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Mandatory life sentence for child sex

David M. HillA Macclenny man convicted by a jury in March on multiple counts of sexual battery with a child was given the mandatory life sentence in circuit court here on August 28.

The sentencing of David Hill, 38, had been postponed post-trial after his public defense counsel George Nelson filed a motion for a new trial based on alleged statements made by the victim in the case after she testified.

Judge Phyllis Rosier denied the motion.

Mr. Hill, who has no criminal past, was arrested in March, 2011 after he failed a voice analysis test. He denied to sheriff’s investigators allegations made by the victim, then a BCHS student, that he raped her on a regular basis for a decade.

The victim, who testified at the trial, recounted how Mr. Hill physically abused her, threatened her if she revealed anything about their relationship and abused her pets over the years before her friends coaxed her into telling a school official about it.

The court threw out a single count of lewd or lascivious battery, and the jury took a half hour following the day and a half trial before returning guilty verdicts on four counts of engaging in sexual activity with a child less than 12 years old and another charge of tampering with the victim-witness.

On the last count, the state presented evidence that Mr. Hill attempted via phone to get the victim to back off the allegations.

The defendant, a maintenance man at a local motel, did not testify in his defense.

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Measure would require rezoning to mine

Two weeks after sand mining proposals for hundreds of rural acres in Baker County were withdrawn to allow more time for regulatory agencies to study the plans, a county commissioner has hatched a plan to stop them permanently.

Commissioner Mark Hartley had planned to introduce an ordinance to prohibit sand mining in agricultural areas at the end of the commission meeting on the evening of September 4. But he decided at the last minute to postpone the matter, saying he needed more time to review the draft ordinance before moving forward with his idea.

“I want to read it over to make sure it’s exactly what we want to do,” he said after the meeting was adjourned shortly before 6 pm.

The county’s present zoning code allows mining operations on lands with agricultural zoning designations by special exception. Mr. Hartley’s proposal, if adopted at a later date, would restrict sand mining to industrial zones only.

The proposed ordinance states that continuing to permit sand mining on agricultural lands, which make up more than half of the county’s total acreage excluding national forest land, is not in compliance with the county’s comprehensive, long-range planning mission.

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It’s time to inform on lawless among us

Dear Editor:

Since its opening on September 5, 2006, the members and volunteers of Faith Bible Church along with several other loving and kind contributors have made it possible to serve well over 10,000 meals to our local seniors.

Central Elementary Center in Sanderson has also been the place for our crime watch meetings sponsored by the sheriff’s department, the Community Action Outreach meetings, Monday night exercise class and several health-related classes sponsored by our local health department.

In anticipation of our sixth anniversary, we closed down to do some repairs to the center’s kitchen and dining room and to make some additions such as a new TV, computers, new doors and windows.

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Wildcats take 50-0 drubbing from highly-ranked Lake City

Falon Lee attempts the interception.When you watch a game like Friday’s match-up between the Wildcats and 6A power Columbia High it’s easy to wonder “what if?” What if the Cats had scored on their opening drive? What if some of the dropped passes had been caught? What if they could have stopped Tiger quarterback Jayce Barber from completing his passes? Would the outcome have been different?

Questions like that are a fool’s errand, because they didn’t happen. What did happen was the Tigers completely dominated the Wildcats on the way to a 50-0 victory and one of the worst defeats in the history of Wildcat football.

The Wildcats will likely bounce back from the first loss this season that counted, and a comprehensive defeat may entice players to come back and go at it harder. That’s what Coach Ryan Sulkowski and his staff and team expect, and what followers of Wildcat football expect.

As a player, Friday’s game was one to put in a back pocket and remember when adversity strikes in other games. You pull it out and remember the feeling of walking off the field at the end of the game shell-shocked. You tell yourself this is not going to happen again. That’s what good teams do.

And the Wildcats are a good team.

There are positives to take from Friday’s game, though not a lot of them. The Wildcats hit hard, they chased, they fought for yardage and kept their heads up. Those are qualities that will serve them the rest of the season.

The Cats started strong. Falon Lee took the opening kickoff and cut and slashed 28 yards to the 35. On three successive plays he drove into Tiger territory to the CHS 43.

But at that point the drive broke down. The Wildcats punted and pinned the Tigers at the 3-yard line.

But a Top 5 team doesn’t stay pinned for long. The Tigers embarked on a 10-play, 97-yard drive for a touchdown and it defined the game.

The Wildcats knew they would be up against one of the best running games in the state. So they designed their game plan around stopping the run.

“If they were going to beat us, their quarterback was going to have to throw the ball and complete some passes,” said Coach Ryan Sulkowski.

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