Crime

Columbus Police: Ex-Phenix teacher gets 3 years in student sex case

A former high school teacher in Phenix City was sentenced Tuesday to three years behind bars.

Karland T. Miller, 33, was convicted last month of second-degree or statutory rape. Prosecutors said Miller repeatedly had sex with a 15-year-old student.

Miller taught algebra and coached boys basketball at the Central High School Freshman Academy before he was arrested in May 2010. He confessed to police that he had been sleeping with the student, but recanted during his trial last month, claiming he only told investigators what he thought they wanted to hear during the interrogation.

School officials began to suspect something was amiss the last day of school last year after an assistant principal saw the girl leaving the school after hours and asked where she had been. The student had been telling her mother she was staying late for basketball practice, but she later admitted she had been having sex with Miller, prosecutors said.

Miller was placed on administrative leave after his arrest and ultimately terminated from the school district, Phenix City Schools Superintendent Larry DiChiara said.

— Jim Mustian

Woman accused of leaving restaurant without paying

A Columbus woman remained in jail this morning on accusations she ran up an $80 tab at a restaurant and left without paying.

April Cherry, 24, faces two counts of theft of services, Muscogee County Jail records state.

According to reports, at some point Cherry was with a group of people at Cheddar’s at Columbus Park Crossing and left without paying a $80.29 bill. An officer arrested her Monday at her home on an outstanding warrant.

A-C unit taken from Celeste Drive home

A Celeste Drive home in Columbus had an outside air-conditioning unit stolen sometime over the past two weeks, police said.

The home, owned by Muncie, Ind., company CWIS LLC, had the $2,500 unit stolen between May 23 and Monday, reports state.

There are no suspects and no arrests.

Marijuana found on suspect who ran from police

A Columbus man who ran from an officer Sunday night was later found to have more than $1,000 in suspected marijuana in his car, reports state.

Cornell Lakeith Lockett, 31, faces several charges, including possession of marijuana, obstruction of an officer and laying drag, police said.

According to reports, an officer stopped Lockett for laying a drag on Wellborn Drive around 9:45 p.m. Sunday. Lockett allegedly told the officer a false name and showed a driver’s license that wasn’t his.

The officer smelled what he thought was marijuana coming from the car, and a search revealed a grocery bag with 4 ounces of suspected pot worth $1,135.

When the officer spotted the grocery bag, Lockett allegedly ran behind a nearby home and into a creek. The officer pursued, and Lockett tried to hit the officer with his hands and elbows, reports state.

The officer took Lockett into custody in the yard of a Floyd Road home. After his arrest, $2,135 in large bills was found on Lockett, police said.

Authorities didn’t discover Lockett’s true identity until around 10:30 p.m. Monday. After running Lockett’s name through a database, police learned that Lockett had a suspended license, police said.

That led to additional charges of giving a false name, driving without a license and unlawful use of a license, reports state.

— Alan Riquelmy

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