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That fall feeling

With Halloween just around the corner, there is definitely a feeling of fall in the air. These scarecrows, which were named winners at the recent Olde Town Fall Festival Scarecrow Showcase and Contest, are another sign of the season. Attendees at the festival voted for their favorites and raised $1,000 for the Conyers Police Department’s Shop With a Cop event.

Stephanie Anderson appointed associate probate judge

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CONYERS — Rockdale Chief Probate Judge Gary W. Washington has appointed attorney Stephanie C. Anderson to serve as associate judge of the Rockdale County Probate Court.

Anderson earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism and communications from Hampton University and her juris doctor from the University of Georgia School of Law. While at the University of Georgia, she was a member of the Moot Court Board and president of the Black Law Students Association.

In her private practice, Anderson focuses on estate planning and probate matters representing families throughout the state of Georgia. She has been a featured speaker and panelist on estate planning and probate issues for the 100 Black Men of Atlanta Inc., the Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys, and several churches and local community organizations in the Metro Atlanta area.

She is a native of Decatur and a proud graduate of Southwest DeKalb High School. She is married with one daughter.

Reward in cold case murder increased to $15,000
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CONYERS — Family members of Richard Issa Siwatu “ATL” Green, who was shot and killed four years ago, are hoping that an increase in reward money will prompt someone to come forward with information that will lead to his killer.

Green’s sister, Nkenge Green, said the family decided to increase the reward offered to $15,000 in order to renew public awareness of the crime that occurred Oct. 22, 2017, on a sunny afterNoon in the Pinedale neighborhood of Conyers.

“They can be completely anonymous, and it would really bring peace and closure to our family, but it would also make the community safer,” said Ms. Green of any potential witness information. “I know there have to be witnesses … someone saw (the suspect) running down the street, someone heard a gunshot. I feel like there are a lot of people that have information, but they are afraid to come forward.”

According to police reports at the time, a Conyers Police Department officer responded to a residence on Pinedale Circle shortly after noon on Oct. 22, 2017, in reference to a person shot. When the officer arrived, he found the victim inside the house. Green was transported to Piedmont Rockdale Hospital where he died.

At the time, police described the suspect as a tall, slender man, with a box-style haircut and a gap in his front teeth. He reportedly was dressed all in black and fled the scene on foot.

Ms. Green said she still had no idea why her brother was in Conyers that afternoon. The Green family — including their father, brother and grandmother — lived in Decatur at the time.

She described her brother as a “guy’s guy” who liked basketball, music, cooking and spending time with his family. “He was just a good person,” she said.

At the time of his death, Ms. Green said her brother was in school as a journeyman carpenter and had two levels left to complete the program. He was 36.

The two siblings had a special relationship, especially after their mother died. “Every year my brother gave me a Mothers Day card. He was only 17 when our mother passed away so he said I became his mom,” she said.

Ms. Green said the holidays are a particularly difficult time for their family, with all of the traditions bringing back painful memories.

“Even something as simple as making Christmas cards… you put a picture of the family on the card,” she said. “We are missing a seat at the table.”

The $15,000 in reward money is a combination of money offered by the family, the Conyers Police Department and Crime Stoppers Greater Atlanta.

Anonymous tips can be submitted online to: www.p3tips.com/tipform.aspx?ID=552 or you may call 404 577-TIPS

Stockbridge man faces 16 counts of animal cruelty
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COVINGTON — A Stockbridge man with a history of animal cruelty convictions is facing 16 counts of animal cruelty in Newton County in connection with more than 20 dogs found on his property in April.

Leon Cecil Conley III, 41, of a Belair Trail, Stockbridge, address, was living in Newton County in April when Newton Animal Services responded to a report of a barking dog at his residence off Fox Meadow Drive.

When authorities arrived, they found more than 20 dogs on the three-fourths-of-an-acre lot that were apparently being trained for personal protection. The dog breeds included various shepherd-types, the majority being Belgian malinois, Dutch shepherd and giant schnauzer. According to the Newton Sheriff’s Office, most of the dogs lacked food and sanitary living conditions.

Newton authorities impounded 24 dogs at the residence. Four were deemed by an accredited veterinarian to be too aggressive to be re-homed. Placements were found for the remaining 20 dogs.

Following an investigation, warrants were issued for Conley’s arrest, and he was taken into custody on Oct. 17. Bond has been set at $1,500 per count. According to the county, the investigation was delayed by circumstances out of the control of Animal Services, the Sheriff’s Office and the judiciary.

Conley has also been cited by Newton County Code Enforcement for operating a business without a license.

Conley was previously convicted and imprisoned on several counts of cruelty to animals in Cobb County in 2006 and one count of dogfighting.

In that case, Cobb County authorities found 15 fighting dogs at Conley’s house in Mableton. He was charged with 11 counts of aggravated cruelty to animals, four counts of cruelty to animals and one count of dogfighting. In that incident, police described the dogs as living in deplorable conditions without adequate food or water.

Conley was released from prison in 2011.