ELLIJAY, Ga. – An arrest has been made in Ellijay this week on five counts of felony charges. Confirmed to have worked for the Fire Department, Michael Paul Chester was taken into custody by the Ellijay Police Department.
Chester is facing charges of False Imprisonment, Criminal Trespass, Harassing Phone Calls, Terroristic Threats and Acts – Felony, and Criminal Damage to Property – 2nd Degree. Bond was set at $4,500 according to the Booking Report. As of late Thursday night, Chester was still in custody.
As the investigation continues with the Ellijay Police Department, some sources say this is not the first time he has been in trouble and has even received warnings for behavior before, however, authorities have not confirmed these reports or released additional information on the investigation. FYN is currently reaching out to authorities for further details.
ELLIJAY, Ga. – According to reports, Ellijay City Police Officers made a Human Trafficking arrest around 1:00 a.m. on Friday, September 13, 2019. The incident occurred when an officer performed a traffic stop on a 2019 Blue Toyota Prius on Old Highway 5 and continued to the hospital.
According to a press release, “Officer Brandon Heath of the City of Ellijay Police Department conducted a traffic stop at Old Highway 5 and Bobcat Trail in Ellijay, Georgia to investigate a vehicle which failed to dim headlights and had no working tag light.”
The driver, 26-year-old Cordarrel William Blandburg, allegedly told officials he was taking his fiancé, the female passenger in the vehicle, to the hospital for possible seizures. Officer Heath continued to hospital with the vehicle where the passenger was treated. However, the officer continued investigations. The investigation led officials to discover that Blandburg was not the passenger’s fiance and allegedly had possible gang affiliations.
According to the release, “This led to Officer Heath to confirm that Blandburg did not have an active driver’s license and revealed Blandburg had active warrants out of Clayton County, Georgia for the offenses of Obstruction of a Law Enforcement Officer and Aggravated Assault. The confirmation of this information resulted in Officer Heath arresting Blandburg.”
The report states the female passenger later explained to officers that Blandburg “was (as explained by the victim) her “owner and enforcer”.” According to Ellijay Police, Blandburg is still in custody at the Gilmer County Detention Center. However, they also stated, “Prior to release from custody, and upon posting bond in Gilmer County, he will be transferred to other jurisdictions having charges on him where he will be required to post additional bond on those charges.”
Further details on the incident and the victim involved are not being released as the investigation continues. However, Ellijay Police have contacted the Georgia Bureau of Investigation as well as Homeland Security Investigations who are now actively assisting in the ongoing and active investigation.
Read the full press release below:
On Friday, September 13, 2019 at 01:00 AM, Officer Brandon Heath of the City of Ellijay Police Department conducted a traffic stop at Old Highway 5 and Bobcat Trail in Ellijay, Georgia to investigate a vehicle which failed to dim headlights and had no working tag light. The driver, 26 year old Cordarrel William Blandburg, was found to be driving without a license and was found to have active warrants from Clayton County Ga. for Obstruction of Police as well as Aggravated Assault. Additional investigation led to information causing the Ellijay Police Department to charge Blandburg with Human Trafficking under OCGA 16-5-46.
Upon initial contact, Blandburg explained to Officer Heath that he was attempting to take his fiancé (female passenger) to the hospital due to possible seizures. The officer followed them to the hospital where the passenger was turned over to medical staff as the officer continued his investigation. This led to Officer Heath to confirm that Blandburg did not have an active driver’s license and revealed Blandburg had active warrants out of Clayton County, Georgia for the offenses of Obstruction of a Law Enforcement Officer and Aggravated Assault. The confirmation of this information resulted in Officer Heath arresting Blandburg.
Officer Heath continued to investigate the situation and upon doing so he discovered that Blandburg has possible gang affiliations and was not, as he first claimed, the passenger’s fiancé but was (as explained by the victim) her “owner and enforcer”. This continued investigation by Officer Heath led to information that Blandburg was participating in Human Trafficking for Sexual Purposes in violation of OCGA 16-5-46. Ellijay police Detective Doug Colburn began following up on the case and in doing so contacted the Georgia Bureau of Investigation as well as Homeland Security Investigations who are now actively assisting in the ongoing and active investigation.
