published Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

Former Army recruiter sentenced in three slayings and more region news

MANCHESTER, Tenn.

Man sentenced in three slayings

A former Army recruiter has received three life sentences without the possibility of parole in the deaths of a Manchester mother and her two sons.

WKRN-TV reported Matthew Perkins pleaded guilty Monday to murder charges in the September 2010 deaths of Stephanie Hershman and her sons, 3-year-old Jathan and 1-year-old Jaylon.

Prosecutors had sought the death penalty, but the district attorney general's office said in a statement that it accepted the plea agreement based on uncertainty about whether a jury would impose the death penalty.

Prosecutors said the victims' relatives approved the plea agreement.


CUMMING, Ga.

Open meetings law challenged

A Georgia city is challenging the state's new sunshine laws in response to an open meetings lawsuit state Attorney General Sam Olens filed against its mayor.

The Fulton County Daily Report reports Olens' lawsuit is the first under Georgia's new Open Meetings and Open Records acts.

The lawsuit states Cumming Mayor Ford Gravitt and police barred Nydia Tisdale from videotaping an April 17 City Council meeting. The new law, which went into effect the same day, provides for visual and sound recordings of public meetings and authorizes the attorney general to sue violators.

The city responded July 19, arguing Gravitt was leading the meeting in his official capacity and is protected under the Georgia Constitution's sovereign immunity doctrine.


NASHVILLE

Citizens Trooper Academy offered

The Tennessee Highway Patrol is accepting applications for the fall session of the Citizens Trooper Academy.

The 10-week academy, with sessions once a week, consists of about 30 hours of training. Topics covered include investigations, patrol and homeland security.

The deadline for registration is Aug. 10. Applications are at www.tn.gov/safety.

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