shows that the driver of the Buick Lacrosse, a 16 year old juvenile, was making a left hand turn from East Cherokee Drive onto Ball Ground Highway when they were struck by the Kenworth flatbed truck, driven by Jerymie Thurman 37 years of age of Cartersville, as the truck was traveling northbound on Ball Ground Highway.  The juvenile was declared deceased on the scene and the driver of the truck was transported to the hospital. The juvenile driver's name is Madilyn Phillips 16 years of age of Ball Ground.  She was a student at Woodstock High School.

Cherokee Sheriff’s Office Traffic Enforcement Unit is investigating the accident.

Execution date for Ga. murderer Keith Leroy Tharpe

September 6, 2017
ATLANTA, GA –Attorney General Chris Carr offers the following information in the case against Keith Leroy Tharpe, who is currently scheduled to be executed on September 26, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. for the 1990 murder of his sister-in-law Jaquelin Freeman.
Scheduled Execution
Tharpe has concluded his direct appeal proceedings and his state and federal habeas corpus proceedings. Accordingly, on September 6, 2017, the Superior Court of Jones County filed an order setting the seven-day window in which the execution of Keith Leroy Tharpe may occur to begin at noon, September 26, 2017 and ending seven days later at noon on October 3, 2017.
Tharpe’s Crime (September 25, 1990)
The Georgia Supreme Court summarized the facts of the case as follows:
Tharpe’s wife left him on August 28, 1990 and moved in with her mother. Following various threats of violence made by the defendant to and about his wife and her family, a peace warrant was taken out against him, and the defendant was ordered not to have any contact with his wife or her family. 
Notwithstanding this order, Tharpe called his wife on September 24, 1990 and argued with her, saying if she wanted to “play dirty,” he would show her “what dirty was.”
On the morning of the 25th, his wife and her sister-in-law met Tharpe as they drove to work. He used his vehicle to block theirs and force them to stop. He got out of his vehicle, armed with a shotgun and apparently under the influence of drugs, and ordered them out of their vehicle. He then took his sister-in-law to the rear of his vehicle, where he shot her. He rolled her into a ditch, reloaded, and shot her again, killing her.
Tharpe then drove away with his wife. After unsuccessfully trying to rent a motel room, Tharpe parked by the side of the road and raped his wife. Afterward, he drove to Macon, where his wife was to obtain money from her credit union. Instead she called the police.
Tharpe v. State, 262 Ga. 110-111 (1992)
The Trial (1991)
Tharpe was indicted in the Superior Court of Jones County, Georgia for malice murder, two counts of kidnapping with bodily injury and armed robbery. Tharpe was convicted of malice murder and two counts of kidnapping with bodily injury and sentenced to death on January 10, 1991. Thereafter, Tharpe filed a motion for new trial, which was denied on August 15, 1991.
The Direct Appeal (1992)
The Georgia Supreme Court affirmed Tharpe’s convictions and death sentence on March 17, 1992.
Tharpe v. State, 262 Ga. 110 (1992)
The United States Supreme Court denied Tharpe’s request to appeal on October 19, 1992.
Tharpe v. Georgia, 506 U.S. 942 (1992)
State Habeas Corpus Proceedings (1993-2010)
Tharpe filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in the Superior Court of Butts County, Georgia on March 17, 1993. In his petition, Tharpe alleged, among many other things, that he was intellectually disabled. Evidentiary hearings were held on May 28, 1998, August 24, 1998, October 1-2, 1998, December 11, 1998, December 23, 1998 and July 30, 2007. On December 1, 2008, the state habeas corpus court entered an order denying Tharpe state habeas relief, which included his claim of intellectually disability. 
The Georgia Supreme Court denied Tharpe’s appeal on April 19, 2010.  The United States Supreme Court denied Tharpe’s request to appeal on November 29, 2010.
Tharpe v. Upton, 562 U.S. 1069 (2010)
Federal Habeas Corpus Proceedings (2010-2017)
Tharpe filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Georgia on November 8, 2010. On March 6, 2014, the district court denied Tharpe federal habeas relief. The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s denial of relief on August 25, 2016.
Tharpe v. Warden, Georgia Diagnostic & Classification Prison, 834 F.3d 1323 (11th Cir. 2016)
The United States Supreme Court denied Tharpe’s request to appeal on June 26, 2017.
Tharpe v. Sellers, 2017 U.S. LEXIS 4080 (2017)
In his federal habeas corpus appeal, Tharpe again raised a claim of intellectual disability. This claim was denied by the United States District Court, Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court.