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Former Wheeler DFCS Office Director Pleads Guilty to Racketeering

Former Wheeler County and Telfair County DFCS Office Director pleaded guilty to racketeering.

While working for the DFCS offices in Telfair and Wheeler counties, Valaree Dubberly opened Walmart business credit card accounts for DFCS and charged thousands of dollars for herself, according to the Office of the Attorney General.

She allegedly stole about $10,959.50 from the state through her scheme of opening the credit cards, then using the credit cards to purchase gift cards that she then used for personal purchases.

Dubberly was the office director in Telfair from 1990-2008 as well as the director in the Wheeler County office from 2007-2008, before they terminated her.

She has been sentenced to five years of probation, 250 hours community service, a $1,000 fine and restitution of $1,838. 

She had already surrendered the rest of the money before her guilty plea.

Man Denied Bond in Fatal Wheeler Co. Shooting

A Wheeler County judge today denied bond for a man accused of fatally shooting his brother in law.

Steve Sutton made a first appearance today before Judge Roy Braswell, according to the Wheeler County sheriff's department.

He's accused of killing Butch Anderson this weekend in Glenwood,  according to a news release from Wheeler County Sheriff Maurice Johnson.

On Sunday, July 28, the release says, authorities responded to a shooting at Apple Village Apartments. 

"The guy that was laying out in front of the building and he had a gunshot wound to his stomach. And he said that Steve Sutton had done it," said Randy Rigdon, Glenwood chief of police.

The release says Anderson was being prepared to be life flighted but had complications before the flight.  He was pronounced dead at Lower Oconee Hospital after several attempts to save him.

The GBI was called to assist the sheriff's office with the investigation.

Laurens Man Appealing 2006 Murder Case

A Dublin man convicted of a 2006 murder is appealing his case to the state Supreme Court next week, claiming that his lawyer was not competent.

Demicio White was convicted of shooting Robert Hazley II to death in Dublin on Nov. 13, 2006.

According to a summary of the case from the Georgia Supreme Court, Hazley was shot once in the face with a .380 pistol.
White was arrested two days later. He was 16 at the time.

Prosecutors said White believed Hazley walked to a store with his girlfriend.

According to the summary, investigators interviewed White three times. He gave conflicting stories, but in the third interview, confessed to shooting Hazley.

His defense lawyers argue that there was no evidence linking White to the shooting and that a .380 weapon introduced at the trial was not the murder weapon. They say White's lawyer didn't call his parents as witnesses to support his alibi.

East Dublin Woman Charged With Murdering Husband

An East Dublin woman is accused of stabbing her husband to death Sunday.

The Laurens County sheriff's department says they were called around 8:45 a.m. Sunday to a home at 967 Bush Road.

They say they found 66-year-old Richard Stafford found dead, after being stabbed "multiple times."

His wife, 58-year-old Carlette Stafford, was at the home and was arrested and charged with his murder.

The sheriff's department could release any further details on the killing, including when it happened or why. The autopsy at a GBI crime lab is not yet complete.

Laurens County Middle School Teacher Arrested


A Laurens County middle school teacher has been arrested on two charges of providing alcohol to minors.

That's according to Sheriff Bill Harrell.

A news release from the sheriff's office says 34-year-old Christie Soles was arrested after turning herself in today.

Superintendent Rob Johnson says Soles taught at the West Laurens Middle School but was on leave after a previous incident.

He would not describe it.

"We are working with law enforcement and will determine the action to take as the investigation proceeds," said Johnson.

The sheriff says Soles was released on $3,000 bond.

Wrightsville Man Accused of Robbing, Killing Officer

A Johnson County school resource officer was found shot to death on a road Friday night.

That's according to a news release from the Laurens County Sheriff's Office.

They identify the victim as 23-year-old Khristal Wright. She lived on James Grove Church Road, Wrightsville.

A Wrightsville man, 21-year-old Davoris Demez Hodges, was arrested early Sunday and charged with murder and armed robbery.

Todd Lowery, special agent in charge of the GBI's Eastman office, says there's no evidence that the death was connected to Wright's school duties.

He said investigators believe the two knew each other, but he declined to discuss the circumstances further.

A motorist called 911 around 9:45 p.m. Friday after finding the body in Lovett Scott Road, according to the Laurens County sheriff's office. They say they believe she died on the scene.