Across the area

Judge denies bond for 7 slaying suspects


Seven of eight men charged in the Christmas Eve shotgun slaying of 20-year-old Jeremy Leaphart were denied bond Thursday.

Judge Clifton Newman refused to set bail for the men, who are charged with either accessory after the fact, murder or kidnapping. The eighth defendant, 16-year-old John Oakman Jr., did not appear in court.

Denied bond were: Johnnie Walker, 28; Sheldon Oakman, 20; Ronnie C. Bowers Jr., 18; Frankie L. Gantt, 17, who authorities say was the shooter; Marion F. Abner Jr., 19; Andre A. Norris, 26; and Darrell L. Williams, 24.

Authorities say they believe Mr. Leaphart, of Batesburg, was killed after he could not produce guns he was asked to keep. Some of the men are accused of driving Mr. Leaphart to the location he was killed at and then helping hide his body.

Judge sets bond for accused molester

A judge set a $105,000 bond Thursday for a church youth pastor accused of child molestation.

Falcon U. Davis, 37, of North Augusta, was arrested last month by Richmond County sheriff's investigators on three counts of child molestation after an accusation that he had sexual contact with a 14-year-old.

After hearing from both sides with opposing ideas about bond, Judge Carl C. Brown Jr. agreed to set bond for Mr. Davis.

If he posts bond and is released, Mr. Davis must be on electronic monitoring. Judge Brown's order also prohibits Mr. Davis from having contact with any child connected to Bible Way Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ Apostolic in east Augusta.

Police seek suspects in store burglary

Authorities are searching for suspects in a case in which cell phones, lottery tickets and thousands of dollars were reportedly stolen from an Augusta convenience store Thursday morning.

Police say someone broke into The Corner Store on the 500 block of Eve Street, according to a sheriff's office report. Two cash registers were damaged and $6,000 was stolen from the store, according to the report. The incident was caught on tape.

One person is injured in fiery car crash

One person suffered potentially serious injuries in a North Augusta car wreck Thursday night, an Aiken County dispatcher said.

The wreck occurred on Sudlow Lake Road near Center Street, the dispatcher said, adding that the car was set ablaze in the crash.

South Carolina Patrol Cpl. R.D. Swink said a trooper was heading to the scene to investigate about 11:10 p.m. Thursday, but there was no other information available at the time.

Fort Gordon soldiers gather to pray for nation, comrades

Fort Gordon soldiers gathered in the Gordon Club on Thursday morning to pray for their comrades serving overseas.

Citing Iran, Pakistan and the recent mortgage problems facing America, Chaplain Col. Alvin M. Moore, the guest speaker at the National Prayer Breakfast, assured those gathered that God did not sow a "spirit of fear but of love, power and a sound mind."

Those attending shared prayers for the nation, armed forces and their community.

-- From staff reports