DOUGLAS — Three people, including the Douglas city cemetery manager along with two Waycross residents, were indicted recently by a Coffee County Grand Jury on bribery charges.
All indictments were sealed for a week. Superior Court Judge Andy Spivey opened the documents in open court last Thursday.
Henry Milhollin, the cemetery manager and a former mayor of Ambrose, was indicted on three counts, including two of bribery and one of improper influence of co-officer or employee. Waycrossans Keith Hawthorne and Doug Ward, both of Ward Monument Company, also face one count of bribery.
Milhollin and Ward both turned themselves in at the Coffee County jail last week and posted bond. As of Tuesday, Hawthorne had not turned himself in.
The indictment for Count 1 read that between the dates of Aug. 7, 2015, and April 4, 2016, Milhollin “… did unlawfully accept money, a thing of value, from Keith Hawthorne, an agent of Bailey Monument Company, inducing reasonable belief that the giving of value would influence him in the performance of his duties supervising and monitoring the activities of the Douglas City Cemetery.”
The second count reads the same but states that Milhollin did “unlawfully accept money, a thing of value from Doug Ward, of Ward Monument, between the dates of March 1, 2017, and June 1, 2017.”
The third count states between the dates of Aug. 7, 2015, and April 4, 2016, Milhollin is accused of receiving a payment from Ward and “thereafter Henry Milhollin complained to Roger Goddard, a City of Douglas code enforcement officer, about Bailey Monument, a competitor to Ward Monument Company, in an effort to have Goddard take action to hinder Bailey Monument from performing burials in the Douglas Cemetery.”
Bailey Monument and Ward Monument Company are competing headstone and gravestone businesses in Douglas and Waycross.
Ward’s indictment states between March 1, 2017, and June 1, 2019, Ward “did unlawfully give to Henry Milhollin, a person acting on behalf of the City of Douglas, a political subdivision of the State of Georgia, money, to benefit to which he was not entitled, with the purpose of influencing him in the performance of his duties in supervising and monitoring the Douglas City Cemetery, an act related to the function of his employment, contrary to the laws of said state, the good order, peace and dignity thereof.”
Hawthorne’s indictment states that between Aug. 7, 2015, and April 4, 2016, Hawthorne “did unlawfully give to Henry Milhollin, a person acting on behalf of the City of Douglas, a political subdivision of the State of Georgia, money, a benefit to which he was not entitled, with the purpose of influencing him in the performance of his duties in supervising and monitoring the Douglas City Cemetery, an act related to the function of his employment, contrary to the laws of said state, the good order, peace and dignity thereof.”