Blandburg is currently held in the Gilmer County Detention Center on $17,000 bond. Prior to release from custody, and upon posting bond in Gilmer County, he will be transferred to other jurisdictions having charges on him where he will be required to post additional bond on those charges.
Cherry Log, Ga. – Amidst allegations and being wanted “in connection with kidnapping and sexual assault,” Bradley Justin Cochran was found dead yesterday in Metter, Ga from an apparent suicide.
Cochran lived in Cherry Log, Ga and was a former student of Pickens County High School, according to his Facebook Profile.
A release from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) states the Cochran allegedly forced his way into a vehicle with three women at a grocery store in Statesboro. After they drove into Candler County, Cochran allegedly sexually assaulted two of the women before stealing the car and leaving the females on foot.
The Statesboro Police Department posted on their Facebook Page Monday saying, “As events unfolded, our officers were amazed by their strength and bravery. These women were just minding their own business, trying to leave the parking lot, when a stranger threatened them with a knife and forced his way into their vehicle.”
All three survived the encounter. Police say it is simply because of the quick action in a fight for survival. Hailing the girls as survivors and warriors.
They continued to praise the victims for their action as they “were able to create a diversion so one of them could escape, from a moving vehicle, to get help. She was able to give law enforcement vital information that led to the identification of the suspect and helped locate the other two women, and most likely saved their lives.”
The GBI was requested to join the investigation on Sunday, August 26, by the Candler County Sheriff’s Office and the Statesboro Police Department.
As the search for Cochran grew to include all three agencies, the Candler County Sheriff’s Office stated, “There was an extensive investigation and manhunt throughout the night and into the morning. All agencies and personnel involved demonstrated how a multi-agency operation should be carried out.”
At this time, the investigation into the incident is still ongoing, but the GBI did confirm that Cochran’s body will be sent to the GBI Medical Examiner’s Office in Savannah, Ga for official cause and manner of death.
Jasper, Ga. – The Pickens County Sheriff’s Office has arrested and released reports for warrants and booking for one Charles Daniel Hamrick.
According to the Arrest Warrant, Hamrick is accused of using his position as a peace officer to convince a person to send nude and semi-nude photos to him. The offense violates his oath as a public officer.
The warrant alleges that Hamrick convinced a lady that she was a confidential informant for him and that she could have potential criminal charges brought against her. He then allegedly told her that he had destroyed her confidential informant file in return for the photos.
Having been arrested and booked on the charges, Hamrick has since paid a $1,000 bond and been released. As the official charge states Violation of Oath by Public Officer, it is charged as “a violation of the Oath taken by Hamrick as a Deputy with the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office and the Deputy Commander of the Zell Miller Mountain Parkway Drug Task Force…”
EAST ELLIJAY, Ga. – East Ellijay Police Chief Larry Callihan has confirmed an arrest during last night’s incident at the Food Lion in East Ellijay.
According to the police report, Officer Harold Crowder responded to a call at 7:21 p.m. on July 1 involving a female subject being attacked in the restroom.
Upon arriving on the scene, the officer was escorted into the building by the store’s manager who pointed out the suspect. The report identifies the suspect as David James Gravley. Crowder’s report states that when he put his cuffs on Gravley and asked him what happened, “he stated she mumbled something that pissed him off so he hit her.”
The report also reveals that the victim stated she was in the bathroom when “she heard someone else come in behind her and as she walked out of the stall, a man grabbed her from behind…”
The victim reported that the person attacking her forcefully held her, kept grabbing her, groped her, and punched her in the face. The report also notes several injuries including blood from her nose, swelling in her face, and several scratches on her neck, throat, arms, and back.
Later, at the Gilmer County Detention Center, Gravley stated that all he would say without his lawyer was, “All I have to say is all I wanted was her money.” The report goes on to say that he later said he was broke and needed the money to buy some Marijuana.
