A trial for an Ashford teacher accused of stealing more than $3,360 from Ashford High School has been continued until Jan. 13.

Laura Morgan McWaters, who goes by Laurie, was arrested by the Houston County Sheriff’s Office on April 13, 2018, and charged with first-degree theft of property, a Class B felony that carries a penalty of between two and 20 years in prison.

According to court documents, Circuit Judge Butch Binford continued the case after McWaters retained a new attorney. She recently retained Christopher Reid for her defense; she was previously represented by Charlton Pope.

Sheriff’s Office investigators say that during a 2018 routine state audit, the Houston County School Board learned that $6,126 was used from the school’s Student Government Association account. During the time funds went missing, McWaters was the SGA sponsor, and its account was set up under her personal bank account for undetermined reasons, according to the investigation.

The audit suggested that nearly $500 was spent from the account on items including clothing, beauty and hygiene products, pet food, DVDs, children’s games and alcoholic beverages. More than $2,000 came from checks written to McWaters or her bank for cash, and $500 in cash was withdrawn from an ATM, investigators said.

McWaters was indicted by a grand jury in September 2018. She has pleaded not guilty.

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