Year in review: Looking back at April, May and June

Published 4:35 pm Thursday, December 26, 2019

EDITORS NOTE: This is the second of a four part series looking back at the year 2019 in Troup County.

April 1


A woman died in late March in a kayaking accident on the Chattahoochee River in Harris County. Fallon Wells, 37, and her 11-year-old son went over a low head dam, resulting in Wells’ death. 

April 4

Royal Theater roof 


The roof to Hogansville’s Royal Theater was repaired in April. The city plans to completely renovate the theater and move city hall into the PNC Bank building.

April 5

Medical marijuana bill passes House, 


The medical marijuana bill, House Bill 234, passed the house and senate and was later signed by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp. “It’s almost so hard to believe that it hasn’t even sunk in yet,” said local businessman Dale Jackson, whose son, Colin, has autism and uses THC oil. 

April 6

Wild Leap Brew Co. recognized as Best New Brewery

Wild Leap Brew Co. was named the Best New Brewery in the United States in a nationwide vote through USA Today’s 10Best Readers’ Choice Award. 

April 10

Jeter named GSP post 


Scott Jeter was named the post commander for the local Georgia State Patrol, which oversees Troup and Harris County. Jeter replaced Maurice Raines, who was promoted to a liaison position for state patrol.

April 11

LaGrange woman wins car through giveaway

Beth Beavers won a Five Star Food Service giveaway in April and won a new car. She was entered into the giveaway by buying a Jamwich, a frozen peanut butter and honey sandwich.

City of LaGrange sells commercial sanitation

The City of LaGrange accepted an offer of $3 million from LaGrange Sanitation Services to purchase the city’s sanitation assets in April.

April 21

Grand opening held for new skatepark

The new skatepark, which sits as part of Southbend Park, opened in April. It was funded partially through a $10,000 grant from the Tony Hawk Foundation. 

April 22

Carlisle retiring from THINC

THINC College and Career Academy CEO Kathy Carlisle announced her retirement in April. Carlisle had been with THINC since it opened in 2015.

April 25

Child dies in possible drowning

A 4-year-old was found dead at the bottom of a pool on Willis Drive in April. He was identified as Isaac Ceja Perez.

April 26

Inmate allegedly attacks jail employee

County employee Brian Shirey was working on a plumbing problem in the Troup County Jail when he was allegedly attacked by inmate Devante Dabney. Dabney, 26, was originally arrested for a probation violation charge, but received additional charges of aggravated assault, aggravated battery on a police officer and unlawful act in a penal institution for the alleged attack, according to Sheriff James Woodruff. 

April 27

LaGrange man convicted of murder

Markevious Gunsby, a former LaGrange gang member, was sentenced to life in prison, plus five years in Troup County Superior Court. Gunsby, who was also known as “Bankroll” was found guilty of felony murder, conspiracy to commit aggravated assault and five violations of the Georgia Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act, all of which involved the July 24, 2016, killing of Quentin Denard Williams on North Cary Street. 

May 1

Airforce fire declared 

total loss

Local business, Airforce Heating and Air, had a structure fire, resulting in the loss of equipment for seven or eight upcoming jobs. “We aren’t going to miss any business,” said owner Dan Blalock. “The community has been good to us. We’ve got a little hardship, but we’ve still got trucks rolling down the road.”

May 10

man suspect of robbing two Troup County banks takes own life

Mark Garniss, 54, was found dead in his apartment after police surrounded his home. According to information from the LaGrange Police Department, Garniss was the suspect in a bank robbery at a Regions Bank in Oxford, Alabama that had just occurred. Based on information found inside Garniss’ apartment, police believe he was the suspect in 2018 bank robberies at CharterBank (now CenterState) on South Davis Road and Capital City Bank in West Point. 

May 11

Area’s last full-service station closes fuel 


Woody’s Service Center on Commerce Avenue closed its fuel business after 49 years. Woody’s was the area’s last full service station, where employees pump gas for customers and washes windshields.

May 13

Hope Givers Festival

Around 1,200 tickets were sold for the inaugural Hope Givers Festival at Sweetland Amphitheatre. The event featured Judah & the Lion, Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors and The War and Treaty. The idea for the event came from Tamlin Hall’s “Holden On,” which is a film based around a true story on mental illness. 

May 23

Tire manufacturer 

project on indefinite hold

The LaGrange Downtown Development Authority confirmed in May that construction of Sentury Tire USA’s Troup County facility has been placed on hold indefinitely. The $530 million project was initially expected to create more than 1,000 jobs and was expected to be fully operational in 2019.

Body recovered after body found in lake

Jermiah Israel, 34, of Jonesboro, died in an apparent drowning at West Point Lake during Memorial Day weekend. According to the Troup County Sheriff’s Office, Israel and his father were fishing on a boat and tied it up to sleep. The father woke up disoriented and fell into the lake. Israel jumped into the lake to save his father and didn’t resurface. 

May 30

Pilot Travel Center closes

Pilot Travel Center on Whitesville Road closed at the end of May. A sign on the door said “it was a pleasure serving everyone.”

KFC returns to LaGrange

It was announced in May that Kentucky Fried Chicken would soon open a location in LaGrange. The restaurant is expected to open Friday.

May 31

Georgia Radio Hall of Fame finds home

After months of searching, the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame found a home in the Hillside Community in LaGrange. 

June 1

Baker named to Superior Court of Coweta Judicial Circuit

Gov. Brian Kemp announced that he was appointing Markette Baker to the Superior Court of the Coweta Judicial Circuit. Baker had served as the Troup County Solicitor General since 2004. 

June 15

Karvelas opens in 


Karvelas Pizza Company officially opened its doors in LaGrange in June. Karvelas, which also has a location in Hogansville, is operating out of the old Mighty Joe’s building. Mighty Joes closed in early 2019.

June 19

troup county woman 

arrested for murder

A local woman was arrested for murder after a two-year investigation into the death of her 3-year-old son. Keshuna Harris, 24, was arrested Monday and charged with felony murder, second-degree murder and first-degree cruelty to child, according to information from the Hogansville Police Department. The child, JaReginal Harris, was taken to WellStar West Georgia Medical Center unresponsive on May 6, 2017. Just before 9:30 a.m. medical personnel tried to revive the child, but were unsuccessful. 

June 22

Interim superintendent leaves office

Interim Troup County Schools Superintendent Roy Nichols stepped aside at the end of June, as Brian Shumate took on the superintendent position. Nichols had stepped back in when TCSS needed him, after the resignation of Dr. Cole Pugh in August 2018. He stayed on until a replacement could be found.

June 26

Murder suspect arrested

Dontavious Morgan was arrested by members of the U.S. Marshals Service and the Muscogee County Sheriff’s Office SWAT team at a home on Commander Drive in Columbus. Morgan was the suspect in the shooting death of 18-year-old Niko Hurston in December 2018 on Troup Street. Morgan has since been indicted for felony murder, three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, three counts of use of firearm by convicted felon during commission of another felony and possession of firearm by convicted felon.