Across the area


Autopsy on Appling man finds gunshots


An Appling man found dead in his home Saturday died of two gunshot wounds, an autopsy has determined.

The autopsy results released Tuesday on Thomas Tankersley, 45, said he had gunshot wounds in his chest and head and that his death was a homicide, Columbia County Coroner Vernon Collins said.

George Anthony Reid, 40, of Appling, was arrested in the case and was being held in the Columbia County Detention Center without bond Tuesday. He is charged with murder, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime and theft by taking a motor vehicle, according to jail personnel.

Mr. Reid and seven others were arrested Saturday when they were found in Richmond County with Mr. Tankersley's 2002 Toyota Sienna van. All except Mr. Reid were released without charges.

Police think Mr. Tankersley died eight to 10 hours before his wife, Stephanie Tankersley, told police she found him dead in his Cobbham Road home.

Course's former boss is indicted

The former manager of Augusta's Municipal Golf Course was indicted Tuesday.

The Richmond County grand jury indictment accuses Guy T. Reid of two counts of theft. It alleges that he stole a total of $3,121 on two occasions in October.

Mr. Reid, who resigned in October as city leaders called for an audit of the golf course finances, is free on bond. He was charged in December.

Teen is shot in leg while riding bicycle

An Augusta teenager was shot in the leg Monday while riding his bike in the 500 block of Eve Street, according to a Richmond County sheriff's report.

The 15-year-old boy told police that three men in a black car passed him and fired two shots from a small handgun, the report said.

The teen pedaled to a friend's house and was taken to University Hospital, where he was treated and released, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Investigators suspect arson in house fire

Investigators think a house fire early Tuesday at 1825 Jenkins St. was intentionally set, according to a Richmond County sheriff's report.

Firefighters got the fire under control, but not until it had damaged the building's west wall, the report said.

Lt. G.B. Hannan, an investigator for the Augusta-Richmond County Fire Department, told police that there were no signs of natural causes and that there was an odor of petroleum.

Man thrown off horse is in serious condition

A member of the Aiken Hounds hunting club was thrown from a horse Tuesday afternoon and taken to Medical College of Georgia Hospital.

Lt. Michael Frank, the spokesman for the Aiken County Sheriff's Office, identified the rider as Linzee Whittaker, whose age was estimated to be between 50 and 60. He had head injuries and was unconscious when taken to MCG by ambulance, Lt. Frank said.

Lt. David Turno, the spokesman for the Aiken Department of Public Safety, said his agency received a call Tuesday afternoon that a rider had been thrown from a horse in Hitchcock Woods. The horse ran from the woods and up South Boundary Avenue and was corralled by authorities on Orangeburg Street, Lt. Turno said.

A spokeswoman for MCG said Mr. Whittaker was in serious condition Tuesday evening.

Aiken Elementary is finalist for award

Aiken Elementary School has been named a finalist for one of the 2007 Carolina First Palmetto's Finest Schools Awards, organizers announced Tuesday.

Carolina First Bank and the South Carolina Association of School Administrators sponsor the awards, which are given to two elementary schools, one middle school and one high school in the state.

Aiken Elementary was among seven elementary schools selected as finalists. Winners will be announced March 13 in Columbia.

Former executive makes guilty plea

A former Augusta business executive pleaded guilty to a felony charge Tuesday in federal court.

Otis Conrad Benton, 57, admitted he knew that false information was given to an Augusta bank that enabled Garden City Lumber to obtain a $700,000 line of credit from December 2002 through July 2004.

Mr. Benton was the president of Garden City Lumber, which declared Chapter 7 bankruptcy in June 2005. Mr. Benton, who now works as a restaurant manager, filed for personal bankruptcy in March.

Two men admit guilt in bank robbery case

Two young Augusta men pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday to bank robbery charges.

Lewis Hills Jr., 18, and Paul R. Maness, 19, admitted they robbed the Seaboard System Federal Credit Union on July 19.

Before their arrests the next day, they spent about $20,000 of the stolen money, FBI Special Agent Jeffrey Downey testified in U.S. District Court.

The sentencing date has not been set. The maximum penalty is 25 years in prison.

Authorities say man sought sex with minor

An Aiken man is facing charges that he solicited sex from an underage girl online.

Christopher Lee Dickert, 26, of the 1600 block of Wire Road, was arrested by Anderson County authorities Saturday on charges of felony criminal solicitation of a minor, felony attempted criminal sexual conduct with a minor, and misdemeanor simple possession of marijuana.

According to the state attorney general's office, Mr. Dickert began chatting online Jan. 4 with a person he thought was a 12-year-old girl but who was actually an undercover police officer.

He drove to Anderson County to meet the girl for sex, according to authorities. He was arrested by Anderson police there.

Authorities seized a computer from Mr. Dickert's workplace, Performance Medical Supply Inc., later that day, said Mark Plowden, a spokesman for the attorney general's office.

- From staff reports