School chief talks about shotgun incident - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

School chief talks about shotgun incident

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April 28, 2004

Tifton-- Embattled Tift County School Board president Richard Golden is speaking out about what he says happened the night he was accused of blasting a trespasser's car with a shotgun and threatening to kill the man. Golden says the details of the case have been blurred in a media frenzy.

School Board President Richard Golden says he wants to set the record straight about the night 24 year old Derrick Pettiford says Golden threatened to kill him and shot holes in his car. "I told him if you don't leave here now you're not going to walk from here and you can take that how you want to take that but that's what I told him," says Golden.

Golden says on the night in question Derrick Pettiford wasn't alone there was another man with him fishing at Golden's private pond. And he recognized the man with Pettiford as one he ran off his land a few months before.

He says when he approached the two, the man with Pettiford ran and hid in the woods. "Not knowing who I was dealing with I was becoming more concerned about What I had myself into. Then I thought right then I had to get these fellows off of my property," says Golden.

Golden admits he was angry and frustrated with the men. It was that anger that may have stopped him from calling police, and caused him to blast his shotgun into Pettiford's Car. "I was wrong at damaging that gentleman's property should I have called the law yes I should have can't go back and change that no I can't," says Golden.

But the battle for Richard Golden it seems is just beginning as members of the Tifton NAACP are calling for his resignation. They say he isn't fit to make decisions for the children of Tift County.

It's a claim he denies. "Is this a message that I want to send to young people No. Let it be a lesson that Richard Golden is not above the law," says Golden.

Thursday the School Board will hold a closed door session to talk about Golden's case. Golden says it's another battle he's ready to face.

If Golden is convicted on felony charge of criminal damage he could face up to five years in prison.

posted at 3:40PM by dave.miller@walb.com