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Atlanta Public Schools cheating trial begins

Atlanta Public Schools cheating trial begins

ATLANTA -- Jury selection began Monday for a dozen defendants in the Atlanta Public Schools cheating trial.

The teachers and administrators have been indicted on mobster-like charges, including racketeering and theft by taking. Prosecutors say they cheated students and pocketed big bonuses.

Four hundred potential jurors have been called. Jury selection is expected to take two to three weeks. The trial itself could last as long as eight months and may be one of the most expensive in state history, with six prosecutors and 12 defense attorneys, hundreds of witnesses and a million documents.

WATCH | What to expect during the APS trial

Fulton County Fire Rescue promotes vehicle arson prevention during Arson Awareness Week

Fulton County Fire Rescue promotes vehicle arson prevention during Arson Awareness Week

FULTON COUNTY, Ga. -- Each year during the first full week in May, the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) work to raise awareness of arson and provide individuals with strategies to combat it in their community. This year, Arson Awareness Week is May 4-10 and focuses on vehicle arson.

“Vehicle arson is a very serious matter,” said Chief Larry Few, Director of the Fulton County Fire Rescue Department. “The motivations behind the burning of vehicles are similar to those of other types of arson crimes. Fulton residents should learn ways they can prevent vehicle arson from happening to them.”

Motivations behind vehicle arson include, revenge, concealing another crime, excitement, insurance fraud/arson for profit and vandalism.

Tips to prevent vehicle arson

2 shootings reported in NE Atlanta overnight

2 shootings reported in NE Atlanta overnight

ATLANTA -- Atlanta Police are investigating two separate overnight shootings.

The first shooting happened at around 11:55 p.m. Sunday at the Stratford Inn extended stay hotel on Parkway Drive NE. Police said a man was shot in the shoulder and taken to Grady Memorial Hospital.

The second shooting occurred at nearby Linden Avenue NE and Parkway Drive NE shortly after 1 a.m. Monday.

No information about the victims or shooters was immediately available. Police are looking into the possibility the two shootings are connected.

Consultant pleads guilty in APS kickback scheme

Consultant pleads guilty in APS kickback scheme

ATLANTA -- A Kennesaw man has pleaded guilty to being part of a kickback scheme involving Atlanta Public Schools.

Mahendra Patel admitted in federal court that he conspired with APS chief information officer Jerome Oberlton to benefit from a certain firm receiving a $780,000 computer project from the school district.

"Patel subverted the fairness of the contracting process for his own benefit and ultimately undermined the trust taxpayers place in APS to provide high-quality educational services," U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said in a statement.

Oberlton pleaded not guilty in federal court in June. His trial date has not yet been set.

Ex-APS official faces kickback charges

Ex-APS official faces kickback charges

ATLANTA (AP) - A former chief information officer for Atlanta's school system accused of accepting bribes in exchange for his influence in awarding a technology contract has pleaded not guilty.

Jerome Oberlton entered his plea in federal court in Atlanta Tuesday. A federal grand jury handed down a seven-count indictment last week naming Oberlton and another man, Mahendra Patel, in the bribery scheme. Patel also pleaded not guilty.

The indictment says the two accepted $60,000 in kickbacks from an information technology company that won a contract worth more than $700,000 from the school district.

Oberlton served as chief information officer for Atlanta schools from 2004 to 2007. Oberlton joined the Dallas school district in January and was working as chief of staff. He resigned last week after informing the superintendent of the investigation.

'Mr. X' killer's appeal denied

'Mr. X' killer's appeal denied

ATLANTA -- The Supreme Court of Georgia has rejected an appeal from a man convicted of raping and murdering a woman in 1994.

Michael Harvey was found guilty in 2010 of killing Valerie Payton. DNA collected at the scene was investigated by a cold case squad in 2004, which led to Harvey's arrest a year later.

PHOTOS | Mug Shots: See 'em to Believe 'em

Payton's body was found in a vacant lot at the intersection of Wylie Street and Flat Shoals Avenue in southeast Atlanta. She had been raped, sodomized and strangled, and her body had more than 50 postmortem slashes. A photo of Payton's then-8-year-old son was found on her stomach; someone wrote "I'm back Atlanta, Mr. X" on the back of the photo.

Jasmine Guy takes her campaign against child sex trafficking to Georgia Perimeter College

Jasmine Guy takes her campaign against child sex trafficking to Georgia Perimeter College

On the heels of a successful campaign launch for "I Am Not Yours!"- a campaign committed to taking a stand against child sexual exploitation, Jasmine Guy has been making her case in national media with the likes of