Across the area

Child, 4, chokes on metal screw


A 4-year-old Aiken girl died Monday night after choking on a metal screw while playing in her bedroom.

Macy Lane Steele was playing alone in her bedroom when she ingested the metal object, said Aiken County Coroner Tim Carlton.

She ran into the family area of her home, and her parents tried to dislodge the screw.

Aiken County Emergency Medical Services transported her to Aiken Regional Medical Centers, where she later died.

Best of Augusta party at Fort Discovery today

Augusta Magazine's annual Best of Augusta party takes place at 6 p.m. today at the National Science Center's Fort Discovery, 1 Seventh St.

The event, which benefits Fort Discovery, features winners of the magazine's poll and includes food and entertainment. Tickets are $12 in advance, $17 at the door.

Jones bows out of race, citing 'personal issues'

The race to replace Betty Beard on the Augusta Commission got a little less crowded Wednesday.

District 1 candidate Anthony Jones filed a notarized affidavit withdrawing from the race, citing "personal issues."

Richmond County Board of Elections Executive Director Lynn Bailey said it's too late to remove his name from paper and electronic ballots, but notices will be put in mail-out ballots and posted at polling sites informing voters that Mr. Jones bowed out and any votes cast for him won't be counted.

Candidates open floor to voters

District 1 voters can hear from the candidates vying to replace Commissioner Betty Beard tonight and Friday night in Harrisburg.

The first forum, put on by the Harrisburg-West End Neighborhood Association, will be held at 6 tonight at the Kroc Center Headquarters building at Broad Street and Crawford Avenue.

Bible Deliverance Temple will play host to another forum at 7 p.m. Friday at the Harrisburg Family Life Center at Eve and Fenwick streets. Free hot dogs will be served.

Attendees may pose questions at both forums. The candidates running are Matt Aitken, Bill Fennoy, JoRae Jenkins and Butch Palmer.

Store reports armed robbery

Police were looking Wednesday night for a man who they say robbed an Augusta business at gunpoint.

According to a Richmond County dispatcher, an armed robbery occurred at 9 p.m. at the Augusta Market, 2117 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. The dispatcher said the male suspect escaped on foot and was last seen on 11th Avenue.

No one was injured. The suspect was described as black, standing between 6 feet and 6-foot-3, weighing about 150 pounds, and wearing all black.

Repeat sex offender fails to register here

Richmond County authorities are looking for a convicted sex offender.

Albert Leonard Floyd, 48, failed to register with the Richmond County Sheriff's Office as required by law, according to a department release. Mr. Floyd notified Michigan State Police that he was moving to Augusta but investigators with Richmond County's sex offender unit did not find him at the address he listed.

Investigators are asking the public to notify the sheriff's office of his whereabouts.

Mr. Floyd was convicted of taking indecent liberties with children in North Carolina in 1997 and accosting children for immoral purposes in Michigan in 2003.

Woman admits paying to kill for insurance

An Aiken County woman pleaded guilty Tuesday to paying a man to kill her estranged husband and his son.

According to an indictment filed in federal court, Judy W. Dickson, 42, of Salley, paid her boyfriend to burn the Shallotte, N.C., home of Raymond Dickson, and his son, Ryan Dickson, as they slept, U.S. Attorney's Office spokesman Kevin McDonald stated in an e-mail.

U.S. District Judge Margaret B. Seymour accepted the plea late Tuesday, one day before jury selection was scheduled. FBI agents said Mrs. Dickson was concerned about her divorce settlement, and wanted to benefit from her husband's life insurance policy.

The boyfriend alerted Mr. Dickson and the FBI. Wire taps recorded Mrs. Dickson discussing setting the crawl space of Mr. Dickson's home ablaze with pine straw and gasoline.

She remains in prison while awaiting sentencing, and could face up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Brown Road burglary results in four arrests

Four people were arrested Tuesday in connection with a burglary in the 1400 block of Brown Road last week.

According to Richmond County jail records, Quincy Roberson Jr., 54, of the 4400 block of Farmers Bridge Road; Sabrina Rogers, 31, of the 4700 block of Windsor Spring Road; Barry Louis Campbell, 43, of the 4500 block of Brothersville Road; and Sandra Mae Studer, 39, of the 2100 block of Hephzibah-McBean Road, were charged with felony burglary. According to a sheriff's report, the break-in happened Sept. 28 or 29. Items valued at about $4,350 were taken.

North Augusta man reports carjacking

A North Augusta man told police he was the victim of a carjacking early Wednesday at the Kroger on 15th Street in Augusta.

According to a Richmond County sheriff's report, the man said that at about 2:30 a.m. he was standing by his car in the parking lot with the keys in the ignition. The victim said an unknown man approached him and threw him to the ground, kicked him in the stomach and drove off with his car south on 15th Street.

The suspect was described as a black male between 20 and 30 years old, about 6 feet tall, weighing about 180 pounds and wearing a white T-shirt and blue jeans. The stolen car is described as a green, four-door 1996 Honda Accord with South Carolina license plate ACL 294.