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Badge & Bar: Former jailer accused of smuggling to be arraigned
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A former Hall County jailer accused of smuggling drugs into the Hall County Jail is set for an arraignment hearing next week in U.S. District Court.

Austin Herring, 19, was arrested on Feb. 20 and charged with allegedly smuggling small packages of “ruse cocaine” into the Hall County Jail on two occasions.

Authorities say they believe Herring accepted $1,000 in two instances of smuggling. The investigation into Herring began on Jan. 28 by the North Georgia Major Offenders Safe Streets Task Force.

Herring will appear on Monday before Magistrate Judge J. Clay Fuller.

“Austin has met with agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and has cooperated with that investigation,” Herring’s attorney Graham McKinnon wrote in a statement. “Presently, it is inappropriate to discuss this case, except to say that Austin is still a person of great potential. It would be wrong to give up on this young man.”

Suspect pleads not guilty to November attempted rape

A Gainesville man accused of kidnapping a 17-year-old jogger and attempting to rape her pleaded not guilty at an arraignment Tuesday morning in Hall County Superior Court.

Brandon Scott Nix, 27, is charged with kidnapping, aggravated sodomy, attempted rape, false imprisonment, aggravated assault and sexual battery related to an alleged Nov. 2 assault.

The 17-year-old girl was jogging on Barrett Road when Nix allegedly came up behind her in his pickup truck. After asking her to take a ride, authorities said Nix grabbed her around the throat and pulled her into the truck.

Nix then allegedly took the girl back to his Wood Creek Place residence in East Hall County, where authorities say he attempted to rape her.

The victim later escaped.

Suspects plead not guilty in 2013 armed robbery

Meanwhile, two Lawrenceville men accused of threatening a woman and a toddler with a semi-automatic handgun on Oct. 30, 2013, pleaded not guilty Tuesday.

Ronta Antonio Garner, 34, and Shamarcus Grimes, 27, are charged jointly with attempted armed robbery, aggravated assault, third-degree child cruelty and two counts of false imprisonment in connection with an alleged armed robbery attempt at the Ridgecrest Apartments in Gainesville.

On the same day at the same complex, Garner is charged with shooting 23-year-old Quavis Carruth in the pelvis and hand, according to arrest warrants.

Separately, Grimes is charged with possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, and Garner was separately charged with aggravated assault, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Residents looking to learn more about Gainesville first responders can enroll in the annual public safety academy.

The Gainesville Police Department and Gainesville Fire Department will hold their classes beginning on April 14.

Classes will teach residents about the operations of the Gainesville Police Department, ranging from crime prevention to crime scene processing. Fire department officials will teach fire safety, as both departments present opportunities for hands-on equipment demonstrations.

Applications are due by March 31 to 701 Queen City Parkway in Gainesville, and applicants must be at least 21 years of age. All applicants will undergo a background check.

Classes will be every Tuesday from 6:30-9 p.m. at the Gainesville Public Safety Complex, running until June 16.

To apply or find more information, go to

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


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