Law enforcement is visible throughout the county this morning as Lovejoy Police warn the public to be on the lookout for a man they suspect killed his wife on Grove Way Friday evening. Ikuko Thurman, 42, is charged with murder and aggravated assault. He may be driving a silver or gray Chevy Tahoe. The woman, Terri Livingston Jett, had been shot several times and took out a mailbox as she apparently tried to drive away. Police say Thurman should be considered armed and dangerous, and they urge anyone with information as to where he might be to call (678) 282-4827.

Hannah Payne‘s attorney filed a voluntary withdrawal of a motion for plea in bar on August 23. The defense had subpoenaed three witnesses in the case. On April 18, the defense had filed a plea in bar immunity motion, which is one of the last steps before a defendant pleading self-defense goes to trial. Payne is charged with murder in the May 7, 2019 shooting death of Kenneth Herring, who relatives and first responders say may have been having a diabetic episode when he struck an 18-wheeler, then kept going. Payne’s lawyer says a Department of Corrections officer asked Payne to follow Herring; Clayton County 911 told Payne not to follow him. Payne says she and Herring got into a struggle when she pulled a gun. According to defense records filed with the court, Herring had a knife on his front seat. Herring’s family wrote letters asking that Payne be held without bond, but she has been granted bond twice and remains on an ankle monitor and curfew as of press time pending a November 14 trial date.

After Clayton County Library Director Rosalind Lett failed to renew her license by September 7, she was terminated under a previous vote by the Library Board. The acting library director is Scott Parham. Next steps for finding a new permanent director are outlined in the state’s Library Trustee Handbook, which includes sample interview questions and procedures for working with the state librarian on the search. Lett sent an internal e-mail to library staff announcing her dismissal on 12:02 p.m. September 8:

E-mail from former Director Rosalind Lett to Clayton County Library Staff announcing her dismissal.

The Clayton Crescent is still waiting for a response from Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill’s legal advisor, Alan Parker, about Hill’s campaign finance disclosures. Hill’s May 2020 CCDR indicates three payments sent to an apparently nonexistent address in Atlanta: $20,000 to Pirouette Companies, the business through which convicted felon and former CCSO Chief of Staff Mitzi Bickers had laundered some of her ill-gotten gains from the Atlanta City Hall bribery scandal; $1,000 to District 3 Commissioner Felicia Franklin, who wrote a letter asking for leniency in Bickers’ September 8 sentencing (Bickers got 14 years instead of the recommended 24 to 30); and $234.93 to Tomo Japanese, a sushi establishment “at the Ritz Carlton Residences” on 3630 Peachtree Road, where, according to his October 9, 2020 CCDR, Hill regularly charged pricey meals to his campaign. Because Tomo is in Sandy Springs, The Clayton Crescent asked Parker whether the 1111 Smith Street, Atlanta, 303o3 address had been a clerical error. On Monday, September 12, The Clayton Crescent sent a second e-mail request, copied to our attorney, for a response and filed an Open Records Request through the county portal for the same information. We’ll update with any response.

The Development Authority of Clayton County/Invest Clayton has called a special/regular meeting at 5 p.m.not 6 p.m.— on Tuesday, September 13, at the Lake City Community Center, 5471 Jonesboro Road, Lake City. On the agenda: “consideration of a supplemental bond resolution for the issuance of Series 2022 bonds for the Development Authority of Clayton County Revenue Bonds (USG Real Estate Foundation XIII, LLC Project.” DACC also held a special called meeting at 8:30 a.m. on August 31 at Invest Clayton’s office, which included a presentation by DACC attorney Michelle Youngblood on “USG Real Estate Foundation XIII, LLC Project.”

Here’s what else is going in this week in Clayton County. Check back for updates and send corrections/additions to editor@claytoncrescent.org.

MONDAY, Sept. 12

6:30 p.m.: The Lake City City Council’s work session includes an update on the Roman United project, listed on the agenda as “the Ingles Property Development,” as well as the Oswalt Nature Preserve rededication, the increase in employee healthcare coverage, and updates on other city projects and events. The regular meeting follows at 7 p.m., when the council takes up a resolution to set the 2022 millage rate; appoints a mayor pro tempore; a discussion of a draft ordinance limiting the number of junkyards, scrapyards, and recyclers; a resolution “accepting the Local Option Sales Tax agreement and the Service Delivery Strategy with Clayton County”; a draft ordinance for traffic calming; employee recognition; the police report; and, finally, public comment.

The Jonesboro City Council and senior staff are holding an all-day retreat at Low Temp Industries, 1947 Bill Casey Parkway just off Tara Blvd. in Jonesboro (agenda packet). Among the agenda items are a discussion of the “mayoral transition” following longtime Mayor Joy B. Day’s sudden resignation and sale of her historic home across from City Hall. Day said she wanted to move closer to her grandchildren. Councilwomen Pat Sebo and Donya Sartor have thrown their hats into the ring for a special election, which likely would happen in March 2023.

