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By AP

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Updated: Thu, 06 Feb 2014 04:15:24 EST

BACKYARD BURIAL

Ga. man accused of burying mom in yard arrested

HAPEVILLE, Ga. (AP) — Police in suburban Atlanta say a man accused of burying his mother's body behind his house has been charged with concealing a death and abandoning a body.

Authorities say 62-year-old Dennis Dark, of Hapeville, buried his mother in a shallow grave behind his house south of Atlanta.

Hapeville Police Detective Justin McGinnis told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution the man's mother died between 18 and 24 months ago. Officials are investigating the woman's cause of death. McGinnis says Dark was initially contacted by the Social Security Administration and was being investigated for possible fraud.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Fulton County Medical Examiner's office is helping to investigate the case.

It's unclear if Dark has an attorney and a number listed for him has been disconnected.

WRESTLING MAT DEATH

Parents of teen found in gym mat sue funeral home

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — The parents of a south Georgia teenager found dead last year inside a rolled-up gym mat at school are suing the funeral home that handled his body.

Attorneys for the parents of 17-year-old Kendrick Johnson of Valdosta accuse Harrington Funeral Home of fraud, negligence and intentional mishandling of a corpse in the civil suit filed in State Court late last week. The family is seeking unspecified damages.

Johnson was found dead Jan. 11, 2013, at his school. Authorities ruled the death a freak accident, but Johnson's parents believe he was slain.

They had the body exhumed for a second autopsy last summer and discovered his internal organs were missing and the body was stuffed with newspaper.

The funeral home's attorney, Roy Copeland, did not immediately return a phone call Wednesday.

ETHICS COMMISSION-LAWSUIT

Deal called to testify in ethics commission suit

ATLANTA (AP) — A spokesman for Gov. Nathan Deal says the governor, his chief of staff and his legal counsel have been called to testify in the upcoming trial of a former ethics commission employee who alleges retaliation for investigating ethics complaints against the governor.

Spokesman Brian Robinson said Wednesday the three were served with subpoenas last week and are on a "may call" list of possible witnesses. The trial is set to begin Friday in Fulton County Superior Court.

Sherry Streicker is the former deputy at the ethics commission. She claims commissioners eliminated her position and cut her boss's salary as they were seeking to gain approval to issue subpoenas in the Deal case. Commissioners have denied any wrongdoing.

At the time, the commission was investigating Deal's 2010 campaign reports.

ATLANTA-BIKE SHARING

Atlanta moves forward with bike-sharing program

ATLANTA (AP) — The City of Atlanta is moving forward with a plan to launch its first citywide bike-sharing program.

Mayor Kasim Reed announced Wednesday that the city is beginning contract negotiations with its preferred bike-share vendor, CycleHop. The company is expected to partner with two local firms to garner sponsors and discuss potential rental locations.

The bike-sharing program calls for residents and visitors to have 24-hour access to GPS-enabled bicycles 365 days a year. The program is expected to launch in spring of 2015.

Interim Chief Operating Officer Mike Geisler says the city is hoping for the program to include 500 bicycles at 50 stations throughout Atlanta.

Among other cycling-related goals, city officials are hoping to double the percentage of people who bike to work from 1.1 to 2.2 percent by 2016.

GREEN MOUNTAIN-COCA-COLA

Coca-Cola buys 10 percent stake in Green Mountain

The Coca-Cola Co. is buying a 10 percent stake in Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc. as part of a collaborative agreement that would bring its drinks into a new self-serve market.

The deal hinges on Green Mountain launching a single-serve beverage system, similar to what it uses for coffee, for cold beverages. It would make soft drinks, juice drinks and more, accessible to consumers with the touch of a button. It is expected to be available in Green Mountain's 2015 fiscal year.

Coca-Cola and Green Mountain said Wednesday they have signed a 10-year agreement. As part of that deal, Coca-Cola will acquire nearly 16.7 million new Green Mountain shares for $1.25 billion.

Green Mountain's shares soared 30 percent in after-hours trading.

COLD CASE-ARREST

Mass. prosecutor: arrest in 40-year-old slaying

SHREWSBURY, Mass. (AP) — Prosecutors say a Georgia man has been arrested in the killing nearly 40 years ago of a young Shrewsbury, Mass., woman.

Tim Connolly, spokesman for Worcester District Attorney Joseph Early, said 69-year-old Lonzo Guthrie of Austell, Ga., was arrested Tuesday.

Connolly tells the Worcester Telegram & Gazette that DNA evidence linked Guthrie to the slaying of 21-year-old Eileen Ferro, found fatally stabbed at her home on Feb. 22, 1974.

Connolly said Guthrie is fighting rendition after being arraigned on a fugitive charge in Georgia. He faces a murder charge in Massachusetts. It's not known who is representing him.

Ferro's sister Nancy Donnelly says her family is elated there's a break in the case. She said her parents died without a resolution and she had feared she might as well.

TAX REFUND SCHEME

4 Atlanta women guilty in tax fraud scheme

ATLANTA (AP) — The Georgia Attorney General's office says four Atlanta women have pleaded guilty to trying to steal nearly $25,000 by filing fraudulent state tax returns.

Officials say the defendants entered their pleas this week in Fulton County Superior Court. Prosecutors say Kimberly Banks and Monique Bussey have pleaded guilty to racketeering and theft by taking. Brittany Banks and Shaneka Richards also pleaded guilty to theft by taking.

Prosecutors say the women filed tax returns on behalf of people who neither live nor work in Georgia without their knowledge or consent. The returns were mailed to the women's addresses and deposited into one of their accounts.

A fifth woman from Jonesboro was also sentenced to a year in prison after she pleaded guilty in the case in mid-December.

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