Originally created 01/17/97

Area News Briefs



Jury convicts man in shooting death

A Richmond County Superior Court jury convicted one of three men of murder Thursday, but found all three guilty of armed robbery in connection with the slaying of an Augusta businessman.

The jury convicted Reginald Walker, 21, of College Park, Ga., of felony murder, armed robbery and use of a firearm during the commission of a crime for the Aug. 8 shooting death of 25-year-old Darrell Rouse.

The jury convicted George Hudson, 20, of Union City, Ga., and Thad McClammy, 28, of College Park, of armed robbery, but acquitted the two of murder and weapon charges.

According to trial testimony, the three men came from the Atlanta area to the Professional Detail Shop on Walton Way so Mr. Hudson could confront Mr. Rouse about a debt. Mr. Walker admitted he shot Mr. Rouse but claimed it was in self-defense. The three men took Mr. Rouse's vehicle when they fled the scene of the shooting.

City shuts off free gas for workers

With their paychecks today, Augusta employees will receive notice that there will be no more free gasoline and that if they are found using city gasoline in their private vehicles they will be fired, according to Administrator Randy Oliver.

Mr. Oliver said he learned that a previous city department head has allowed some employees to fill up their private vehicles with gasoline to compensate for not getting raises.

Three instances involved firefighters, Mr. Oliver said, and the number receiving free gasoline "could be as many as 20."

"That's something we're not going to tolerate," he said. The gasoline pumps have been locked.

Auto wreck kills truck driver

A Columbia County man was killed Thursday in an auto wreck in the 4200 block of Washington Road.

The 25-year-old driver, whose name was not released Thursday pending notification of his family, died when he was partially thrown from his pickup truck after the vehicle crossed the center line and hit an oncoming car, police said. He appeared to have lost control of the truck, authorities said.

He was pronounced dead at Columbia Augusta Medical Center, said Maj. Mike Tomberlin of the Columbia County Sheriff's Office.

The other driver, Robert W. Pollard III, 18, was traveling west on Washington Road when the pickup truck crossed the center line and collided with his car. Mr. Pollard and two children traveling with him were uninjured, Deputy David Herrity said.

Two plead guilty in sex cases

Two Aiken County men pleaded guilty to separate rape and theft charges Thursday in General Sessions Court.

Kelvin Bright, 34, received two life sentences without parole for first-degree criminal sexual conduct and armed robbery. He was arrested Nov. 8 and had been out of prison about six months, serving time since age 15 for a prior rape, said 2nd Circuit Assistant Solicitor Pat Corey.

Ms. Corey said he abducted a woman at knife-point, raped her in the back of her car and took her to a crack house in Aiken County.

When he didn't have money to buy drugs, Mr. Bright drove the woman to a bank teller machine and forced her to withdraw cash, the assistant solicitor said.

In a separate case, Gregory Patterson, 37, received two concurrent 30-year prison sentences for first-degree criminal sexual conduct and kidnapping. He also received 10 years' imprisonment, suspended to five years' probation, for first-degree burglary. The probation will be served after he completes the other sentences.

As a violent offender, Mr. Patterson must serve 85 percent of his prison sentence, making him eligible for parole in 25« years.

Mr. Patterson was accused of breaking into a woman's home on Chime Bell Church Road and raping her Feb. 17.

Two men banned from hunting

Two men charged in a 1996 poaching incident involving the shooting of deer at night were fined, banned from hunting for two years and given community service after a negotiated guilty plea in Columbia County Superior Court.

Bruce L. Hadden, 22, of Harlem, and Edward G. Richardson Jr., 22, of Thomson, were fined $1,875 and ordered to perform 100 hours of community service, according to sentencing dispositions filed by Judge William M. Fleming Jr.

The men pleaded guilty to hunting out of season, hunting from a public road and hunting at night with the aid of lights. As part of the plea agreement, additional charges of hunting from a motor vehicle and illegal possession of wildlife were dismissed.

Sierra Club to hear wetlands talk

The Sierra Club will meet at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Unitarian Church on Walton Way Extension. The guest speaker will be Gene Eidson, who will discuss a new process of treating sewage by using artificial wetlands. The public is invited. For more information, call 863-2324.

Graham to speak to constituents

AIKEN - U.S. Rep. Lindsey Graham will hold three town meetings Saturday in Aiken and Edgefield counties.

The second-term Republican, will discuss the future of Savannah River Site in the wake of recent job cuts and also describe the agenda of the 105th Congress, which is expected to include Medicare changes and campaign finance reform.

"Your attendance is invaluable in helping me to understand the needs and concerns of our community," Mr. Graham said in a prepared statement.

People can speak to Mr. Graham at 10:30 a.m. at the Aiken County Council Building, 736 Richland Ave. W. in Aiken; 12:30 p.m. at the Nancy Carson Library, 135 Edgefield Road in North Augusta; and 2:30 p.m. at the Neighborhood Center, 400 Church St. in Edgefield.

Filing opens for council election

Filing opens at noon today for a special election to fill the District 1 seat on the Aiken County Council vacated by Judith Warner.

Ms. Warner resigned from the seat last month after being elected as Aiken County registrar of mesne conveyance in November.

As many as seven people have been mentioned by party insiders as possible candidates, including former councilwomen Kathy Rawls and Faye Hatcher. Both women previously served in District 1.

The special election will take place April 8 with party primaries on March 18.

No beating case likely at fort

FORT BENNING - A drill sergeant accused by two privates of beating and threatening to kill them probably won't face charges because of a lack of evidence, a Fort Benning spokeswoman said.

"An interim report released today by the Criminal Investigation Division indicates there is insufficient evidence to charge their drill sergeant with any misdeeds," Monica Manganaro said Wednesday. She said the CID is continuing its investigation.

The two soldiers had fled to a Forest Park motel last weekend, but since have returned to the west Georgia post.

Pvt. Jason Nathaniel Yates, 20, of Enumclaw, Wash., and Pvt. Joshua Paul Lair, 18, of Orcutt, Calif., called Clayton County police from the motel Saturday. They said they had been beaten by the sergeant earlier that day for chewing tobacco and the sergeant threatened to kill them if they went AWOL.

Both soldiers had bruises and were treated by paramedics at the motel, police reports said.

Patient indicted in slaying

MILLEDGEVILLE - A Central State Hospital resident has been indicted in the November slaying of his roommate.

Richard Hailey, 25, of Macon, was indicted Wednesday during a special presentment before a Baldwin County grand jury.

District Attorney Fred Bright said Mr. Hailey is accused of strangling Ronnie Dudley, 38, also of Macon, with a bed sheet on Nov. 8.

Both were residents of the Freeman Building at the hospital, which houses long-term psychiatric residents.

Father added to Scout lawsuit

ATLANTA - A third person is being sued by the families of three Atlanta Boy Scouts who were swept off a bridge during a rainstorm and drowned.

Jacob Wine, 14, Kevin DuVall, 15, and Gerard Gasque 13, died Jan. 14, 1995, when a flooded creek in the Pisgah National Forest in North Carolina swept them off a suspension foot bridge.

The lawsuit, filed this week in Fulton County Superior Court, names Robert Gartley, a father of a Scout on the trip. The suit contends Mr. Gartley allowed the three boys to leave their cabin and walk, unsupervised, to a general store where they planned to buy candy.

Mr. Gartley did not return telephone calls on Wednesday seeking comment.

In December, the families of the three boys filed lawsuits against the Boy Scouts of America and two adult Scout leaders.

- Compiled by Bill Sanders