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Life Sentence Issued for Austell Murder Convict

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MDJ Script/ Top Stories for Feb 20th           

Publish Date:  Feb 19th        



From the Drake Realty Studio, Welcome to the Marietta Daily Journal Podcast. 


Today is Tuesday, February 20th, and Happy heavenly Birthday to Steeley Dan founder Walter Becker.

***02.20.24 – BIRTHDAY – WALTER BECKER***

I’m Dan Radcliffe and here are the stories Cobb is talking about, presented by Credit Union of Georgia.

  1. Life Sentence Issued for Austell Murder Convict
  2. Investigation Shifts: South Cobb Fatal Crash Now Not Considered Hit and Run
  3. Cobb Sheriff Earns Prestigious 'Triple Crown' Accreditation Recognition"


All of this and more is coming up on the Marietta Daily Journal Podcast, and if you are looking for community news, we encourage you to listen and subscribe! 



STORY 1: Man Sentenced to Life for Austell Murder

Douglasville resident, Sony Lebrun, 37, has been handed a life sentence without parole for a murder case dating back to August 2021. The Cobb County jury found him guilty on multiple charges including malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, and firearm possession. Lebrun's conviction relates to the fatal shooting of Eric Stone, a consequence of road rage at the Premier Lane Apartments in Austell.

Witnesses pinpointed Lebrun as the culprit and his presence at the crime scene was confirmed by GPS cell phone data. Cobb Superior Court Judge Sonja Brown presided over his sentencing, commending the diligent efforts of law enforcement and prosecutors in the case.

Cobb County Assistant District Attorneys Jay Winkler and Donna Merrell represented the prosecution for District Attorney Flynn Broady Jr.'s office. Broady underscored the importance of this conviction in reinforcing community safety.

STORY 2: Fatal Crash in South Cobb No Longer Investigated as a Hit and Run

The investigation into a fatal crash on Veterans Memorial Highway has taken a turn. Authorities have stopped their hunt for a black SUV previously thought to be involved in the incident. Instead, the collision has now been attributed to a motorcycle operated by Christopher Johnson hitting pedestrian Melissa Winslow.

Winslow sustained severe injuries as a result of the accident. Tragically, Johnson did not survive and was declared dead at the scene. Initially, it was believed that Winslow had been trapped under the SUV, but further investigation clarified that the SUV's driver had stopped to inspect the damage before leaving the site.

The unfortunate event transpired when Winslow attempted to cross the highway. Johnson's motorcycle hit her, causing her to be thrown into the westbound lanes. The case continues to be under scrutiny by local authorities.

STORY 3: Cobb Sheriff Recognized for 'Triple Crown' Accreditation

Cobb County Sheriff Craig Owens recently received recognition at the Georgia Senate for a significant achievement by his office. His department has secured accreditations from the three most prestigious law enforcement credentialing authorities in the U.S - the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, the American Correctional Association, and the National Commission on Correctional Health Care.

The Cobb Sheriff's Office now stands among an exclusive group of 100 sheriff's offices across the nation and only five in Georgia to have attained this honor. Owens underscored the critical role of professionalism in law enforcement during his remarks. He generously attributed this accomplishment to his devoted staff, whose efforts have materially elevated the agency's standards and services, ultimately benefiting the citizens of Cobb County.

This achievement highlights the commitment of Sheriff Owens and his team to uphold the highest standards of law enforcement excellence, underscoring their dedication to serving the community with integrity and professionalism.

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We’ll be right back.


Break: DRAKE

STORY 4: 'My Happy Place': Glass Fusing Class Teaches Students to Find Beauty in What's Broken

Kennesaw-based artist Teresa Barnes is known for her expertise in glass fusing – an art form that breathes life into broken glass fragments by transforming them into intricate designs. Barnes offers classes through the Art House under the aegis of the Acworth Arts Alliance, where she teaches students the art of cutting, arranging, and fusing glass.

Barnes' studio is a haven for both novices and seasoned artists, offering opportunities to create both functional and decorative pieces. Students laud her proficiency and mentorship, with classes offered in either four-week sessions or individual meetings. The flexible nature of glass fusing encourages creativity and experimentation, making it a rewarding artistic pursuit for artists of all proficiency levels.

For more details on classes and what they offer, you can visit the Acworth Arts Alliance's website at

5: Local bird fans assist in global survey event

Smith-Gilbert Gardens, nestled in Kennesaw, is the proud host of the annual Great Backyard Bird Count. This event, celebrated worldwide, invites volunteers to document bird species and their sightings. Guided by expert birders, guests traverse the gardens, spotting and recording details about various bird species.

Despite the challenges presented by windy conditions, participants managed to spot an array of bird breeds, including the American Goldfinch, Northern Cardinal, and Red-tailed Hawk. Smith-Gilbert Gardens conducts an assortment of interactive events throughout the year, such as tree planting for National Arbor Day, captivating butterfly exhibits, and engaging educational programs designed for children.

The gardens offer membership options for families who wish to contribute to the initiatives of Smith-Gilbert Gardens. For further information, visit

We’ll be back in a moment.


Break: TEDS


STORY 6: 'The Right Hire': New Cobb Elections Director Brings Innovation to the Job

Tate Fall, the recently appointed director of Cobb Elections, is infusing her role with a wealth of experience in election administration and a steadfast dedication to transparency and innovation. Having honed her skills in Virginia and Washington, D.C., Fall has set her sights on modernizing Cobb Elections through the integration of cutting-edge technology and strategic reorganization.

Transparency is a cornerstone of Fall's leadership, as evidenced by her plans to host open houses that allow residents to observe election processes up close. Under her guidance, Cobb Elections has already witnessed notable improvements, including the creation of new staff roles and a heightened focus on operational efficiency.

Fall has tackled challenges such as redistricting head-on, demonstrating a proactive approach and an unwavering commitment to accountability. Her efforts have not gone unnoticed, earning acclaim from the Cobb Board of Elections.

STORY 7: With Brad Wheeler's support, Tre' Hutchins Hopes to Advance Cobb School Safety Plan

In the wake of a shooting incident at McEachern High School, Leroy Tre’ Hutchins, a member of the Cobb County Board of Education, has put forth a comprehensive school safety plan. This proposal has managed to secure a rare consensus across party lines. Key elements of the plan include deploying school support officers, procuring technology to detect weapons at events and within school premises, and conducting a financial analysis.

Hutchins aspires to utilize surplus funds along with revenue generated from the Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax to offset the costs associated with these measures. While certain safety initiatives are already underway, Hutchins underscores the importance of an all-encompassing strategy to ensure student safety remains paramount.

The potential ratification of this plan would mark a significant stride towards addressing safety concerns in Cobb County schools.

Break: INGLES 3


Thanks again for hanging out with us on today’s Marietta Daily Journal podcast. If you enjoy these shows, we encourage you to check out our other offerings, like the Cherokee Tribune Ledger Podcast, the Gwinnett Daily Post, the Community Podcast for Rockdale Newton and Morgan Counties, or the Paulding County News Podcast. Read more about all our stories and get other great content at  


Did you know over 50% of Americans listen to podcasts weekly? Giving you important news about our community and telling great stories are what we do. Make sure you join us for our next episode and be sure to share this podcast on social media with your friends and family. Add us to your Alexa Flash Briefing or your Google Home Briefing and be sure to like, follow, and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.


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