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Fort Valley State University response to break-ins, rapes


Kenisha Tillmutt is a junior at Fort Valley State University, and says she's noticed a stronger police presence around the school.

"There are police officers patrolling the halls. Which they have been doing that, but even more now," she said.

This after five break-ins and two reported rapes off campus within the last two weeks. Peach County investigators believe the crimes are committed by the same person, and in most cases, he's had a gun.

"We've increased our police presence, we've had off duty officers coming in extra duty, extra patrol," Fort Valley State Police Chief, Kenneth Morgan.

Fort Valley students react to break-ins, rapes


With most of the break-ins and rapes happening within miles of each other, and all within 2 weeks, many Fort Valley State students who live off campus say they are concerned.

Diana Holt is a junior, and says she wasn't that surprised to hear about the break-ins.

She says while she never experienced one, they've happened in the area before.

But she says what is scary is knowing that women have been raped so close to where she lives.

Holt says she believes the intruder watched the victims to know when they were leaving and entering their homes.

She says she's lived in her apartment since January and hasn't had a problem, but says she'll take extra precautions now.

"I'm definitely going to start locking the outside door, too," Holt said, " There's gates and bars on our windows, so we don't have to worry about nobody coming in through the window."

Fort Valley investigating break-ins, rapes


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Peach County authorities are looking for a man they believe broke into at least five homes and raped two women.

All of the break-ins happened in the past week, within a couple of blocks of the Fort Valley State campus, according to Peach County Sheriff Terry Deese.

He said law enforcement has formed a task force to investigate, including the sheriff's office, Fort Valley police and Fort Valley State campus police.

"In my 20 years here, I've never seen anything like this," said Fort Valley Police Chief Lawrence Spurgeon.

Peach crop hurt after cold temperatures


Middle Georgia Peach farmers were set to hit a high crop yield for peaches this year, but after temperatures got down to the twenties last Sunday, many are facing a loss.

13WMAZ's Paula Rotondo spoke to a Crawford County peach farmer about how his crop might be affected.

"We've certainly had some years where we've lost them all," says owner of Dickey Farms, Robert Dickey.

He says he's grateful their peach loss this year isn't as severe.

"Usually this time of year, the peaches have just passed blooming, and they're loaded with lots of fruit on the tree, but we had a freeze last Sunday morning that really hurt some of the blossoms on the trees," he says.

Dickey says the mid-20-degree temperatures left some trees with no fruit at all. He estimates his loss at about 25 percent.

Fort Valley State University president steps down


Ivelaw Griffith, the current president of Fort Valley State University, announced he's stepping down June 30, after less than two years on the job.

According to a University System of Georgia news release, Griffith became president in 2013.

The news release does not explain Griffith's departure.

But last year, Moody's Investor's Service gave Fort Valley State University a BAA 1 rating, which is considered medium.

BREAKING: 3 wrecks slow traffic on I-75 in Peach County


Traffic is moving slow this morning on I-75 in Peach County, due to 3 separate wrecks near the Highway 96 exit.

A spokesman with the Georgia State Patrol post in Perry tells 13 WMAZ that officers are investigating 2 accidents on I-75 Northbound, and a third accident on I-75 Southbound, all near the State Highway 96 on and off ramps.

The spokesman did not know how many cars were involved, or the number of people injured in those accidents.

The accidents are still being cleared, and the spokesman said traffic is flowing slowly in both directions on I-75.


Crawford County man indicted for shootout with deputies


A Crawford County grand jury Wednesday indicted Rickey Eugene Smithey Jr. on 14 counts, including aggravated assault on a peace officer, aggravated assault, criminal attempt to commit a felony and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.

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District Attorney David Cooke announced the indictment during a Wednesday afternoon news conference. Cooke said the charges stem from a March 14 incident in which Smithey allegedly assaulted three Crawford County law enforcement officers and three civilians.