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Morehouse police chief enters not guilty plea

As expected, Morehouse College police chief Vernon Worthy entered not guilty pleas on serious charges arising from a hunting confrontation in Lamar superior court this morning. His case was placed on the trial calendar. Worthy was indicted March 10 by the Lamar County grand jury on charges of false imprisonment, aggravated assault and pointing a gun at another. The charges arose out of a confrontation in which Worthy allegedly pulled a gun on a local man whom he claimed was trespassing. Testimony at a magistrate court hearing last year, however, indicated Worthy was the trespasser. The incident occurred Nov. 11, 2008 when local resident Nathaniel Rooks and Worthy crossed paths on land Rooks claimed he had permission to hunt. At the Nov. 24 preliminary hearing, Rooks testified he was in a deer stand when he saw someone enter the field. He said he climbed down from his stand, took off a camouflage mask, slung his deer rifle over his shoulder and approached the man he later learned was Worthy. Worthy then pulled a pistol on Rooks and ordered him to lie face down on the grass. He also forced Rooks at gunpoint to roll away from his rifle and toss away his cell phone, Rooks testified. ”He told me ‘I will blow your (expletive deleted) brains out if you try anything’,” Rooks said. He added that he feared for his life and started praying aloud only to hear Worthy say, “God is the only (expletive deleted) who can help you right now”. A sheriff’s deputy and DNR Ranger Keith Page arrived at the scene. The deputy testified he saw Rooks face down on the grass. Page said Worthy argued Rooks was trespassing but noted his investigation revealed that is was Worthy who was on the property illegally. Law enforcement declined to charge Worthy so Rooks brought the charges personally. Worthy was bound over to superior court on the charges for which he was indicted today. Additional charges of terroristic threats and acts, kidnapping and impersonating a police officer were dropped at the preliminary hearing.

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