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John McNeil free, 6 years after murder conviction

John McNeil free, 6 years after murder conviction

MARIETTA, Ga. -- John McNeil barely said a word as he walked out of the Cobb County prison, a free man after six years behind bars. His first request, simply to breathe.

"Breathe freedom. That's the first thing I want to do," said McNeil surrounded by reporters and many of the supporters that fought to get him released.

John McNeil was sentenced to life in prison for fatally shooting Brian Epp in the McNeil family's Kennesaw yard in 2005.  Cobb county police ruled McNeil's actions self defense. 

McNeil believed Epp had threatened one of his sons with a knife.  He fired a warning shot into the ground, asking Epp to leave.  When Epp refused, McNeil fired again, this time hitting him in the head.

Authorities capture escapee who walked away from state prison work detail

Authorities capture escapee who walked away from state prison work detail

CLAYTON CO., GA (WXIA) -- Authorities captured escaped inmate Steven Bone without incident about two hours after he walked away from a state prison detail in Clayton County.

Officials said Steven Gregory Bone walked away from a work detail at Lovejoy Regional Park in Clayton County at about 12:15 Tuesday afternoon.

Bone was being held on a 20-year sentence for cruelty to an elder person in December of 2002, and on a 3-year sentence for terroristic threats and acts, both in Cobb County.

Clayton County school officials have lifted a lockdown put in place for Lovejoy Middle School and Lovejoy High School as a precaution.

SPECIAL REPORT: Drug traffickers operating Sandy Springs rehab center

SPECIAL REPORT: Drug traffickers operating Sandy Springs rehab center

11Alive News has learned that two metro Atlanta men who recently pled guilty to federal drug trafficking charges have been operating a Sandy Springs facility for recovering addicts for several years.

In October, federal prosecutors announced the indictment of Drew T. Green, Thomas Malone Jr. and eight others for drug trafficking, money laundering and conspiracy, alleging they were operating one of the largest synthetic drug cartels in the country.

Federal prosecutors say Green and Malone's company Nutragenomics sold millions of dollars worth of chemicals used to manufacture so-called designer drugs like synthetic marijuana and bath salts.

"I've come to a point where I refuse to use the term synthetic marijuana. It gives these poisons too much credence," said Lance Dyer whose son Dakota committed suicide after smoking a synthetic marijuana product named "Mr. Miyagi."

 "These drugs are literally poisons."

Trio arrested for smash and grabs across metro

Trio arrested for smash and grabs across metro

WOODSTOCK, Ga. -- Investigators in Cherokee County have nabbed three men suspected of smash and grab burglaries in at least five metro Atlanta counties.

Vincent Donahue, James Hill and Mark McCain were taken into custody Nov. 28.

Cherokee County Sheriff's spokesman Lt. Jay Baker said the suspects are believed to be the men behind seven burglaries in Cherokee, Cobb, Douglas, Henry and Rockdale counties.

In each case, the suspects broke the front doors out of a convenience store and made off with cartons of cigarettes.

Baker said the three men were arrested after they were pulled over on Highway 92 in Woodstock. Investigators found plastic bins similar to the ones used in the robberies in their car, as well as a hammer, rubber gloves, masks, a sledgehammer and a small amount of heroin.

HOPE Center trailer recovered, suspects charged

HOPE Center trailer recovered, suspects charged

WOODSTOCK, Ga. -- Two suspects are in custody after police said they stole a trailer filled with baby cribs from a Cherokee County parenting center.

The trailer was reported stolen from the HOPE Center in Woodstock Wednesday morning.

RELATED | Thief steals trailer filled with moms' baby cribs

A viewer who saw local news coverage of the theft called Cobb County Police after spotting the trailer in the parking lot of the Sun Suites extended stay hotel on Barrett Lakes Boulevard in Kennesaw, according to Woodstock Police spokeswoman Brittany Duncan.

Investigators tracked down the owners of the truck that was pulling the trailer. At around 7:30 p.m. Thursday, they arrested 44-year-old Carl James Bourque of Marietta and 31-year-old Bobbie Jean Colston of Woodstock.

Marietta Police, KSU team up to fight cyber crime

Marietta Police, KSU team up to fight cyber crime

MARIETTA, Ga. -- The Marietta Police Department has partnered with criminal justice graduate students at Kennesaw State University to fight crime in cyberspace.

The department recently received a criminal justice grant, which it used to form a two-year pilot position -- the Police Cyber Specialist (PCS). Abby Lucas, the first-ever KSU criminal justice student, has been named PCS and began work this week.

Marietta Police say the PCS will help the department tackle growing cyber issues, such as fraud, trafficking and misuse of social media.

"Crime in cyberspace is no worse in Marietta than anywhere else, but the Marietta Police Department, whose motto is 'Policing with a Vision,' intends to face it head-on in order to keep Marietta a safe and flourishing city," police spokesman David Baldwin said in a statement.

Man indicted for producing child pornography

Man indicted for producing child pornography

KENNESAW, Ga. -- A 55-year-old Cobb County man has been indicted in federal court on charges of producing and receiving child pornography.

Benjamin Sanders was arrested in December 2011 after FBI agents executed a search warrant at his Kennesaw home. The agents found sexually explicit pictures of children, including some that Sanders took, on his computer hard drive, according to U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates.

Sanders was indicted Nov. 13. On Monday, he was ordered held without bond.

"Child pornography victimizes and exploits the most vulnerable and defenseless members of our society," Yates said in a statement. "This defendant is charged not only with possessing sexually explicit images of children, but also with creating some of those images."