Crotts ruled ineligible to run

ATLANTA - A former state senator best known for authoring an anti-gay marriage amendment cannot run to regain his old seat, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled on Friday.

The decision comes a month after Secretary of State Cathy Cox upheld a ruling by an administrative law judge who said Mike Crotts, a Republican, was not legally qualified to run for a Senate district that includes portions of Henry and Rockdale counties.

Crotts, who served in the Georgia Senate from 1993 to 2004, is best known as the chief sponsor of the state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. He left the Senate to unsuccessfully seek a U.S. House seat won by fellow Republican Lynn Westmoreland.

Crotts moved his family last November into a basement apartment in Rockdale County that he rents from a longtime friend for $300 a month.

The administrative law judge, Dawn Smith, said there was strong evidence Crotts did not maintain ''actual residence'' in the apartment.

Crotts owns a home in Henry County that is in another state Senate district. He does some business from the home, still has the Henry address on his personal checks and used a telephone number listed at that address on his declaration of candidacy.

Former cop convicted of arson

ATLANTA - A former Chatham County police officer was found guilty on multiple charges of arson Friday by a federal jury.

Christopher Mock, 45, of Atlanta, is scheduled to be sentenced before U.S. District Court Judge Clarence Cooper on Sept. 20. He was found guilty on 14 of 15 arson counts in his indictment and could be sentenced to a maximum of 20 years and a $250,000 fine on each count of conviction.

According to the evidence, Mock set a series of fires in the stairwells of 2-to-3 story brick apartment buildings in metro Atlanta, some of which forced residents to jump to safety.

- From wire reports