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Gwinnett homicide rate doubles over the weekend

Gwinnett homicide rate doubles over the weekend

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga -- Gwinnett County Police were on a pace this year to have one of the lowest homicide rates in recent history. Through nearly seven months of this year there were only three homicides in the county. That changed this weekend when the number was more than doubled in a 48 hour period.

Murders are the hardest crime for police to prevent. That's because it is usually a crime of passion. "Things like burglary we can put a bunch of vehicles in a neighborhood to discourage burglars," Corporal Jake Smith said. "Murders are a lot more difficult to police preventively."

In 2012 there were 30 homicides in Gwinnett County. Through nearly seven months in 2013 there were only three. The county was on a pace for only six homicides, but that changed this past weekend with four homicides in less than 48 hours.

Man faces 20 years in $96 Family Dollar robbery

Man faces 20 years in $96 Family Dollar robbery

NORCROSS, Ga. -- A Stone Mountain man could spend up to 20 years in prison for a crime that reportedly netted him just $96.

Gwinnett County Police have charged 26-year-old Artavius Marcellus Brown in the May 9 armed robbery of a Norcross Family Dollar store.

According to an incident report, Brown took an item to the register, then lifted his shirt to show the cashier a handgun. When the cashier said she needed a manager to open the register, Brown allegedly pointed the gun at her.

Once the manager opened the register, Brown reportedly took the register tray and all $96 it contained.

In Georgia, an armed robbery conviction carries a sentence of 10 to 20 years in prison (with the possibility of a life sentence or the death penalty if other aggravating factors come into play).

Gwinnett serial rape suspect captured

Gwinnett serial rape suspect captured

NORCROSS, Ga. -- Police in Gwinnett County have captured an accused serial rapist who lured his victims into a vacant apartment.

Joseph Tyler Sivonda, 23, was taken into custody Thursday morning at an apartment in Duluth.

He was staying with 30-year-old Tiffany Martin, who was also arrested and charged with hindering the apprehension of a felon.

Police said Sivonda hired female escorts online and arranging to meet them in a vacant apartment in the complex where he lives.

When the women showed up, police said Sivonda pulled out a gun, robbed them and raped them. Gwinnett police are investigating three incidents in the Bradford Gwinnett apartments off Beaver Ruin Road in unincorporated Norcross.

Police searched the apartment last week after not finding Sivonda at home. Neighbors said he lives in one of the apartments with his brother and mother. A SWAT team battered in the family's door and searched the apartment.

Gwinnett cop kills home invasion suspect

Gwinnett cop kills home invasion suspect

NORCROSS, Ga. -- A Gwinnett County police officer shot and killed a home invasion suspect who allegedly came at him with a tire iron Monday morning. 

The suspect, identified as 24-year-old Eric Andrews of Atlanta, was shot at the Woodland Ridge Apartments in Norcross on Treetrail Parkway near Indian Trail Lilburn Road.

Gwinnett Police Cpl. Edwin Ritter said investigators believe the suspect forced his way into an apartment after two children who were home alone refused to let him in the front door.  When he came in through the back, they raced out the front door.

"They knew someone was breaking into the house, so they snuck out," Gwinnett spokesman Corporal Edwin Ritter said.  

"They went to a neighbor and reported it."

The children were waiting for a ride to school after their mother had gone to work. 

10 students disciplined over marijuana brownies

10 students disciplined over marijuana brownies

DACULA, Ga. -- Authorities say 10 students at a high school northeast of Atlanta have been disciplined after school officials say one of them brought marijuana brownies to school and shared them.

Gwinnett County schools spokesman Jorge Quintana says an 11th-grade student brought the brownies to Dacula High School on Feb. 20. 

According to Quintana, the school began in investigation into the incident after receiving information that the brownies contained marijuana. 

Quintana said a total of 10 students were disciplined because he said the students received the brownies knowing marijuana was in them.

Teacher's son sentenced to prison for stealing retirement money

Teacher's son sentenced to prison for stealing retirement money

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. -- The son of a retired Atlanta schoolteacher has been sentenced in Gwinnett County Superior Court to two years in prison after being found guilty of violating Georgia's Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.

Levon Chett Barrett pleaded guilty to the charge against him. He will spend one year on house arrest and seven on probation after serving his time in prison.

RELATED | Teacher's son charged with stealing retirement pay

According to Georgia Attorney General's spokeswoman Lauren Kane, Barrett's mother died in September 2007, but Barrett continued to collect her retirement benefits until February 2010.

SPECIAL REPORT: Drug traffickers operating Sandy Springs rehab center

SPECIAL REPORT: Drug traffickers operating Sandy Springs rehab center

11Alive News has learned that two metro Atlanta men who recently pled guilty to federal drug trafficking charges have been operating a Sandy Springs facility for recovering addicts for several years.

In October, federal prosecutors announced the indictment of Drew T. Green, Thomas Malone Jr. and eight others for drug trafficking, money laundering and conspiracy, alleging they were operating one of the largest synthetic drug cartels in the country.

Federal prosecutors say Green and Malone's company Nutragenomics sold millions of dollars worth of chemicals used to manufacture so-called designer drugs like synthetic marijuana and bath salts.

"I've come to a point where I refuse to use the term synthetic marijuana. It gives these poisons too much credence," said Lance Dyer whose son Dakota committed suicide after smoking a synthetic marijuana product named "Mr. Miyagi."

 "These drugs are literally poisons."