THEFT INVESTIGATION LEADS TO DRUG ARRESTS

Published 1:59 pm Friday, February 4, 2022

WILLIAM HIGDON

JULIETTE CRAFT

THOMAS WILLARD

KILEY WILLARD

MARK NEWELL

CRISP COUNTY- February 4, 2022
On Tuesday, February 1, 2021, Crisp County Sheriff’s Office received reports of a theft of purses at Crisp Regional Hospital. On Wednesday, February 2, 2022, Crisp County Sheriff’s Deputies arrested William Higdon 22-year-old male from Cordele, GA. Higdon is charged with Felony Theft by Taking and (7) counts of
Financial Transaction Card Theft. The investigation of the purse thefts lead investigators to obtain a search warrant for 1464 HWY 257 North, Cordele, Georgia. On Wednesday, February 2, 2022, the following subjects were arrested:
Thomas Willard, 41-year-old male, Cordele, GA
Kiley Willard, 29-year-old female, Cordele, GA
Mark Newell, 28-year-old male, Cordele, Ga
Juliette Craft, 23,year-old female, Vienna, Ga
All four face two charges of Possession of a Schedule II Controlled Substance after Deputies found suspected MDMA and suspected cocaine in their possession. Some of the stolen items were also located inside residence.

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Beal-Shephard tries to weather the storm over City HallBy Neil B. McGahee Managing Editor Cordele City Commissioner Vesta Beal-Shephard was elected in 2001 to represent the people of Ward One. By all accounts, she has done a very good job of relating to the citizens living in her ward. Recently, however, a dark cloud has settled over City Hall. From the first day of his term, newly-elected commission chairman Joshua Antwan Deriso began taking verbal snipes on social media at some of the other commissioners. Shephard says she just ignored it at first but on April 9, Deriso posted on Facebook “…It was much anticipated for Comm. Rainey to be against change. Comission (sp) Shephard fights against me the hardest…does not know much about government at all…She needs to be voted out next year 2023.” A few days later, he posted live saying …“I am totally over the games, the political stuff…a lot of people want to make what I said about Commissioner Shephard something about disagreement with Commissioner Shephard. It was her ignorance and short-sightedness…not able to understand what we can do as a government. “When there were people in charge that didn’t look like us…white people… she didn’t question anything. Since I became chairman, she has blocked everything…you don’t know what you are doing; you don’t know what you are talking about.” Shephard winces as she listens to Deriso. “I don’t do drama and I don’t do pettiness,” she said. “I refute everything he has said about me. I’m not angry with Josh; I am somewhat disturbed that he has targeted me, a citizen of Cordele; a black female…he accused me of loving white folks. Well I do love white folks, and brown folks and black folks — Haitian, Jamaican, Indian, Cuban, Mexican — I have no discrimination to anyone. My job is to facilitate for people in this ward and when I vote, I vote my conviction.” Shephard said she doesn’t know why Deriso has such hard feelings against her. “It’s so sad, I have to say that I never saw it coming,” she said. ”But I have to voice my opinion.” But one sad thing has evolved from this. “This is the first time I have been discriminated against by a fellow commissioner,” she said. “I used to invite people to my home if they had a problem. But I had to stop that. If you want to meet with me, we will have to go to a public area or to my office at city hall. I am going to keep my distance for the simple reason that I don’t want to endanger myself.