A Cedartown man charged in connection with injuring his cousin while shooting a shotgun following an online argument was found not guilty by a Polk County jury earlier this month.
Corey Deaton faced felony counts of aggravated assault, aggravated battery and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony stemming from the events of May 25, 2020. Deaton was arrested at his home by Polk County Police after a shooting incident involving his cousin, Dylan Goddard.
After three days of testimony from 10 witnesses, the 12-member jury deliberated less than an hour before returning not guilty verdicts on all three felony charges.
According to Deaton’s attorney’s, the verdicts were received by Polk County Superior Court Judge Andrew Roper shortly after 8 p.m. on Thursday, May 11, and showed that the jury agreed that Deaton had the right to stand his ground at his home and defend himself, thus concluding the almost three-year prosecution.
Deaton was represented by attorneys Rick Lundy and Chuck Morris of Parker and Lundy Law Firm.
A release from Parker and Lundy explains the events on May 25, 2020 that were examined in court.
In multiple statements to police, Deaton said Goddard used Facebook Messenger to send him a string of personal insults and threats that evening. After such threats continued for approximately 15 minutes, Goddard drove across town to Deaton’s home, arriving shortly after 8 p.m.
Deaton observed that Goddard sped up his driveway and stopped in the middle of his front yard. Goddard then exited his vehicle, yelling and advancing toward Deaton with his right hand hidden behind his back in a violent and threatening manner.
Deaton fired three warning shots — bird shot from his shotgun — to repel Goddard’s advance. After the third shot, which resulted in ricochet wounds to Goddard’s lower leg and abdomen, Goddard returned to his vehicle and left Deaton’s home.
Officers responded to a call of a person with gunshot wounds in his car near the area of Piedmont Highway and Shiloh Road west of Cedartown where they found Goddard in his vehicle. He later told police that it all began as an argument on Facebook Messenger and admitted that he drove over to Deaton’s home to confront him.
Goddard, who had been released from the hospital earlier in the day prior to the incident, denied Deaton’s description of the events. At trial however, Deaton’s attorneys revealed that the initial search of Goddard’s vehicle established that Goddard had a loaded .45 caliber semi-automatic handgun located just under the front passenger seat, as well as a number of loose bullets strewn across the front seat area and a box of .45 caliber bullets.
A Hydrocodone pill bottle and loose pills were also found in the front passenger seat, along with several stimulant-laden energy drinks.
“From his first statement to police almost three years ago, through the conclusion of his trial, Mr. Deaton staunchly defended the allegations against him by asserting his right to self-defense under Georgia’s Stand Your Ground law,” the release from Parker and Lundy stated.
Prior to the May 25, 2020 incident, Deaton was aware that Goddard — who formerly worked as a jailer at the Harris County, Texas sheriff’s office — had been both fired and prosecuted in Texas for body-slamming and injuring a shackled inmate.
At trial, after Goddard attempted to minimize the Texas charges, jurors were shown video from a television news report in which the Harris County District Attorney’s office announced the charges against him and described Goddard’s assault in detail.
“Mr. Deaton’s prior knowledge of Goddard’s violent history allowed the jury to consider evidence of Goddard’s prior violent acts, and whether such knowledge informed Mr. Deaton’s decision to use force in self-defense,” the release stated.
Days before the end of the school year, Georgia State School Superintendent Richard Woods got a firsthand review of how Polk School District is placing emphasis on student well-being.
Woods visited Cedartown Middle School on Tuesday morning, May 16, and gained insight into ways the school helps students through things such as a clothes and food pantry, and a refresh of its cafeteria.
“This has definitely got me thinking about certain things,” Woods said near the conclusion of the whirlwind tour. “I’m very impressed. There are a lot of great things going on here that not only put an emphasis on the kids, but on the teachers as well.”