According to the Detention Center Booking Report, Gravley is facing charges of Robbery, Disorderly Conduct, Sexual Battery, False Imprisonment, and Simple Battery.
EAST ELLIJAY, Ga. – Amid charges of theft by taking and violation of oath of office, East Ellijay Police Chief Larry Callihan has confirmed Michael McClure has resigned from the East Ellijay Police.
Recalling the arrest record of McClure, he was originally placed on administrative leave by the department, but recent developments show the former officer resigning his post. According to the arrest record, McClure is accused of taking a money order from a woman’s purse, after arresting her, and later cashing it.
ELLIJAY, Ga. – Sgt. Greg McClure, a Gilmer County deputy sheriff, was arrested on Friday, Jan. 5, 2018, by agents of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) and Gilmer Sheriff’s deputies.
According to a public release by Gilmer County Sheriff Stacy Nicholson, the investigation and subsequent arrest stems from a report of rape forwarded to the sheriff on Dec. 27, 2017. Upon learning of the report, Nicholson contacted the GBI and requested that they conduct the investigation.
Sheriff Nicholson stated that the allegations against McClure are all “off duty” in nature, meaning McClure was not on duty at the time the alleged events occurred.
McClure was booked and processed at the Gilmer County Jail on Jan. 5, 2018, and then transferred to another jail to be housed. At this time, McClure is being held without bond. Charges are aggravated sodomy (two counts), aggravated assault, and interference with government property.
For more, check out the booking report below and stay with FYN as we continue to update this story.
U. S. PENITENTIARY LIEUTENANT ARRAIGNED ON EXCESSIVE FORCE
AND OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE CHARGES
ATLANTA – Lieutenant Gregory McLeod, a senior correctional officer at the U.S. Penitentiary in Atlanta, Georgia, has been arraigned following an investigation of an allegation that McLeod used excessive force against an inmate in 2016. McLeod was indicted by a federal grand jury on October 24, 2017, and has been charged with unnecessarily assaulting the inmate, writing two false official accounts about the encounter, and lying to federal investigators about his conduct.
“We recognize that detention officers have a difficult job as they maintain order and protect inmates in our nation’s prisons,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak. “This officer, however, allegedly abused his power, committed a violent and unnecessary assault on an inmate, and then filed a false report to cover up the incident.”
“The FBI continues to play a vital role in ensuring that all credible allegations of civil rights violations involving law enforcement officers are appropriately investigated. That was certainly the case with U.S. Bureau of Prisons Lt. McLeod, wherein allegations of excessive force were received, resulting in a federal investigation, grand jury indictment, and today’s arraignment in federal court. The FBI would like to remind the public, however, that the vast majority of law enforcement officers and corrections officers provide admirable services while often under stressful and time constrained situations,” said David J. LeValley, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office.
According to U.S. Attorney Pak, the indictment, and other information presented in court: McLeod, who worked as a supervisor at the prison, allegedly strip-searched an inmate in his office in front of three other correctional officers. After the inmate complained that the strip-search was taking too long, McLeod repeatedly punched the inmate in his face, injuring him. Following the assault, McLeod wrote an incident report and a separate memorandum about the encounter in which he falsely claimed that the inmate swung a closed fist at McLeod and attempted to assault other officers before the officers could apply hand and leg restraints. The indictment charges that McLeod used excessive force and thereby violated the inmate’s constitutional rights. The indictment also accuses McLeod of intentionally impeding and obstructing the investigation of the incident by writing false reports and lying to two federal agents.
Gregory McLeod, 44, of East Point, Georgia, was arraigned on these charges during a hearing in federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge Catherine M. Salinas.
Members of the public are reminded that the indictment only contains charges. The defendant is presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government’s burden to prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.
This case is being investigated by the DOJ Office of Inspector General and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Brent Alan Gray and DOJ Civil Rights Division Trial Attorney Mary J. Hahn are prosecuting the case.
For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the home page for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia Atlanta Division is http://www.justice.gov/usao-ndga.