Across the area

Teen moved to adult detention center


A North Augusta teen charged in connection with a November murder was transferred from the Department of Juvenile Justice in Columbia to the Aiken County Detention Center, according to detention center officers.

David Lee Johnson, 16, of Seaborn Drive, was charged as an adult with being an accessory after the fact in the murder case of Paul Lirley.

Lirley was shot during a drug deal in North Augusta on Nov. 23, according to incident reports. Robert Lee Smith, 19, and Vincent Marlous Manning, 33, both of North Augusta, were charged with murder. According to the warrant, Johnson was to dispose of the .380 caliber pistol, given to him by Smith or Manning.

Johnson was moved this week, according to officers. He turned 17 on March 11, the age Juvenile Justice can release suspects to adult facilities.

Man pleads guilty in cockfighting operation

An Aiken man was one of seven who pleaded guilty Friday to being a part of a cockfighting operation out of Swansea, according to a release from acting U.S. Attorney Kevin McDonald.

Johnny Junior Harrison, 35, was one of 23 indicted in the fall on animal-fighting charges, according to the release.

The derbies were broken up after a 13-month state and federal investigation. Officers attended eight cockfighting derbies near Swansea and Oceida, in Williamsburg County.

The seven who pleaded guilty Friday each face five years in prison and a fine of $250,000. They will be sentenced later this year. Another 11 defendants will be tried April 29, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Man killed when he is ejected from vehicle

An Aiken man died in an early-morning accident Friday on Peach Orchard Road.

Kenneth Lamberth, 53, of Cherry Hill Drive, was pronounced dead at the Medical College of Georgia Hospital, according to Richmond County sheriff's Maj. Richard Weaver. Lamberth was traveling south on Peach Orchard Road near Tobacco Road about 12:30 a.m. when for no apparent reason his vehicle slammed into the median, Weaver said.

The collision sent his Mitsubishi Eclipse careening across the roadway, where it flipped several times and hit a mailbox and electrical pole, ejecting him.

"There was nothing to show alcohol was involved," Weaver said. "It looks like speed may have been one of the contributing factors."

Teen gets 20 years for voluntary manslaughter

An Augusta teen has pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and other charges in connection with a 2008 home invasion and murder in Grovetown.

On Thursday, Superior Court Judge James G. Blanchard Jr. sentenced Garland Ray Pittman, 16, to 20 years in prison on the voluntary manslaughter charge. Pittman also received an additional 10 years in prison for robbery and two five-year probation terms for two counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime.

Pittman was the last of five men to stand trial in the September 2008 fatal shooting of Rickey Gibson, 33, and assault of his girlfriend and infant son.

Police say the men broke into Gibson's home and held the family at gunpoint. Before fatally shooting Gibson, the men put a gun in the baby's mouth and shot at his girlfriend, authorities said.

Police identify third burglary suspect

Police have identified an Appling man as the third burglary suspect who ran from police Thursday after a brief car chase ended off Hardy McManus Road in Evans.

The man, known as "Bear," was identified as Terrance Demetrice Parks, 22, according to Columbia County sheriff's Capt. Steve Morris.

He was not arrested Friday, Morris said.

Health officials test 20 for tuberculosis

The East Central Health District in Augusta is conducting checks for tuberculosis among some residents of Richmond Summit after a 74-year-old former resident was diagnosed with the disease earlier this year.

About 20 residents are getting skin tests or, in some cases, precautionary lung X-rays to check to see whether they are infected, said Alicia Wright, the tuberculosis coordinator for the health district. So far, all of the skin tests have been negative but the investigation is ongoing, she said.

The man, who has multiple medical problems, was hospitalized earlier this year when he tested positive. He is still under treatment but has since been moved to a nursing home, Wright said.

This kind of contact investigation is "fairly routine," she said. For instance, the district office conducted four investigations in March, though months could go by without one, Wright said.

Congressman reports campaign fundraising

U.S. Rep. Paul Broun, whose 10th Congressional District includes Columbia County and part of Richmond County, has banked $150,000 in his race for re-election.

In a campaign finance disclosure filed this week with the Federal Election Commission, Broun, R-Athens, reported raising $192,172 in the first quarter of this year. He has raised nearly $1.3 million since the last election in 2008 but is spending it almost as fast as it comes in, leaving him with $153,884 cash on hand. He has $185,914 in debt from past campaigns.

Democrat Russell Edwards did not file. He announced his candidacy April 7, and the cutoff date for the reporting period was March 31.

Traffic Update

-- A lane of Hereford Farm Road near Saddle Creek subdivision and the Waterford Drive entrance to that neighborhood will be closed from Monday until April 30 between 8:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. daily while crews install a new water main. Access to Saddle Creek during those hours will be through the Winslow subdivision entrance on Gibbs Road at Hebbard Way.

-- Starting Tuesday, a segment of Camilla Avenue in Martinez will be closed for the installation of sewer lines. It is scheduled to reopen Friday afternoon. During the closure, traffic will be diverted onto Davis Road, Oak Drive and Rose Street.