In less than an hour, Woods was shown around the campus by a group including PSD Superintendent Katie Thomas, CMS Principal Tonia Little, and Dorothy Welch, president of the Polk Association of Educators.
Welch, who retired as an eighth-grade math teacher at CMS last year, was Woods’ guest at Gov. Brain Kemp’s inauguration in January and talked with him about coming for a visit.
One of the stops for Woods at CMS was the Dawg House, a free student resource center that provides a private space for students to speak with a counselor or faculty member while also providing donated clothes and food for students in need.
The tour also included visits to art teacher Eric Cooper’s classroom as well as the school’s own greenhouse for plants being cared for by agriculture students.
Woods then was shown the school’s cafeteria, which underwent a facelift recently by adding graphics and new paint to emphasize school spirit with red, silver, and black graphics, and plenty of bulldog faces, Cedartown’s sports mascot.
The space struck Woods as not only an example of establishing school identity, but also providing an environment in which students can feel comfortable.
He went on to learn from Little about the school’s program to nourish students throughout the school day, and possibly beyond. Students can choose to place uneaten or unopened breakfast items on carts outside of the cafeteria in the mornings before class. The carts are then placed in hallways for students to pick up items like cereal, juice, bananas and apples.
Thomas with Woods about revising the state’s rural school designation to help Polk School District be eligible for certain grants that would increase access to both mental health services and home internet access for students.
The Georgia Department of Education established an Office of Rural Education and Innovation in 2021 using federal stimulus funds to address the needs of rural Georgians and their schools by focusing on improved connectivity, teacher retention and recruitment, resources and funding, and educator development.
Thomas said while a good portion of district’s students meet the specifics of living in rural areas, PSD falls short of meeting the requirements of being considered for these investments.
Thomas also described the many student safety protocols the district has put in place, such as having a dedicated district police department including K-9 units and purchasing mobile metal detectors which are used at every school and student event.
“We are grateful for Superintendent Woods’ visit. We welcome any opportunity to showcase the wonderful things going on in Polk School District,” Thomas said. “He has shown great leadership and is very responsive to suggestions and requests.”
ATLANTA — The state Public Service Commission unanimously approved a fuel costs recovery plan Tuesday, May 16, submitted by Georgia Power that will increase the average residential customer’s bill by $15.90 per month.
The rate hike, which takes effect next month, was the product of an agreement between the Atlanta-based utility and the PSC’s Public Interest Advocacy staff that will let Georgia recover 100% of $2.1 billion in higher fuel costs it has incurred during the last two years from its customers.
Commissioner Lauren “Bubba” McDonald blamed higher natural gas prices that are beyond the commission’s control. He said the Green New Deal pushed by the Biden administration is responsible for driving up both gasoline and natural gas prices.
At a recent hearing, McDonald argued that state law requires the commission to let Georgia Power recover higher fuel costs as a pass-through. The company does not earn any profit from higher fuel expenses.
“We owe the bill, and we’ve got to pay it,” McDonald said.
“Just as Georgians paid higher prices at the gas pump in 2022, Georgia Power also paid more for the natural gas and other fuels we use to generate electricity,” the company added in a statement issued following Tuesday’s vote.
“Today’s decision by the Georgia PSC helps spread out these additional fuel costs over three years and adds relief for income-qualified senior citizens through an increased discount program.”
Representatives of environmental and consumer advocacy groups that appeared before the commission in recent weeks asked the PSC to reject Georgia Power’s fuel costs recovery plan in favor of the utility stepping up its use of solar and other forms of renewable energy in generating electricity.
“When bills jump next month, the most vulnerable Georgians are going to have to make unthinkable choices about how to spend their income,” Jennifer Whitfield, senior attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center, said following Tuesday’s vote.
“The commission’s approach to this moment — giving the utility everything it wants while leaving the majority of its customers to struggle with higher monthly bills — is unacceptable. Georgia Power shouldn’t be pocketing billions in record profits while also putting customers in the position of choosing between power and basic needs.”
