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Woman charged in year-old Gwinnett murder

Woman charged in year-old Gwinnett murder

BUFORD, Ga. -- Gwinnett County Police have compiled enough evidence to charge an Oakwood woman with murder in a year-old case.

Amy Leann McGarity, 27, is charged with malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, kidnapping, false imprisonment and concealing a death. She is already in the Gwinnett County Jail on unrelated charges.

Police are investigating McGarity in the death of 20-year-old Kayla Jeanne Weil, whose remains were found in Chestnut Ridge Park in Hall County on Oct. 24, 2013.

Gwinnett County Police Cpl. Edwin Ritter said investigators believe Weil was murdered at a house on Cloud Street in Buford. McGarity lived at that address at the time of Weil's death.

No other information has been released, as the death is still under investigation.

Phone scam reported in Gwinnett County

Phone scam reported in Gwinnett County

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. -- At least three Gwinnett County women have fallen victim to a recent phone scam, and now police are hoping to pass along information that could help prevent future cases.

Four people have come forward, saying they received calls from someone claiming to be Lt. Pierson with the Gwinnett County Sheriff's Office Warrants Division.

The suspect told the victims they had outstanding warrants for failure to appear for a jury summons. They were asked to use pre-paid debit cards to pay the associated fines and avoid arrest. All four victims told police the caller sounded professional and was very convincing.

Three victims purchased Green Dot MoneyPak cards over the phone in the amounts of $525, $810 and $962. The fourth victim did not make a purchase.

Man arrested in Gwinnett cold case murder

Man arrested in Gwinnett cold case murder

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. -- A 26-year-old man has been charged with beating and stabbing a Gwinnett County woman to death nearly six years ago.

Gerson Salmeron-Diaz is being held in a prison in Milan, N.M., on an unrelated drug charge. He has been charged with murder in the death of 58-year-old Margaret Binkele.

Binkele was found dead in her Sugar Hill home on July 25, 2008. She died several days before her remains were discovered. Police collected DNA from her body but could not find a match, and the case grew cold.

Gwinnett County Police Cpl. Jake Smith said Salmeron-Diaz was Binkele's neighbor, but left the area before police began investigating her death. He was eventually deported to El Salvador and returned to the U.S. in December 2013, but was caught by park rangers trying to smuggle 400 pounds of marijuana into Arizona with five other suspects.

Man gunned down outside Flowery Branch bar

Man gunned down outside Flowery Branch bar

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Authorities are investigating a shooting outside a bar in Flowery Branch that claimed the life of a Buford man.

Flowery Branch Mayor Mike Miller says the shooting happened at around 2 a.m. Saturday outside the Branch House Tavern.

The Times of Gainesville reported that 26-year-old Donald Lee Battle Jr., who recently moved to Georgia from Minnesota, was killed as he and others were leaving the bar.

Flowery Branch police and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation were probing the circumstances of the shooting. Few other details were immediately available.

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Final suspect in robbery spree pleads guilty

Final suspect in robbery spree pleads guilty

(WXIA) -- The final member of a crew that robbed at least five armored cars in metro Atlanta has pleaded guilty to his part in the crimes.

Quentin Booker entered his plea Friday in federal court to five counts of armed robbery and two counts of using a firearm during a crime. He and his co-defendants were convicted of a number of crimes between October 2010 and March 2011 that netted them more than $470,000 in cash.

Booker, 36, of Douglasville acted as a lookout during five armored car robberies, including:

* A Dunbar Armored courier making a cash pickup at Mex-America Latino Services in Marietta on Oct. 7, 2010

* A Dunbar Armored courier restocking cash in the ATM at a Bank of America in Buford on Nov. 11, 2010

Conviction upheld for woman who killed mother

Conviction upheld for woman who killed mother

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. -- The Supreme Court of Georgia has upheld the murder conviction given to a Gwinnett County woman who killed her adoptive mother in 2006.

Catherine O'Connell and her sister Brenda were found guilty in October 2008 of strangling their mother Muriel to death. Catherine appealed her conviction and life prison sentence to the state's high court; that appeal was rejected Tuesday.

Muriel O'Connell adopted Catherine from a Guatemalan orphanage when she was 11. Muriel adopted Brenda from the same orphanage a few years later.

According to information presented at trial, the sisters quickly bonded, while their relationship with their mother deteriorated. Murial even confided to friends that she believed her daughters tried to poison her by putting diethyl ether in her vodka bottle.

3 MS-13 members sentenced to life in prison

3 MS-13 members sentenced to life in prison

ATLANTA -- Three members of the MS-13 gang have been sentenced to life in prison for committing murders in two counties.

Ernesto Escobar, 30, of Norcross was sentenced Thursday in federal court. He goes by the street names "Flaco" and "Pink Panther."

Two co-defendants -- 25-year-old Miguel "Joker" Alvarado-Linares of Norcross and 30-year-old Dimas "Toro" Alfaro-Granados of Duluth -- were sentenced in October.

U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said the three men were charged with murder, attempted murder and armed robbery for several incidents in DeKalb and Gwinnett counties.

Evidence presented in court showed Alvarado-Linares and Alfaro-Granados killed a fellow MS-13 member in October 2006 because they believed the victim was cooperating with police.