Across South Carolina

2 graduates of SC schools aboard space shuttle


CHARLESTON, S.C. - Two of the six astronauts riding in the space shuttle toward the international space station graduated from South Carolina schools.

The shuttle Atlantis lifted off from Cape Canaveral on Monday. The crew includes U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Randy Bresnik, who graduated from The Citadel 20 years ago, and Dr. Robert Satcher Jr., a 1982 graduate of Denmark-Olar High school. It's a first space flight for both.

The 42-year-old Bresnik took a replica of The Citadel's spirit flag, "Big Red," into space with him. The flag has South Carolina's crescent and palmetto tree on a red field.

The 44-year-old Satcher is the first orthopedic surgeon in space.

Atlantis will reach the space station Wednesday.

The 11-day flight will include three spacewalks.

SC woman facing prison for sex with 13-year-old

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. - A 42-year-old South Carolina woman has been sentenced to five years in prison for sexually assaulting a 13-year-old boy she was baby-sitting.

The Island Packet of Hilton Head reports Susan Tappeiner of Bluffton was sentenced Monday.

Her 10-year sentence was suspended to a five-year term, plus three years of probation. Prosecutors had asked for 20 years.

Tappeiner was charged in February after the teen told a police officer at his school that he'd been forced to have sex.

He said it occurred in her home in August 2008, as she baby-sat him and his sisters. The now-15-year-old boy testified in the trial that began Oct. 27.

SC authorities ask for help identifying body

ROCK HILL, S.C. - Authorities are investigating the murder of an unidentified woman whose burned body was found at a South Carolina park.

The Herald of Rock Hill reports Monday that a woman on horseback spotted the body along a dirt road Sunday in Kings Mountain State Park.

Authorities are asking the public for help in identifying the woman. She's believed to be between 13 and 20 years old, about 5-feet-5 and 115 pounds. She had a band tattoo on her upper right arm.

She represents the second female body found in York County in the past month. The body of 17-year-old Heather Catterton was found Oct. 29 near Clover. Her death remains under investigation.

Kings Mountain spans nearly 7,000 acres in York and Cherokee counties near the North Carolina border.

SC death row inmate found guilty a second time

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. - A 42-year-old man already on South Carolina's death row has been found guilty of killing a 74-year-old man in a separate shooting.

The Sun News of Myrtle Beach reports a jury found Stephen Stanko guilty Monday of murder and armed robbery in the April 8, 2005, shooting death of Henry Turner. The elderly man was found dead in his home.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Stanko. He is already on death row for killing his live-in girlfriend, Laura Ling, in 2005, and sexually abusing a teen girl the same day.

Prosecutors said he then went to Turner's home and shot him twice, once in the back through a pillow.

Stanko was found guilty in August 2006 in Ling's death and the teen's assault. He is appealing that death sentence.

NC research firm to bring 120 jobs to SC

COLUMBIA, S.C. - A research firm that develops advanced textiles for the automotive, aeronautics and defense industries says it will open a new facility in South Carolina, creating 120 new jobs.

The state Department of Commerce announced Monday that Fletcher, N.C.-based Materials Innovation Technologies will bring a new facility to Florence County. The company specializes in processes for reclaiming and molding carbon fibers - a strong, light and flexible material.

Gov. Mark Sanford says the announcement speaks to the state's progress on attracting high-quality companies.

Materials Innovation Technologies plans to do most of its hiring in February.

SC man goes on trial in killing of pawn shop owner

PICKENS, S.C. - An eight-woman, four-man jury has been chosen for a South Carolina man who fled to Canada after being accused of killing an Easley pawn shop owner in 2006.

The Greenville News reported that the trial of 24-year-old Roger Eugene Shephard of Williamston was starting Monday in Pickens.

Shephard also is charged with armed robbery in the shooting death of 65-year-old John Bruin at the Action Pawn shop.

Shephard was arrested in Montreal, Canada, three days after Bruin was shot to death. Shephard sought refuge in Canada for two years and was returned to the U.S. in June 2008.

Prosecutor Bob Ariail assured the Canadian government he would not seek a death sentence if Shephard was convicted. Canada doesn't extradite people facing death sentences.

5-year-old SC boy dies in ATV crash

GREENWOOD, S.C. - A 5-year-old boy has been killed after falling off an all-terrain vehicle in western South Carolina.

Multiple media outlets reported that an autopsy for Samuel Quarles of Greenwood was planned Monday. He died from injuries in the Sunday crash.

Authorities say Quarles was driving his small four-wheeler when he fell off and into a ditch. He was taken to a hospital were he was pronounced dead.

Officials say the child was wearing a helmet.

SC girl, toddler killed in weekend car crash

FLORENCE, S.C. - A 10-year-old girl and 3-year-old boy have died in a weekend car crash in eastern South Carolina.

The Morning News of Florence reported that Tamaya Burgess and Tamel Watson died after the crash around 2:10 p.m. Saturday. Their mother, Tami Ivonne Turner of Kingstree, was treated and released from a local hospital.

Authorities say Turner lost control of her car and it ran off a road and overturned in a field. The girl was thrown about 25 feet from the car and died at the scene. The little boy was taken died in a hospital Sunday morning.

The Highway Patrol is investigating.

Officials probe SC school stadium wall collapse

SPARTANBURG, S.C. - Officials are trying to determine what caused a South Carolina stadium wall to collapse during a high school football game, sending at least 11 students to the hospital with minor injuries.

Multiple media outlets reported that the wall fell at the Union County High School stadium Friday night, sending fans falling onto the field. Several people were treated at the stadium and released.

The Herald-Journal of Spartanburg reports that an engineer, masonry inspector and school officials met over the weekend to survey the wall. Principal Joe Walker said 11 students were taken to a hospital and a couple more went to emergency rooms after talking with parents, but the most severe injury was a fractured collarbone.

The stadium was built in 1960.