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Election to pick GOP candidate

 

Six Republicans are on today's ballot to find a replacement for former District 25 Sen. Tommy Moore.

South Carolina voters living in the four counties in District 25 - Aiken, Edgefield, McCormick and Saluda - can vote from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. for any of the following: Chris Corley, Bernie Hamby, Bill Hixon, Shane Massey, Jack Montgomery or Susan Swanson.

If a runoff is needed, it is scheduled for Oct. 2. The Republican winner will be on the Nov. 6 ballot against the lone Democrat in the race, state House Rep. Bill Clyburn.

Teen passenger dies when SUV rolls over

State and local authorities are investigating a single-car accident in which a Jefferson County girl was killed Monday afternoon.

Joyce Warnock, 15, of Bartow, died just after 3 p.m. after the driver of a 1997 Ford Explorer lost control of the sport utility vehicle while traveling one mile west of Georgia Highway 296 on Mennonite Church Road, said Jefferson County Coroner Edward James. Ms. Warnock was a passenger in the back seat, he said.

She was partially ejected from the SUV as it flipped and landed on her, according to the Georgia State Patrol's Swainsboro Post.

Two other girls, Hannah Sheppard and Brittany Williford, both 16, were in the vehicle . All three were students at Jefferson County High and had just left school, police said.

Ms. Sheppard, the driver, was airlifted to Medical College of Georgia Hospital and Ms. Williford was taken to Jefferson County Hospital .

Ex-principal receives five years probation

A former Barnwell County elementary and high school principal pleaded guilty Monday in Aiken County to fondling a mentally retarded young woman in a New Ellenton church parking lot earlier this year.

Larry Aldrich, of Williston, pleaded guilty to assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature and was sentenced to five years probation. He must register as a sex offender and undergo sex offender counseling, according to Assistant Solicitor Brenda Brisbin.

According to Ms. Brisbin, the former educator fondled the 22-year-old woman against her will in the parking lot of Grace Covenant Church of God in New Ellenton in January.

Elderly woman's death an accident

The death of a 66-year-old Hephzibah woman, who was found in her home Friday, has been ruled an accident, according to Richmond County Coroner Grover Tuten.

Authorities originally said the death of Rachel Lee, of 4500 Dunbarton Drive, appeared "suspicious," and an autopsy was performed Saturday.

Richmond County sheriff's Sgt. Richard Roundtree said Monday she appears to have fallen and hit her head on a dresser. She then suffered a heart attack, he said.

Teen charged with having explosives

A 16-year-old Harlem boy who said last week that he discovered several canisters of explosives marked TNT is now facing charges in connection with the incident, Columbia County Sheriff's Capt. Steve Morris said Monday.

The teen, who was not named, was charged with possessing explosive materials and was held at the Youth Detention Center over the weekend, Capt. Morris said.

The boy had a Juvenile Court hearing Monday and was sent back to the center, Capt. Morris said.

Drive-by shooter hits man in his driveway

A 40-year-old Monetta man was wounded Sunday night in a drive-by shooting, the Aiken County Sheriff's Office said Monday.

Timothy B. Jackson was standing in his driveway talking about 9:30 p.m. when a small, white car stopped at the end of his drive, and a man fired at him, according to a sheriff's office news release.

Jury hears Allstate's case against couple

A federal jury in Augusta began hearing evidence Monday in a civil case that pits Allstate Insurance Co. against two Burke County homeowners.

Allstate contends it shouldn't have to pay off on the policy Thomas and Janice Mitchell took out for their Creek Road home. The home was damaged by a fire on Jan. 14, 2006, and destroyed in a second fire on Feb. 18, 2006.

On Monday, arson investigator Mike Land Sr. testified he had no doubt that both fires were intentionally set.

The Mitchells have filed a cross-claim against Allstate seeking unspecified damages.

Capital attorneys needed for trials

A judge has ordered the Atlanta-based Capital Defender Office to find attorneys for two of three people facing death penalty trials in Richmond County Superior Court.

Arraignments were scheduled Monday for Antonio Jones, 27, Ronald E. Banks, 54, and Lacy J. Barnard.

They face several charges including capital murder in the March 28 slaying of Eladio Gonzalez, 23, and the wounding of Jose Mochica.

District Attorney Danny Craig said Judge Michael N. Annis allowed locally appointed attorneys for Ms. Barnard and Mr. Banks to withdraw because they are not qualified for death penalty defense. The judge ordered the Capital Defender Office attorneys who are representing Mr. Jones to find new counsel within the next few days, Mr. Craig said.

Public meeting will focus on mills site

State environmental officials have set a public meeting for Thursday to alert residents about possible contamination at the former Avondale Mills site.

A company interested in buying 253 acres of the property, Community Environmental Co., has started the process of possibly cleaning up the contamination, said Thom Berry, a spokesman for the state Department of Health and Environmental Control.

The meeting to discuss the issue and take comments from the audience is set for 7 p.m. Thursday in the gymnasium of Leavelle McCampbell Middle School, at 82 Canal St. in Graniteville.

Voter registration drive to be at college

The Augusta State University Office of Student Activities and Richmond County Board of Election will sponsor a voter registration drive from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday. The drive will be held in the Jaguar Student Activities Center breezeway.

- Edited from staff reports

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