Commission Chair Tricia Pridemore proposed an amendment to further increase the higher fuel discount Georgia Power offers income-eligible seniors from $8 per month in the utility’s proposal to $9.50, bringing it to total of $33.50 per month.
The fuel costs recovery increase is one of several Georgia Power has already received in recent months or is poised to seek in the months ahead. The PSC approved a $1.8 billion increase last December that increased the average residential bill by $3.60 per month.
Rates are expected to go up again later this year or early next year when Georgia Power brings into service the first of two new nuclear reactors being built at Plant Vogtle south of Augusta.
God Loving Angels is hosting a fish fry fundraiser May 27 in Seaborn Jones Park in Rockmart to benefit the group’s annual Feed the Community event in November. The fundraiser will be from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. and include live music from local groups as well as drawings for gift baskets. Fish plates are $10 each and hotdog plates are $8 each. Donations are also appreciated.
Davitte Lodge #513 F&AM is presenting the annual Aragon Children’s Day on June 3 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Aragon Mill Pond off of West 1st Street. This free, family-friendly event will feature fishing around the mill pond, which has been stocked, as well as kids activities and games.
The Polk County Kid’s Fishing Rodeo will be June 10 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Kenview Farms located on Cartersville Highway just northeast of Rockmart. Children ages 15 and under can register for free to fish and be entered into hourly drawings for raffle prizes. Free refreshments will be provided and the first 500 kids will receive a T-shirt. For more information search for “Polk County Kid’s Fishing Rodeo” on Facebook.
First Baptist Church Rockmart is hosting Hero Hotline Vacation Bible School June 19-23 for Pre-K (4-year-old) through fifth grade from 5:30-8:15 p.m. each night. For more information and to register a child visit first-baptist-church-rockmart.mycokesburyvbs.com or call Jerret Dooley at 770-598-0436.
Keep Polk Beautiful is sponsoring monthly community cleanups at different greenspace locations. Cleanups are scheduled in Cedartown on the first Tuesday of each month and in Rockmart on the third Tuesday of each month starting at 5:30 p.m.
Tallatoona CAP is accepting appointments for the LIHEAP Cooling Assistance Program for all households. Appointments can be scheduled online at tallatoonacap.org, or by phone 770-817-4666, Option 2, or 770-773-7730, Option 2.
The Good Neighbor Center Food Pantry, 71 Woodall Road, Cedartown, is open the second and fourth Thursday of each month from 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. for anyone in need of food assistance. The pantry is located next to the Seventh-Day Adventist Church. For more information call 678-901-9184. Monetary donations for operations of the food pantry are much needed and appreciated. Please call 678-901-9184 on how to donate
Sons of the American Legion Post 12 in Rockmart hosts a $5 All-You-Can-Eat spaghetti and meatball supper each third Wednesday of the month from 5-7 p.m. at 1 Veterans Circle. Each meal comes with garlic bread, salad and tea, and all proceeds got to veterans’ and children’s programs.
Cedar Lake Christian Center is offering a drive-thru prayer service on the third Saturday of each month from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at its facility at 1890 Rome Highway in Cedartown. Guests in need of prayer can feel free to stay in the comfort of their vehicle and be prayed for.
Polk Family Connection meets at 10 a.m. every fourth Tuesday of the month except for July and December at One Door Polk, 424 N. Main St., Cedartown. The public is invited to attend to find out how to help the community.
The Rockmart Cultural Arts Center has several art classes scheduled for children and adults. Take time to learn something new and bring out your creative side. A full list of classes can be found online at https://www.rockmart-ga.gov/RCACClassesWorkshops.aspx. For more information, visit the RCAC Facebook page at facebook.com/rcac.ga or contact the Arts Center at 770-684-2707 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Want to get your event or announcement on the calendar? E-mail JStewart@polkstandardjournal.com with details at least two weeks before the event begins.