Across the area

Woman gets sentence reduced to probation


An Augusta woman sentenced to serve prison time for stealing $51,000 from her employer was granted a new sentence Wednesday.

In Richmond County Superior Court, where Chantele L. Battle was originally sentenced last month, Judge J. Carlisle Overstreet changed Ms. Battle's five-year prison sentence to 10 years probation. Her attorney told the judge he had $25,000 for restitution, said Assistant District Attorney Philip Catalano, who opposed the sentencing remold.

The owner of Mr. Payroll, where Ms. Battle worked, also opposed the remold, the prosecutor said. Ms. Battle walked out of the office with the cash in a bag on July 12.

Neighborhood burglar gets 15 years in prison

An Augusta man with a history of breaking into neighbors' homes pleaded guilty to another burglary Wednesday.

This time it was just too much, victim Merrill Wilkie said. His daughter was home alone on Dec. 11 when David W. Blount broke out a window and stole a bra.

The prosecuting and defense attorneys negotiated a sentencing recommendation of 15 years in prison. Judge J. Carlisle Overstreet imposed the sentence. Mr. Blount, 50, pleaded guilty in Richmond County Superior Court. According to the Department of Corrections' Web site, he has burglary convictions dating back to the early 1980s.

Man heads to federal court in ID theft case

A former Augusta businessman accused of identify theft will be returning to face the charges in federal court.

An indictment was issued against Sabra Harrison Johnson about two years ago.

He was recently arrested in Houston, where he lives. At a Wednesday hearing, a magistrate judge set a $100,000 bond for Mr. Johnson with electronic monitoring a condition of bond, U.S. Attorney Edmund Booth Jr. said.

According to the indictment, Mr. Johnson operated Tour of Hope Inc. in Grovetown. He is accused of stealing the identities of people who applied for jobs between January 2003 and January 2005.

Facilities manager reports for duty

The Augusta-Richmond County Coliseum Authority's facilities manager Julie Huggins was at work Wednesday, despite warnings that if she showed up the authority would fire her at Tuesday's meeting.

The board hired Ms. Huggins three weeks ago contingent on satisfactory background checks from her previous employer, the Morocco Shrine Auditorium in Jacksonville, Fla. Ms. Huggins stated on her rÃsumà that she was the nonfraternal director of operations at the auditorium, but the business manager said she was rental manager.

Agency investigates Brynwood Pharmacy

Brynwood Pharmacy, which closed Tuesday, was shut down by the Drug Enforcement Administration, a DEA spokesman confirmed Wednesday.

The diversion department of the DEA is investigating the pharmacy located in the 3500 block of Walton Way Extension, said DEA Special Agent Chuvalo Truesdale.

Federal agents and Richmond County sheriff's deputies performed an inventory of medications at the pharmacy Tuesday.

The owner, Mae Woo Wong, surrendered her license Tuesday, so refills and prescriptions can no longer be administered from the pharmacy, Special Agent Truesdale said.

No public disciplinary action has been taken against the pharmacists at Brynwood, said Georgia State Board of Pharmacy spokesman Matthew Carrothers.

Until the investigation is complete, details will not be released, Special Agent Truesdale said.

School official takes post in Saluda County

David Mathis, the associate superintendent of the Aiken County schools, will move to Saluda County schools in July.

Dr. Mathis was named superintendent of the small school district on Tuesday. He will succeed Dr. Hydrick Stone, who is to retire after six years with the district.

Dr. Mathis applied for the superintendent positions in Aiken and Edgefield counties last year. He has spent most of his career working for more than 20 years in the Edgefield School District and the past two years in Aiken County.

Area Three pupils to make up missed day

Area Three schools in Aiken County will make up Monday's school day, which was canceled because of the weekend tornadoes, on March 28.

Included are Byrd, Clearwater, Gloverville, Jefferson and Warrenville elementary schools; Langley-Clearwater-Bath and Leavelle-McCampbell middle schools; and Midland Valley High School.

March 28 will be an in-service day for other schools in the district. For more information, call (803) 641-2639.

-- From staff and wire reports