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Murder suspect sues cop for defamation

The defendant in a Glynn County homicide case filed a federal suit Sept. 22 against a local investigator alleging defamation of character and demanding damages for actions that allegedly have and will occur.

Police believe John William Roosevelt — spelled in court different documents as Roosevelt and Rosevelt — allegedly killed his 72-year-old mother, Linda Mansfield, who was reported missing in May from the Marshes of MacKay home she and Roosevelt shared. The case is set for trial with jury selection beginning Jan. 22.

Roosevelt, 50, maintains his innocence. In his claims for relief against Glynn County Police Investigator Jeffery Williams, he stated in the handwritten filing, “Plaintiff seeks $100,000 for defamation of character and the costs that will be incurred for relocating to another state upon acquittal and $2,000 per day for false imprisonment and for lost wages and deprivation of liberties afforded to plaintiff by (the) Constitution beginning 5/23/17.”

Roosevelt also asked for a subpoena for the grand jury testimony in his Glynn County Superior Court murder case so as to delineate the specific instances where he alleges the investigator perjured himself, and any other relief the court finds proper.

The form Roosevelt used for his complaint is a standard federal form for a prisoner complaint for a violation of civil rights. Included in the form are questions that asked what other officials he informed of his grievance, in order to show whether the person filing the grievance exhausted all of their other options before bringing the complaint to U.S. District Court.

Roosevelt wrote that he sent the complaint to the grand jury Aug. 22, alleging perjured testimony and arrest without probable cause, but received no response. He also noted he wrote state Attorney General Chris Carr on Aug. 4 and state Deputy Attorney General Beth Burton on Aug. 21, but received no response from them.

Law enforcement has yet to find Mansfield, and she remains missing. Roosevelt reiterates in his lawsuit what police said he told them, which is that Mansfield went to Savannah with a friend, and that was the last he saw of her.

In his handwritten list of allegations, Roosevelt takes particular issue with the charge of felony theft by taking, which regards his mother’s 2012 Honda Civic, which was at the residence when officers took him into custody. Roosevelt states the car was never reported stolen, he was “unreasonably seized” for the theft without probable cause and the felony theft charge led to a subsequent malicious prosecution and defamation of character.

Roosevelt further contends the charges against him regarding the murder case reported in The News and elsewhere defamed him, and deprives him of an impartial jury, and that The News’ reporting of the indictment constituted an illegal disclosure of grand jury testimony by Williams.

Count 12 of the indictment accuses Roosevelt of “knowingly mak(ing) a false statement to Jeff Williams that he denied telling anyone that his mother had gone to Savannah, Georgia, with a person named Glenda….”

The Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office extended a plea offer July 31 to Roosevelt, with part of the agreement to not seek the death penalty. It also offered life imprisonment without parole or consecutive sentences if he would plead guilty to the crime, tell Glynn County police exactly what happened, take investigators to where he took the body and if evidence of the body was found.

Roosevelt states in the complaint that the plea offer constituted a threat of prosecutors seeking the death penalty against him if he did not confess.

The federal court has yet to take action on the complaint. Roosevelt also filed a motion asking for appointed counsel in this civil case. The court has not ruled on that motion either.

Bobby Haven/The Brunswick News 

Three-year old Isaac Zupko gives Brunswick Police Community Services officer Marsha Meyers-Bue a skeptical look before being finger printed Tuesday during a visit from the police department to the Brunswick High School Pint Pirate program. The event was an activities day for the 3-year-olds in the BHS Early Childhood Development class Pint Pirates program to meet with police officers and to feel comfortable and safe around them. The children were read safety books, were deputized as junior officers, and photographed and finger printed, with each child receiving a Safe Kids biographical document and identification card.

Bobby Haven/The Brunswick News 

Three-year old Isaac Zupko, above, gives Brunswick Police Community Services officer Marsha Meyers-Bue a skeptical look before being finger printed Tuesday. Three-year old Piper Crews, at right, smiles as she gets fingerprinted by Meyers-Bue during a visit from the police department to the Brunswick High School Pint Pirate program. The event was an activities day for the 3-year-olds in the BHS Early Childhood Development class Pint Pirates program to meet with police officers and to feel comfortable and safe around them. The children were read safety books, were deputized as junior officers, and photographed and finger printed, with each child receiving a Safe Kids biographical document and identification card.

Feds would pay bulk of hiring new firefighters with SAFER grant
 lhobbs  / 

Glynn County Fire Chief R.K. Jordan has a way to add 15 much-needed firefighters to the department at a bargain rate to taxpayers.

So what’s the deal? Roughly two thirds of the $2 million per year cost will be paid for by the federal government, leaving Glynn County to pay just $800,000.

Any potential drawbacks? The $1.3 million annual Federal Emergency Management Agency grant is good for only three years.

The federal money comes from a FEMA grant known as SAFER: Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response. The grant is designed to help fire departments across the country beef up their ranks to better adhere to national firefighting standards. Standards established by the National Fire Protection Agency advocate for at least four firefighters on the scene before going into a firefight.

The standard is one of several NFPA standards that affect homeowner insurance rates, Jordan said. FEMA will contribute roughly $1.3 million in each of the three years to pay for the 15 additional firefighters, according the agency’s announcement last month that the department had been awarded the grant. The county would contribute a balance of about $800,000 in each of those years.

