published Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

Fannin County, Ga., girl drowns in Gulf, and more Chattanooga region news

Fannin County, Ga., girl, 13, drowns in Gulf

PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. — A Fannin County, Ga., girl has died after being pulled from the waters off the Florida Panhandle.

The Bay County Sheriff's Office said 13-year-old Jade McCallister was visiting Panama City Beach with a group from her church in Morganton, Ga.

Bystanders pulled the girl from the Gulf of Mexico on Monday afternoon. Deputies tried to revive her at the scene, but she was pronounced dead at a hospital.

The sheriff's office said the medical examiner will perform an autopsy.


Top court asked to halt Georgia execution

ATLANTA — Lawyers for a Georgia death row inmate have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to delay their client's execution until the court has a chance to consider new evidence they've filed.

Warren Lee Hill's lawyers filed the request Tuesday. They asked the high court in May to review new evidence in the case, and the court is scheduled to consider whether to take up his case on Sept. 30.

The state last week scheduled Hill's execution for Monday.

Hill's lawyers long have said he's mentally disabled and therefore shouldn't be executed. The state says Hill's mental disability has not been proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

Hill was serving a life sentence for killing his girlfriend when he was sentenced to die for the 1990 beating death of a fellow inmate.


Georgia coalition writes on immigration

ATLANTA — A coalition of groups in Georgia is urging the state's members of Congress to vote against any immigration reform bill that includes a path to legalization for people living in the country illegally.

The groups, which call themselves the Georgia Immigration Enforcement Coalition, say they sent a letter signed by more than 50 groups to Georgia's Republican U.S. House delegation on Monday.

The letter asks the lawmakers to take a pledge to oppose and vote against any legislation that includes the legalization of people in the country illegally. The coalition includes tea party groups from around the state and other community groups.


Jim Bennett back in former office

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Former Alabama Secretary of State Jim Bennett is returning to that office.

Gov. Robert Bentley announced Tuesday that he's chosen Bennett to replace Beth Chapman. She's resigning at the end of the month to become a political consultant with the Alabama Farmers Federation.

Bennett served as secretary of state from 1993 to 2003. Then he served in Gov. Bob Riley's Cabinet and in Bentley's Cabinet as labor commissioner. He retired last year when the departments of Labor and Industrial Relations were merged.

The governor said Bennett will not be a candidate for secretary of state in next year's election.

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