Across the region

High court upholds murder conviction


COLUMBIA — The South Carolina Supreme Court on Monday upheld the conviction of a man found guilty of smothering his pregnant girlfriend, then using her cell phone to send relatives text messages so they would think she was all right.

The court ruled that a judge didn’t err in allowing testimony about the definition of homicide at Chris­topher Com­mander’s trial.

Commander, 38, was convicted of murder in 2006 and sentenced to life in prison. Prosecutors said he smothered Gervonya Goodwin, then emptied her checking account and used her credit cards and car, creating a ruse that Goodwin had simply taken off on a vacation.

Commander also used Goodwin’s cell phone to send text messages to her relatives to keep them from being suspicious about her absence, sending the final message – “I’m alive” – hours after Goodwin’s mother found her daughter under a blanket on her couch more a month after her November 2004 death.

The appeal challenged the testimony of a pathologist who said at trial that he felt the death was a homicide. Commander’s attorney said that, in his experience, such expert testimony can often end up being a recitation of police opinion.

Deer hunts inside subdivision alleged

KENNESAW, GA. — Police say a Kennesaw man has been charged with hunting deer in a subdivision.

Police say Alton Cain, 29, was arrested after a resident of the Legacy Park subdivision reported finding what appeared to be deer entrails in his back yard.

Investigators say police found two deer stands and an arrow, along with evidence of something being dragged through the woods.

They say they traced the drag marks to a house, where a woman told officers her brother had taken a deer to a taxidermist.

A game warden from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources then contacted Cain, and the DNR charged him with hunting on private property without permission and possession of illegally taken wildlife.