Across the area

Augusta man charged with murder

An Augusta man was being held at the Richmond County jail late Thursday on a charge of murder.

Shawn Perdue, 27, of the 3500 block of Gardenbrook Drive, was arrested at 5:33 p.m. Thursday, according to jail records.

No other information was immediately available on the case late Thursday.

Police arrest stepdad in shooting incident


Authorities arrested a Bath man accused of shooting his stepson during an argument, the Aiken County Sheriff's Office said Thursday.

Charles H. Turner, 66, of the 200 block of Key Family Road in Bath, was arrested Wednesday night and charged with assault and battery with intent to kill, sheriff's Lt. Michael Frank said in a news release. Lt. Frank identified the victim as William C. Smith, 25, of 222 Key Family Road.

About 11:30 p.m., the men got into an argument because Mr. Smith wanted his stepfather to drive him somewhere to purchase drugs, Lt. Frank said. Mr. Turner reportedly refused and ordered Mr. Smith to leave the home.

When the stepson refused, Mr. Turner got a handgun and fired, authorities said, striking Mr. Smith in the chest and arm.

Aiken County Emergency Medical Services took Mr. Smith to the Medical College of Georgia Hospital, Lt. Frank said. A hospital spokeswoman said Thursday she was not authorized to provide any information on Mr. Smith.

Mr. Turner was being held Thursday at the Aiken County Detention Center.

Vehicle linked to hit-and-run is found

A vehicle believed to be involved in two hit-and-run accidents in North Augusta, one of which was fatal, was found Thursday afternoon, and authorities said they were investigating a suspect in the case.

Aiken County Coroner Tim Carlton said the dark green, newer-model Ford Expedition had been found with damage to the front end, but he wouldn't say where the vehicle was found. A spokesman for the South Carolina Highway Patrol, which is investigating the case, confirmed the information.

At about 1 a.m., authorities say, a vehicle traveling on Storm Branch Road struck a motorcycle driven by Michael Yont, 48.

The driver fled, then struck a second motorcycle driven by James Cohrs, 56, who was pronounced dead at the scene of severe head trauma, Mr. Carlton said.

Mr. Yont was taken to Medical College of Georgia Hospital and later released.

Firing is upheld over handling of PTA funds

The Richmond County Board of Education upheld the firing Thursday of a paraprofessional accused of misappropriating PTA funds.

On May 7, DeRaina Sanders was fired from her position at Bayvale Elementary School. At Thursday's termination hearing, however, she defended her actions, admitting she forged signatures and made purchases without the consent of the PTA, including buying food and a hotel room for a Bayvale parent, who fled North Carolina as a battered woman.

Superintendent Dana Bedden and Sgt. Ike Williams, an internal affairs investigator, presented evidence showing five checks were forged for a total of $976.83, along with checks Ms. Sanders wrote to herself, including for $425. One of the signatures in question was misspelled on a forged check.

C.T. Walker named 'No Excuses' school

C.T. Walker Traditional Magnet School is the only area school among 35 statewide to be named Thursday as a "No Excuses" school by the Georgia Public Policy Foundation.

The selection of No Excuses schools is based on the foundation's 2008 Report Card for Parents, released Wednesday and available at

A No Excuses school has a poverty rate above the state average of 50 percent, meets adequate yearly progress as defined by No Child Left Behind and has a Poverty Indicator of 2 or above on the foundation's report card. Walker, which has a 62 percent poverty rate among test-takers, ranked No. 3 overall among schools in the 2008 Report Card for Parents, with an academic achievement score of 100 percent.

10th District GOP hopefuls to debate

A debate between the two Republican candidates vying for the 10th Congressional District will be held June 21 in Evans.

Sponsored by the Columbia County Republican Party, the debate features incumbent U.S. Rep. Paul Broun, R-Athens, and his challenger, state Rep. Barry Fleming, R-Harlem.

The debate begins at 5 p.m. at the Jabez Sanford Hardin Performing Arts Center in the Columbia County Library, 7022 Evans Town Center Blvd.

For information, contact Debbie McCord, the chairwoman of the Columbia County Republican Party, at or (706) 833-4731.

-- From staff reports