5 things to know today: Georgia executes man for 2001 murder


Georgia executes death row inmate. Steven Spears, who never fought his death sentence, died by lethal injection Wednesday night, becoming the eighth person Georgia has put to death this year. He was pronounced dead at 7:30 p.m., executed for murdering his ex-girlfriend, Sherri Holland, in 2001. [Read here]

March for minority groups' safety, rights. "No arrests, no violence," Atlanta police officer Lukasz Sajdak said shortly before 11 p.m. Wednesday as about 150 protesters ended their march at Piedmont Park. The group began about 8 p.m., marking the fourth night of demonstrations in Atlanta since the presidential election Nov. 8. [Read here]

Hawks pull off win against Bucks. Turns out the Hawks are pretty good even without Dwight Howard. With their starting center sidelined by injury, the Hawks pummeled and then held off the Bucks 107-100 Wednesday night at Philips Arena. The Hawks led by as many as 24 points in the rout fueled by an impressive second quarter. [Read here]

Smoke to clear, but it will be back. Smoke plaguing metro Atlanta air quality is expected to move out Thursday then return this weekend. Early morning winds were calm, and smoke still lingered over areas directly east of Atlanta and from Gainesville to Eatonton. But southern breezes will pickup through the day and blow back smoke from wildfires in the North Georgia mountains. [Read here]

Employee wounded in shooting at Cobb mental health facility. An employee was injured Wednesday in a shooting at a Cobb County mental health facility. Initially, police said there were no injuries at the Ridgeview Institute in Smyrna. Channel 2 later learned an employee at the facility was shot in the leg. The employee is expected to be OK. [Read here]