Jordan believes it is an offer the county should not refuse.

“There is no doubt,” he said. “For a 33.3 percent buy-in, we’re enhancing the safety of the department and the citizens they serve by up-staffing the department approximately 10 percent. On an economic scale, it is difficult to refuse additional staffing at such a discounted rate. I believe it will beenfit our response times and our (fire) loss rate.”

Glynn County presently has two firefighters on each truck, which includes the driver. The grant would allow the fire department to add a third firefighter at each of the outlying mainland county stations and at one of the three stations on St. Simons Island. Additionally, the department could add an additional firefighter to its two ladder trucks, one on the mainland and one on the island.

“We’ve got a grant to hire 15 additional people,” Jordan said. “To add to our staffing like this will allow us to implement a phenomenal amount of improvements. It puts us in a position to enhance services for citizens, and in doing so, it enhances the safety of our firefighters.”

The fire department applied for the grant last year. FEMA announced last month that the grant had been awarded. The grant proposal will likely go to the county Finance Committee at its Oct. 10 meeting. If approved by the finance committee, it could go before the County Commission for consideration as early as the Oct. 26 meeting.

County Commissioner Mark Stambaugh’s biggest concern is what becomes of the additional firefighters when FEMA’s $1.3 million contribution runs out in three years. Otherwise, he thinks the SAFER grant has merit. The fact that the grant covers the additional firefighters for all three years without placing further demands on the department also is encouraging, he said.

“I’d be more inclined to accept that,” said Stambaugh, who also serves on the county Finance Committee. “The downside is, in three years do we have the money to pay them, do we keep them on board? I need to look a little closer before I make that decision.”

Jordan used the grant previously when he was assistant fire chief in Fort Myers, Fla. He believes county growth will have created the demand for the additional firefighters by that time.

Glynn County presently has 124 frontline firefighters, two short of a full staff, Jordan said. The current fiscal year’s fire department budget is $10.1 million.

Station 3 at 127 Grants Ferry Road in northwestern Glynn County and Station 6 at 3320 U.S. Highway 17 in the southwestern part of the county would most likely get an additional firefighter to cover each of the department’s three shifts, Jordan said. Another firefighter would be placed at one of St. Simons’ three stations. An additional firefighter could be added at either Station 8 on Public Safety Boulevard in the county’s central western region or at Station 1 at 4310 Community Road, he said. An additional firefighter would be added to both department ladder trucks, he said.

“It would be ideal to get one on each of the outlying stations because they’re so far away from having assistance,” Jordan said. “Those are the ones I’m looking at in particular. It will allow us to initiate operations quicker when we get on the scene.”

MAP International adds domestic prescription aid program

A tower of blue shrink-wrapped pallets sat in MAP International’s Brunswick warehouse Tuesday, ready for shipment to Syrian refugees in Lebanon and clinics in Haiti, Honduras and the Dominican Republic.

Stacked at least four stories high, the supplies are part of the worldwide charity’s decades-long efforts to put valuable prescriptions and medical supplies in the hands of the planet’s most vulnerable populations. Soon, though, some of those life-saving medications will be headed to patients who are much, much closer.

MAP International announced Tuesday it will partner with Southeast Georgia Rotary clubs and community clinics in Brunswick and Valdosta to provide its first-ever long-term domestic prescription aid program.

“Even here locally, there are people living in dire conditions,” said Steve Stirling, chief executive of MAP International. “We realize the need to take care of our neighbors first.”

The program, financed by donated funds from 63 Rotary clubs in Southeast Georgia, will serve about 2,700 low-income patients at Brunswick’s Coastal Medical Access Project and Valdosta’s South Georgia Partnership for Health.

Medications for hypertension, asthma, cholesterol and diabetes will be provided at low or no cost to patients served by the clinic for at least the next three years. Some antibiotics and over-the-counter medications will also be shipped to the two clinics.

“Basically, we wanted to partner with MAP because they are one of Charity Navigator’s highest rated charities in the world,” said Margaret Jacobs, governor-elect of Rotary District 6920, which encompasses Southeast Georgia. “We’ll be paying for the handling fee.”

That handling fee, Stirling explained, covers the storage, processing and shipment of drugs donated by pharmaceutical companies. Southeast Georgia Rotary clubs have pledged to fund the program for three years, Jacobs said.

The initial two-clinic effort is a pilot program with the goal of eventually expanding to more communities, Stirling said.

“This is a start, a test to find out what we can do,” Stirling said. “We can get these chronic medications to the people that need them. We all should have access to quality health care.”

The domestic initiative is a departure from MAP International’s historic mission. Since 1954, the organization has provided more than $5 billion in medical supplies to thousands of clinics in more than 100 countries.

Candace Rowell, MAP International’s program manager, said while there is substantial need around the globe, there is also need locally.

“There are 1.8 million people in Georgia who are uninsured,” she said of the state’s 10.3 million residents. “And there are 1 million who are underinsured. MAP has a long history of providing high-quality pharmaceuticals, and we felt the need to branch out into our own backyard.”

Making a local difference is important to the four Rotary clubs in Glynn County, said Michael Muldowney, a member of Rotary Club of St. Simons Island.

“I just want to stress the local club commitment to this,” he said. “They have put up their money, and this is, to my knowledge, the first local project like this.”

For more information about MAP International, visit