Detective Recognized for Work Leading to Murder Conviction
The diligence of a Lyons Police Department Detective in October of 2019 has resulted in a conviction in a murder case. At the Lyons City Council meeting on April 6, LPD Chief Wesley Walker recognized Detective Sergeant Andrew Britton for working tirelessly from day one, and for several weeks, not giving up until a break led continued from page
to the body of Brandon Colson. The suspect was soon apprehended, and on April 1 of this year, Israel Williams received a sentence of life without parole. Williams’s trial was delayed by the pandemic restrictions.
Walker read a letter from a grateful Middle Judicial Circuit District Attorney Tripp Fitzner regarding the settlement of the State of Georgia vs. Israel Williams: “I want to compliment everyone involved in the Lyons Police Department for their hard work and diligence concerning the missing person case of Brandon Colson and subsequent murder investigation. This was a difficult case and the persistence your officers showed in continuing to search for Brandon speaks very highly (of the department). In particular, I want to recognize Detective Andrew Britton (who) did an exceptional job on his investigation and I am confident we would not have successfully prosecuted the case without his perseverance. Moreover, Detective Britton was very professional on the witness stand and represented you and the City of Lyons well. His exceptional work should be commended. Prosecution is a team effort. I am grateful to have Detective Britton and your officers on our side to make Lyons and Toombs County safer for everyone.” Walker presented the letter from Fitzner to Britton in recognition of his exceptional work. Family, Council members and the public in attendance also showed their appreciation with applause. Britton spoke briefly and humbly, “Chief Walker was with me every step, I didn’t do it alone. It was definitely a joint effort. Hats off to the Chief, he makes it easy for me to do my job. I appreciate the recognition.” Reporting for the Chamber, President Michele Johnson told the Council, “The Greater Vidalia Chamber has created a Help Wanted Facebook page as a service to our Chamber members. Members may post information regarding open positions in their businesses at any time and the public is invited to view those and to interact with the companies directly.” The Greater Vidalia Chamber is the recently revealed renaming of the Toombs- Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce.
Johnson also reported that the Development Authority has executed a lowinterest loan of $400,000 under the Toombs County Revolving Loan program. Vidalia Motor Sports, LLC, met all criteria of the application and will, in turn, generate a $1.5 million investment and create 14 jobs to benefit the county.
City Manager Jason Hall informed the Council that after the City adopted its FY 2021 capital budget in March, a request was received for access to municipal sewer for an industrial project under construction located West of H.D. Wright Road between U.S. Highway 280 and Georgia Highway 292. The project, to begin on June 1, will be a $4 million investment and will create 40 new jobs packaging and distributing citrus fruit to local suppliers. Because of this essential benefit to the City, the Council approved an amendment to the FY2021 capital budget by adding an appropriation of $110,000.00 to extend sewer service to Southern Mark Industries. Further, Hall gained approval from the Council to use these additional funds for an emergency contract to extend the sewer to the Southern Mark Industries property. As stated in the resolution presented, “customary bid requirements would create an undue hardship for the project; the City Charter allows for the Council to declare emergencies and to adopt emergency ordinances.”
Two competitive bids to the City from local contractors were considered for the emergency ordinance. McLendon Enterprises, offering a bid of $107,359.10, is able to begin the project right away to complete the work by the needed date of June 1. For this reason, and with adequate funds approved to be added to the budget, McLendon will provide the extension of the sewer.
A public hearing, having been publicized for more than 30 days, was held at 5:30 p.m. preceding this regular April Council meeting to consider the proposed changes in water rates and wastewater rates. There was no protest by the public. Therefore, the water rate adjustment was approved to be in effect until May 2024 unless it is amended by a future City Council action. The new water rates can be viewed on the City Links at www. lyonsga.org.
Darriel Nobles was present at the Council meeting, but in another capacity from his Toombs County Commission position. Nobles, his wife, Lucretia, and a host of volunteers, chair the local blood drives.
Nobles said, “I want to thank you for the use of the Callaway Center. Every town needs a blood drive and that’s one of the things we can do to give back to the community that’s been so good to us. A year ago, we moved from the Ag Center to the Callaway Center and we asked the Lions Club and the City of Lyons to sponsor our blood drives. We have been very successful with them.”
Nobles wanted the Council to know that, for the first time, the volunteers have received a certificate of recognition as a Premier Blood Partner with the American Red Cross for collecting 400 units of blood. In 2020, the local partners collected 438 units of blood. Collections in 2021 are also going well.
Mayor Willis NeSmith told Nobles, “We appreciate what you and Mrs. Lucretia do. It takes up a good bit of time for you to call people for appointments. You keep it up.”