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Hill companion, driver testify Thursday

<p style="text-align:right;">Beatrice Powell testifies Thursday. (Photo: Kathy Jefcoats)

Beatrice Powell testifies Thursday. (Photo: Kathy Jefcoats)

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Former Clayton County sheriff’s deputy Grant Kidd answers questions from special prosecutor Layla Zon in court Thursday afternoon. (Staff photo: Kathy Jefcoats)

JONESBORO — A former sheriff’s employee under indictment for lying to a special purpose grand jury testified Thursday that she was “confused” on the dates she traveled with Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill in 2008.

Beatrice Powell, who lives in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., where she works at Walmart, took the stand as the state’s 10th and last witness of the day. She said she lived with Hill “a lot” while also working for him as a corrections officer.

Special prosecutor Layla Zon gave her immunity in exchange for her testimony against Hill. Hill faces 28 felony counts of mostly theft by taking in connection with trips he took with Powell and another former employee, Naomi Nash. Nash is also expected to testify.

Powell testified Thursday that she was confused, not lying, during her appearance before the grand jury.

“They were going back and forth on dates and it made me feel like I was the defendant,” she said. “I shut down, I locked down and just said, ‘No, no, no.’ I’m a single woman, I travel a lot. I was confused.”

Zon alleges that Hill used his county-issued vehicle to travel with the women out of state after he lost the runoff election in August 2008. Zon said Hill filled the vehicle with gas from the county pumps and used his county credit card during the trips.

Powell’s role in the accusations centers around her time away from work. Prosecutors said she drew a paycheck despite being on the road with Hill because she claimed to be suffering from fibroid tumors from Aug. 6, 2008, to Nov. 20, 2008. Powell said Thursday her doctor told her she was too sick to work and told her to take off using the Family Medical Leave Act. When she testified before the grand jury, Powell reportedly said she didn’t vacation with Hill in 2008 because she was too sick to travel or work.

Powell and Hill’s former driver, Grant Kidd, each testified that Hill became depressed after losing the Aug. 5, 2008, runoff to Kem Kimbrough. Powell said the trips were a way to “cheer up” Hill. Hill and the women went to Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina and Mississippi over a period of weeks.

Kidd, who was hired under former Sheriff Stanley Tuggle in 1998, testified that Hill promoted him officially as a lieutenant over the work release program but in actuality, he was one of three drivers who carted Hill wherever he needed to be.

“Did you ever supervise work release?” said Zon.

“No,” Kidd said. “I picked him up in the morning and took him to work. I drove him anywhere he needed to go. I also drove him back home after work.”

There hasn’t been much dispute so far that Hill didn’t take those trips or spent the money he’s alleged to have spent. However, defense attorneys Steve Frey and Drew Findling said Hill was entitled to use the vehicles and money for fuel because his job required him to be on call 365 days a year.

Hill maintains his innocence. After losing his first re-election bid in 2008, Hill ran again last year and took office in January.

Hill’s supporters have packed the courtroom every day this week and included elected officials such as state Reps. Keisha Waites and Darryl Jordan.

Although trial Judge Albert Collier admonished spectators to refrain from reacting to testimony, sounds of support for Hill could be heard Thursday afternoon without reprimands from sheriff’s deputies posted in the courtroom.

Comments

MD 1 year, 1 month ago

Traveling companion. OK!

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OscarKnight 1 year, 1 month ago

..Quote : (( "Hill’s supporters have packed the courtroom every day this week and included elected officials such as state Reps. Keisha Waites and Darryl Jordan"))

.......Ask me why I have the opinion that our State Legislative Branch, from this county, is lopsided, worthless, and a shameful.disgrace. Ask me !!! ...Please !!!

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OscarKnight 1 year, 1 month ago

....Quote : (( "#Although trial Judge Albert Collier admonished spectators to refrain from reacting to testimony, sounds of support for Hill could be heard Thursday afternoon without reprimands from sheriff’s deputies posted in the courtroom."))

....Riddle Me With This :

.....Why did Judge Collier not find Victor Hill's Peanut Gallery in contempt ?

.....Why did the Deputies not eject Victor Hill's Peanut Gallery for making disruptions in the courtroom ?

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OscarKnight 1 year, 1 month ago

......How can Clayton County have a circus without having clowns.

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MD 1 year, 1 month ago

Hard to believe this judge is allowing the circus in his courtroom.

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OscarKnight 1 year, 1 month ago

....MD; If this is riddle, maybe I can attempt to give a answer :

....Judges in this county are also elected officials. Another thing; Don't forget how many State Legislators, from the county, is supporting Victor Hill.

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OscarKnight 1 year, 1 month ago

....Riddle Me with This :

......Does this Judge not have a Gavel sitting on his bench ?

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OscarKnight 1 year, 1 month ago

....Allow yourself to Imagine this situation :

....A Courtroom without a Gavel, and a Sheriff without a Gun !!!

http://www.news-daily.com/users/photos/2012/dec/10/59873/

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OscarKnight 1 year, 1 month ago

http://www.news-daily.com/news/2010/oct/21/clergy-officials-work-to-rally-voters/?c=121221

Quote : (( "In this second term in office, Hill technically operates without a public information officer and his office doesn't issue press releases. He has focused instead on ministers associations to take his message to churches, on social media where professional-grade videos tout his quality of life programs and the free text alert system that lets subscribers know when his deputies have made a notable arrest or where an accident is tying up traffic somewhere in the county"))

....Clergy, Officials, work to rally voters :

...."Keisha Waites sworn in as fourth openly gay Ga. state legislator"

....Quote : ((" Waites won a special election on Feb. 7 to represent District 60, which includes parts of Clayton, DeKalb and Fulton counties.

She also thanked Rev. Dr. Mitzi Bickers, who is openly gay and a former president of the Atlanta School Board. Bickers is a pastor and also works for Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed."))

http://www.thegavoice.com/news/georgia-news/4187-keisha-waites-sworn-in-as-fourth-openly-gay-ga-state-legislator

Atlanta : Mitzi Bickers

http://www.wsbtv.com/news/news/local/top-aide-atlanta-mayor-changes-financial-disclosur/nW5YH/

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