After Assault, Shots Fired at Georgia Newspaper Office

By: Colquitt County authorities are preparing to send two separate cases involving violence against a Miller County newspaper to the grand jury, the city's police chief said.

Miller County Liberal publisher Terry Toole and his mother-in-law were assaulted in June by Mark Merritt, the husband of a Miller County School Board member, according to the police reports.

Days later, police say shots were fired from a speeding car into the newspaper's offices and an adjacent classroom used by a junior college.

Colquitt Police Chief Scott Worsley said that authorities will present the cases to the grand jury during an Aug. 20 session.

"If there is enough evidence to indict, then they'll indict," Worsley said.

Toole said he was attacked after a confrontation between him and Merritt's wife, Vicki Merritt.

The violence has come after an ongoing feud between the newspaper and government officials. The arguments may have been sparked when Toole's son-in-law, Miller County Elementary principal Kent Richardson, was fired at the school board's June meeting, school officials said.

Leroy Bush, the chair of the county's board of education, said that Richardson was placed at the school by his father, who was the former chairman of the board.

"His daddy just shot him to the top," Bush told the Albany Herald. "That's the bottom line. His daddy shot him to the top and, in my personal opinion, he didn't have the qualifications to be there."

Richardson could not be reached for comment.

Authorities said relations between the newspaper and the community have quieted over the last few weeks, aside from a dead armadillo found in one of the newspaper's boxes.

Despite the attacks, Toole has promised to stand behind his work.

"All the bruises done healed," Toole said. "If you'll check on my writing, it don't bother me too much what people think."

Information from: The Albany Herald.


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here