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Man found tied up, dead in brush fire


CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga. -- Clayton County Police are investigating a man they found dead after a brush fire this past weekend.

According to a police spokesperson, around 7:45 p.m. Saturday, officers responded to the Walden Landing Apartments on Tara Blvd. in reference to a brush fire.

Crews found the fire within the wood line directly behind the apartment complex. They also found the body of a black male in his twenties lying on the ground with his hands bound and extensively burned.

The victim has not been identified yet.

Anyone with information should contact the Clayton County Tip Line at 770-477-3513.


Weekend construction to continue despite rain

Weekend construction to continue despite rain

(WXIA) -- Rain is in this weekend's forecast, but that won't stop Georgia Department of Transportation from working on scheduled road projects throughout the area.

GDOT District Construction Engineer Shun Pringle said the department expects more people than usual on the road, as school districts begin and end their spring breaks.

"Call 511 or look at a mapping website before you leave home," Pringle said in a statement. "Motorists, including spring breakers ... need to plan ahead to avoid delays."

The new flyover ramps on the Interstate 85/Georgia 400 Interchange project are open, but crews still need to perform a little last-minute work on them. Lanes will be closed in places.

Deaths decline on Ga. highways

Deaths decline on Ga. highways

(WXIA) -- The number of fatalities on Georgia's highways fell in 2013.

The Georgia Department of Transportation announced Monday that 1,186 people were killed in car crashes on state roads last year, 13 fewer than in 2012. It's the eighth year in a row the total number of deaths has fallen.

"The reduction in fatalities over eight years means that more than 500 additional persons will get to celebrate the life events that are special to us all," Governor's Office of Highway Safety Director Harris Blackwood said in a release. "We must continue to work toward reducing injuries and death on Georgia roads."

Georgia's worst year on record for highway fatalities is 2005, when 1,748 people died.

Nation statistics are not yet available. In 2012, the number of fatalities increase about 5 percent to 36,200.

Weekend traffic: All delays are weather permitting

Weekend traffic: All delays are weather permitting

(WXIA) -- Crews will continue working on the usual road projects this weekend -- as long as the weather cooperates.

The Georgia Department of Transportation is also warning drivers of heavier traffic than normal, due to school systems beginning their spring breaks.

"We apologize for the delays, and there will be big delays," GDOT District Construction Engineer Shun Pringle said in a release. "We understand that this is a spring break for some folks, but so are the next three or four weekends."

Weekend work begins at 10 p.m. Friday on the Interstate 85/Georgia 400 Interchange. Four left lanes of I-85 south from a half-mile north of Clairmont Road to North Druid Hills Road will be closed between midnight and 7 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, and from midnight to 5 a.m. Monday.

Pringle said all lanes will reopen Monday at 5 a.m. The closures are due to overhead sign replacements.

Unemployment rate drops to 6.9 percent

Unemployment rate drops to 6.9 percent

(WXIA) -- Metro Atlanta's unemployment rate fell to 6.9 percent in February.

That's down from 7.1 percent in January and 8.4 percent in February 2013.

Georgia Department of Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said the decrease was due to fewer layoffs. However, the area still lost nearly 2,000 seasonal jobs last month.

Clayton County's unemployment rate was 8.8 percent in February.

Metro Athens had Georgia's lowest unemployment rate, at 5.1 percent. The Heart of Georgia-Altamaha region had the highest, at 9.7 percent.

Charges upgraded against Mookie Blaylock in deadly crash

Charges upgraded against Mookie Blaylock in deadly crash


CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga. -- Charges have been upgraded against a former Atlanta Hawk who caused a deadly accident in Clayton County last year.

Mookie Blaylock has been charged with second-degree vehicular homicide, driving on a suspended license, improper lane change, divided highway restriction violation and driving on the wrong side of the road.

The accident happened last May on Tara Boulevard. Prosecutors said Blaylock's Cadillac Escalade slammed head-on into a van carrying 43-year-old Monica Murphy, a mother of five, and her husband Frank.

Monica Murphy was killed in the accident, while Frank suffered a broken leg.

Blaylock's attorney claims his client experienced a medical emergency and blacked out shortly before the crash.

During a court appearance last summer, it was revealed Blaylock had six DUI charges.

Ga. Race to the Top 'Year Three' Report

Ga. Race to the Top 'Year Three' Report

(WXIA) -- The U.S. Department of Education recently released its "Year Three" Report for the 12 states participating in the Race to the Top grant initiative.

Educational practices and successes in Georgia were highlighted throughout the report.

"We have taken on some major initiatives and our success is a direct reflection of the collaborative efforts between our department, other education agencies and the hundreds of participating teachers, principals and district leaders around our state," Dr. Susan Andrews, Deputy Superintendent of Race to the Top Implementation in Georgia, said in a release.

"While educational reform work is never easy, we are pleased with the significant progress that our state has made as reflected in this report," Andrews added.

Some highlights from the report include:

* Nearly 300 Georgia teachers were placed in state public schools from alternative certification programs.