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State again No. 1 in domestic violence

COLUMBIA — South Caro­lina again ranks worst in the nation for violence against women.

A report released Wednes­­day by the Violence Policy Center puts South Carolina at the top of the list for women killed by men. The state’s rate of 2.54 women killed per 100,000 people in 2011 is more than twice the national average.

The rate represents 61 known deaths.

South Carolina has ranked in the report’s top 10 every year for the past 15 years. The state ranked second last year. It’s the third time the state has held the top spot.

The study uses the latest data available from the FBI for crimes involving one male killing one female.

Teacher sentenced in child porn case

COLUMBIA — An award-winning composer and former fine arts instructor at a private school in Charleston has been sentenced to 15 years in prison on child pornography charges.

Fernando Rivas, 61, was sentenced Tuesday in federal court in Charleston. He pleaded guilty in December to making child porn and using a computer to send the images across state lines.

Agents searched Rivas’ Ladson home in 2011 after a tip and found thousands of pictures of child pornography. Rivas also admitted he took nude pictures and videos of a 4-year-old child.

Rivas wrote music for TV, radio, film and theater, and won Emmys in 1995 and 1996 for his work on Sesame Street. He worked as a jazz music instructor at Porter-Gaud from 2002 until 2009.

Man charged after crash with trooper

SANDY RUN, S.C. — Lex­ing­ton County deputies say a man drove for 5 miles with all of his SUV’s air bags inflated after slamming into the back of a state trooper’s car on Interstate 26.

Investigators said Bryan Biggart, 39, was driving up to 100 mph at times as he headed east on I-26 south of Columbia when he hit the cruiser around 2:15 a.m. Wednesday. Deputies say he didn’t stop and drove his SUV to a rest area in Calhoun County.

Authorities say Biggart called his mother after the wreck and told her he didn’t want to go back to jail. He went into the woods behind the rest area but was arrested about six hours later.

The trooper was not seriously injured.

Ex-lawmaker faces charge in bar brawl

ABBEVILLE, S.C. — A former state representative from Abbeville has been charged after authorities say a fight at a bar ended in a stabbing early Saturday.

James “Bob” Shirley, 61, was charged with third-degree assault and battery.

Investigators say Shirley and another man lost money while playing pool around 4:15 a.m. Saturday. Deputies say when the winner walked outside, he found Shirley urinating on his car. When the man told Shirley to stop, he was punched. Investigators say the fight led to a brawl, and the victim’s girlfriend was stabbed by Shirley’s friend.

Shirley served one term in the South Carolina House starting in 1990.

In other news

SOUTH CAROLINA officials on Wednesday issued an emergency regulation that would prevent landfills or farmers from using sludge that contains any level of polychlorinated biphenyls, man-made organic chemicals banned in 1979. Offi­­cials said the chemicals are being illegally dumped and are ending up in sewer treatment plants.


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