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Badge and Bar: Trial date set tentatively in Tadmore soccer slaying
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A Gainesville man accused of a shooting at a soccer game last year has entered a not guilty plea, with a tentative trial date set for November.

Saul Merdez Castillo, 41, was indicted in July 2013 in the shooting of Silverio Acosta, 46, at Tadmore Park in Hall County. The slaying occurred on June 16.

Last Friday, Castillo had a pretrial conference to decide how the case would proceed. In a notice signed by Superior Court Judge Kathlene Gosselin, Castillo is set to report for trial at 9:30 a.m. on Nov. 3. The calendar call for the case is set for Oct. 13.

Castillo faces charges of malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault and possession of a firearm in the commission of a crime.

Authorities said conflict between the two men originated in their home country of El Salvador.

The last day for a negotiated plea will be Oct. 24.

Inmate to be transferred from Augusta prison for arraignment

A Gainesville man accused of stabbing his grandmother has been ordered for transfer for an arraignment, according to court records.

Ronnie Quqomecki Rucker, 32, is accused of stabbing his grandmother Lula Bell Howard, 70, on May 2. In June, Rucker was indicted on charges of malice murder, aggravated assault, aggravated battery, possession of a knife during the commission of a crime and two counts of felony murder.

Superior Court Judge Bonnie Oliver signed an order Aug. 12 to have Rucker transferred on or before Sept. 22 from Augusta State Medical Prison to stand for arraignment. Following the arraignment, he will be returned to the Augusta prison.

Civilians to gain inside access to sheriff’s office in citizens academy

Through a 10-session training program, citizens of Hall County can learn more about the deputies and officers who patrol the streets of Gainesville.

From Oct. 7 to Nov. 13, residents can learn about the criminal justice system, the sheriff’s office and special operations in the Hall County Sheriff’s Office Citizens Academy.

“It should be noted that the Citizens Academy is an informational program only. At no time will participants be expected or permitted to act in a law enforcement capacity, and successful completion of the program does not certify them as a law enforcement officer in any way,” the brochure reads.

The 10 sessions are on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6-9 p.m.

Applications for participation can be obtained at


Nick Watson covers public safety issues for The Times. Share your thoughts, news tips and questions with him: