Originally created 12/26/96

Area news briefs



Local Briefs

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Augusta man shot four times

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A south Augusta resident was shot four times on a street near his home, and police were trying Wednesday night to find out what provoked the gunshots, investigators said.

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Floyd Haskell, 52, was shot about 4:30 p.m. in the head and the chest, as well as twice in the shoulder with a small-caliber handgun, said Investigator Wayne Bunton of the Richmond County Sheriff's Department. Police said Mr. Haskell lived near the 1400 block of Augusta Avenue, where the shooting happened and where a number of people, including families with children, had gathered to celebrate Christmas.

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Mr. Haskell was in surgery late Wednesday, and no condition was available, said a Medical College of Georgia Hospital spokeswoman.

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Warrants for aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime were issued for Henry Cummings Jr., 53, a Gilbert Manor Apartments resident. Police were searching for Mr. Cummings late Wednesday, Mr. Bunton said.

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Mr. Haskell told investigators before going into surgery he didn't know why he was shot. He said he hadn't been arguing with his assailant.

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Police didn't know of any prior connection between Mr. Haskell and the suspect, Mr. Bunton said.

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Christmas Eve thief takes $2,000 in goods

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A Christmas Eve burglar stuffed his stocking with some high priced items stolen from an Aiken residence on Jesohee Drive, police reported Wednesday.

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The burglar entered the residence sometime between 7 p.m. Tuesday and 4:45 a.m. Christmas Day when the theft was discovered, an Aiken Public Safety Department report stated.

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The stolen items, valued at more than $2,000, were a microwave oven, a cordless phone with an answering machine, a 19-inch color television, three-way speakers, a shotgun and a Remington rifle.

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Police said there was no sign of forced entry. The victim told police a back door wasn't locked.

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Georgia Briefs

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Elderly man faces murder charge

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ALBANY - An elderly man accused of killing another man over a space heater spent Christmas in jail, authorities said.

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Auburn Hodges, 75, is charged with first-degree murder after police said he shot Carl Chatmon Jr. in the forehead.

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Police believe Mr. Chatmon went to Mr. Hodges' house Monday afternoon to borrow the heater, said Lt. James Williams. Mr. Hodges refused and shot Mr. Chatmon with a .32-caliber pistol after the two argued.

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Mr. Chatmon, 21, died three hours later at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital.

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No bond has been set for Mr. Hodges.

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South Carolina Briefs

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Missing man found dead

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GREENVILLE - An ailing 83-year-old man was found dead Christmas morning, the day of his 57th wedding anniversary, after wandering off from his home the night before.

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Sexton Vinson, a retired school teacher suffering from Parkinson's disease, walked away from his Berea area home about 5:30 p.m. Christmas eve.

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Scores of neighbors helped search for him along with local police, bloodhounds and a state helicopter. His body was found about 8:30 a.m. in a culvert.

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Authorities say Mr. Vinson died from hypothermia.Museum restaurant plan dies

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COLUMBIA - The State Museum offers glimpses into South Carolina's history, its geology, even its wildlife. But forget about getting lunch, at least anytime soon.

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The latest plans for a restaurant have fallen through, museum director Tony Ganong said. The company that planned to open an eatery, Deli Cafe of Orlando, Fla., could not raise the money needed, he said.

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Space at the museum, which draws about 175,000 visitors a year, has been set aside for a restaurant since the museum opened eight years ago.

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But additional preparations would cost about $125,000, and another $175,000 would be needed to stock the pantry, get licenses, hire employees and cover other expenses. Mr. Ganong said the search for another food vendor will continue.

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In the meantime, an association connected to the Richland County Public Library will provide coffee and pastries in the space.

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Suspicious death investigated

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LAURENS - A person has been found dead outside a house in northern Laurens County.

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Authorities said no additional information was available Wednesday, though Laurens County Sheriff Jim Moore said Tuesday that the death has been ruled suspicious for the time being.

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Authorities are not sure how the person died. They said they found an electric cord near the body.

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Residents oppose name change

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CHARLESTON - The Folly Beach pier will become the Edwin S. Taylor County Fishing Pier, Charleston County recreation officials have decided over the objections of several hundred beach residents.

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About 250 Folly Beach residents signed petitions opposing the change and the Folly Beach City Council unanimously passed a resolution on Dec. 17 to keep the old name.

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But the county Park and Recreation Commission has the final say, so the pier will be named after Mr. Taylor, a commissioner and former owner of the Atlantic House restaurant, a beach spot destroyed by Hurricane Hugo.

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Mr. Taylor said he was honored by the change, though it wasn't his idea. He wouldn't comment on opposition.

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Mr. Taylor played important roles in building the pier, the beach bike path and a new boat landing, said former commissioner Robbie Freeman.

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Folly Beach Mayor Bob Linville said the name change won't make a big difference.

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"I doubt seriously if anyone will say, `I'm going to the Edwin S. Taylor County Fishing Pier,"' he said.

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The commission has created a committee to study how recreation facilities are named.

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- Compiled by Mike Wynn