TUESDAY, Sept. 13

4:30 p.m.: The Clayton County Board of Elections and Registration holds its regular meeting at the Clayton County Election Center, 7946 N. McDonough Street, Jonesboro.

5:30 p.m.: The Clayton County Board of Commissioners holds its work session, which includes presentations on Roman United‘s design for its futuristic mixed-use development project at 5711 Georgia Hwy. 54 (Jonesboro Road) in Lake City; a presentation on mandatory solid waste collection; an update from the Georgia Department of Transportation; a request from the Communications Workers of America union to create “an advisory board for essential work policies in every county in Georgia”; a status update on the new county administration building design; an update from the Finance Department (on what, the agenda doesn’t say, but the department reportedly is being reorganized after former CFO Ramona Bivins was summarily let go); and an update on “grants reorganization” amid Commissioner Felicia Franklin‘s calls to audit Africa’s Children’s Fund and the Friday suspension of Chalonda Smith, who oversees the emergency COVID-19 rental assistance grant programs administered by ACF and Hearts to Nourish Hope. Smith, who was suspended for three days without pay, sent a memo strongly denying any wrongdoing to Chief Operating Officer Detrick Stanford. (More to come on both Bivins and Smith in a separate story.)

6 p.m.: The Clayton County Library Board holds its regular meeting at the Headquarters Branch, 865 Battle Creek Road. You can e-mail public comment in advance to claytoncountylibraryboard@gmail.com. 

6:30 p.m.: The Morrow City Council holds its work session, followed by the regular meeting at 7:30 p.m. The council will vote on a subrecipient agreement with Clayton County for $285,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds “for City Olde Amphitheatre,” as well as $350,298 in 2014 SPLOST funds for construction design of the exhibition space by the Epstein Group, which will make a presentation during the work session. The council also will review the “Summary of Accomplishments and Findings of the Finance Committee and Summary of Finding, Resolution, and Cost of Action of the Sanitation Waste Company Investigation.” Also on tonight’s regular agenda: setting the millage rate, approval of two new police patrol cars at $79,260 total, and a special presentation to Nancy Hargis, who serves on the Downtown Development Authority and previously served on the Urban Redevelopment Authority.

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 14

ALL DAY: Application Submittal Deadline for the October 20, 2022 Forest Park Planning Commission meeting

9 a.m. t0 4 p.m.: The Clayton County Board of Elections and Registration begins public logic and accuracy (L&A) testing on the electronic ballot markers and optical scan voting equipment that will be used in the Nov. 8, 2022 General Primary and Special Elections. Testing will happen at the Elections Warehouse, 1117 Battle Creek Road, and the Tabulation Center, 7946 N. McDonough Street, both in Jonesboro. Testing will continue day to day until complete, according to the public notice on the Elections and Registration website.

THURSDAY, Sept. 15

10 a.m.: The Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission (formerly known as the Ethics Commission) holds its quarterly meeting in Room 606 of the Coverdell Legislative Office Building (CLOB 606), 18 Capitol Square SW. The agenda notes preliminary hearings for Chadd Jonesmith, Khadijah Abdur-Rahman, and Thomas Dean, with consent orders for Dr. Kandiss Taylor, Committee for East Cobb/Craig Chapin, Advocacy for Action, Erica Thomas, Alison Felicicano, Mickeayla Brockington, Jaha Howard, Kelly Rose Alderfer, Sonya Jackson, Kenneth Adams, Aaron Whitely, Luke Martin, David Belle Isle, Todd Levent, Larry Rivers, James Jones, Rashid Malik, and Martin Lewis Cartee/Committee to Elect Lewis Cartee. The agenda lists pending administrative dismissals for Jennifer Lambert, Luke Martin, Alexis Williams, Tiffany Porter, and Michael Sledge.

5 p.m.: Forest Park Ward 1 Meeting (in-person at the Hartsfield Community Center, 696 Main Street and via Zoom)

6 p.m.: Forest Park Planning Commission meeting for applications submitted by August 17, at the Environmental Courtroom in the Planning and Community Development Building, 785 Forest Parkway.

FRIDAY

12 p.m.: Forest Park Urban Design Review Board Meeting (no agenda as of press time)

ELECTIONS

Remember: You have until October 11 to register to vote in the November 8 General Election. Visit https://mvp.sos.ga.gov/s/ to register or to check your voter registration for any changes. You can download an application for an absentee ballot and submit it:

  • by mail
  • in person at the Clayton County Elections and Registration Office at 121 S. McDonough Street in the Historic Courthouse
  • by fax to (770) 477-4521
  • by sending it as an e-mail attachment to elections@claytoncountyga.gov.
  • you can still apply to be a poll worker. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Election Day.

You can still apply to be a paid poll worker. You must be at least 16 and a Clayton County resident. See details on the county Elections website.. You also must complete mandatory training and help set up the polling place. Pay starts at $150 per day. Call (770) 477-3372 with questions.

Robin Kemp

Robin Kemp is executive editor and CEO of The Clayton Crescent, which she founded in 2020. She has worked for Gambit, CNN, The Weather Channel, Clayton News, Henry Herald, and numerous freelance outlets....

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