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Copper thefts left houses unlivable, say cops

By Kathy Jefcoats

kjefcoats@henryherald.com

MCDONOUGH — Copper thieves did so much damage to three Hampton houses, they are "uninhabitable," said police.

Police arrested Russell Jay Melton, 42, of Oak Street in Hampton and charged him with three counts each of burglary and criminal damage to property in the second degree. Melton has a bond but Henry County Magistrate Judge Donnie Patton said there will likely be a parole hold imposed which will keep him from being released.

Hampton police said Russell and another person broke into three houses between Dec. 16 and Jan. 18. Police said the pair ripped copper from walls, ceilings, floors, attics and crawl spaces so extensively the houses are "uninhabitable."

Melton reminded Patton several times during Monday's first appearance hearing that he was not alone in committing the alleged crimes. Patton said it didn't matter, he will still be charged and the facts sorted out during a Jan. 28 preliminary hearing.

Georgia Department of Corrections records show Melton served more than three years in prison for possession of methamphetamine and was released in July 2009. He is on parole until 2016.

Patton tried to negotiate a teenager's return home Monday morning but the defendant chose to move in with relatives until his case is resolved. Dakota Chambers, 17, of Whistle Way in Locust Grove was arrested Saturday and charged with simple battery for an alleged altercation involving his sister, 14.

Police said he pushed her with a butter knife in his hand during an argument with her while making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Police said the sister suffered a cut to her finger while defending herself.

Patton had Chambers brought back into court to ask him if he wanted to go home but not without lecturing him about the seriousness of the charge against him.

"This is despicable conduct and I'm not going to tolerate it," said Patton. "Can you keep your hands to yourself? I'm going to make it a condition of bond that you have no contact with your sister until we can get to the bottom of what's going on."

Chambers said he was willing to stay away from his sister but didn't want to go home. Patton said once he is released on his own recognizance, Chambers, a senior, will go to live with his grandfather, aunt and uncle but can still attend his high school.

In other court action:

• Heather Pinkerman, 19, of Koala Street in Lawrenceville made her first appearance on a drug charge. Police said she was involved in an accident at the intersection of Ga. 42 and Ga. 138 Jan. 8. When officers accessed her glove compartment to get her insurance information, he said he found two hydrocodone pills for which she did not have a prescription.

She is being held in the Henry County Jail without bond because she is serving probation for a shoplifting conviction.

• Markavius Hightower, 20, of Portwest Way in Hampton was charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Police said he was hosting a party with alcohol Sunday in the back of D&D Collision in McDonough where attendees were as young as 12.

• George Livingston Hudson, 38, of Tudor Drive in McDonough was charged with simple battery under the Family Violence Act and cruelty to children in the third degree. Police said he pushed his live-in girlfriend during a domestic dispute in front of his 9-year-old daughter.

• Keanu Julan Ingram, 22, of Mt. Zion Road in Stockbridge was charged with forgery in the first degree and possession of less than an ounce of marijuana. Police said he gave a fake $5 bill to a woman about 4 a.m. Saturday and was in possession of drugs.

• Justin Thomas Peppers, 25, of Village Place in Stockbridge was charged with selling oxycodone to an undercover police officer Nov. 28.

• Stacy Naesha Wilkerson, 27, of Jonesboro was charged with shoplifting more than $700 in items from Belk Saturday.

All defendants should be considered innocent until proven guilty.