Across the area

Teen gets life term in man's shooting death


A young man convicted of murdering a budding artist was sentenced Thursday to life in prison plus five years.

DeAndre M. Holmes, 19, was convicted in the March 7, 2007, death of Corey D. Joseph.

Mr. Joseph reportedly offered Mr. Holmes and a friend a ride. Mr. Holmes was sitting in the back seat of Mr. Joseph's car when he shot Mr. Joseph in the head. The car crashed into a fence along North Kensington Drive in south Augusta.

Man gets 20 years for 29 burglaries

An Augusta man who was on probation when he was charged with 29 burglaries was sentenced Thursday to 20 years in prison.

Richard S. Strickland, 23, pleaded guilty in Richmond County Superior Court. Judge Carl C. Brown Jr. also imposed an additional 20 years' probation to be served when Mr. Strickland completes the prison term.

Mr. Strickland and five others were arrested in February in a series of burglaries in south and west Augusta that took place between September 2007 and February. Assistant District Attorney Adam King said the homeowners are due $330,000 in restitution.

Mr. Strickland was identified as the burglar through DNA at two crime scenes, fingerprints at another and the trace of a vehicle seen leaving one of the burglarized homes, Mr. King said. Mr. Strickland also vandalized the homes, Mr. King said.

Judge sentences child molester to 12 years

An Augusta man convicted of aggravated child molestation was sentenced Thursday to serve 12 years in prison.

A Richmond County Superior Court jury convicted Juan Ramos, 40, in August. Judge Carl C. Brown Jr. sentenced him to the prison term, which will be followed by another eight years' probation. Mr. Ramos was accused of sexually assaulting a girl for seven years.

McCormick man dies in early morning wreck

A 24-year-old McCormick man died in a one-vehicle wreck early Thursday on a county road.

The man was identified as Jason Storey, said McCormick County Coroner Faye Puckett. The wreck occurred about 1:30 a.m. on New Hope Road.

Children removed from mother's care

An Augusta mother was arrested Wednesday after deputies say they found her extremely intoxicated while caring for her toddler-age children.

Janice Fay Reese, 43, of the 3000 block of Story Drive, faces two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, according to a Richmond County Sheriff's Office report. When deputies arrived at the home, Ms. Reese was drunk and had "trouble standing and speaking," the report states. There were about 30 empty beer cans on the floor and a 3-year-old child was attempting to drink from one of the opened alcoholic beverages, according to the report.

The Division of Family and Children Services was called and the children were turned over to their father.

Second arrest made in burglary investigation

A second suspect was arrested Thursday after a string of burglaries in two Augusta neighborhoods.

Jacquez Norman, 17, of the 3500 block of Hilltop Drive, is charged with five counts of burglary, according to Richmond County sheriff's Lt. Tony Walden.

Sheriff's investigators have been looking into 14 burglaries in the Pepperidge and Cambridge subdivisions since the beginning of September.

Cyrus Dion Mincey, 17, of the 3600 block of Breman Street, was arrested on burglary charges Wednesday.

23-year-old is killed during home invasion

A 23-year-old Augusta man was shot and killed during a home invasion early Thursday.

Jezreel Hammond, 23, of the 2800 block of Royal Street, was shot multiple times when several people entered his home, according to Richmond County sheriff's Investigator Sean Cochran. Authorities say one of the people who entered the home demanded drugs and money. The victim lived with his grandmother, who was at home during the shooting, Investigator Cochran said. Anyone with information can call (706) 821-1080.

Columbia County OKs Publix shopping center

The Columbia County Planning Commission unanimously approved a preliminary plat Thursday night for a Publix shopping center planned for the Riverwood Plantation entrance.

The grocery store will be on a 15-acre lot at the corner of Washington Road and William Few Parkway. The proposal includes the grocery store, and five other lots, which will be subdivided.

A 25-foot natural buffer will be limited to the Washington Road side of the development.

Teachers will receive stipends a month late

Late paperwork will mean some Richmond County educators will be getting their monthly stipend a month late.

Teachers receive a stipend for taking on extra duties, such as serving as a department chair within a school, said Anita Faglier, the director of finance and accounting.

"It's going to be paid," Mrs. Faglier said. "It's just not going to be paid in October."

-- From staff reports