Originally created 01/30/97

Metro and region briefs



Two women robbed in Hill area

Police are trying to figure out who has been breaking into homes in the Hill area and terrorizing and burglarizing women.

There were at least two reports of the home invasions Monday and Tuesday.

On Monday, a 75-year-old woman said she was in her home in the 800 block of Hickman Road at about 11 p.m. when a man broke in a side window, entered her living room and demanded money and her car keys. She gave him $50 and her keys. He tied her hands and feet with a bed sheet and left, police said.

The second incident happened about 2:30 a.m. Monday. A 76-year-old woman said she was in her home in the 2000 block of Gardner Street when a man broke a bathroom window, went into her bedroom and demanded money and her car keys. She told him she didn't have the keys and gave him $40. He forced her face down on the bed, tied her hands and feet with bed sheets and tore the phone out of the wall before leaving, police said.

Both women described the burglar as a black man about 5 feet 7 inches to 5 feet 8 inches tall.

High school recognized for scores

AIKEN - South Aiken High School is one of the five high schools in the state with the best standardized test scores.

The high school was included in a list released Wednesday by the South Carolina Education Information Network, a conservative citizens research group.

Frank Roberson, superintendent of instructional services for the Aiken County school district, said the high school has consistently scored high on all standardized tests given to students in past years.

"We're delighted," he said. "The key thing there is a very keen awareness among school staff in terms of knowing what standards are assessed on those tests."

Task force to study uses for Telfair Inn

The United Way of the CSRA has established a 12-member task force to study future uses for the Telfair Inn, which was donated to the charity on Jan. 9 by the Knox family.

The property may be used as a community center complex for local health and human services organizations and other charities, United Way Chairman Don Johnson said in a written statement.

Ed Gillespie, retired president of University Hospital, and Susan Rice, former executive director of Greater Augusta Arts Council, will serve as co-chairmen of the Blue Ribbon Task Force.

Other task force members are Bryan Batson, Tice Brashear, Hugh Connolly, Edie Lane Crook, William Kuhlke, Kevin Mack, Charles May, Spyro Meimarides, Rick Toole and Charles Walker.

The task force evaluation is expected to last three to six months, but the group will issue a status report to the community in mid-March.

Teens arrested on murder charge

Two teen-agers were arrested Wednesday evening and charged with killing a man Monday, police said.

Boise Eugene Hankerson Jr., 18, and Damond Hankerson, 17, of the 1600 block of Garlington Avenue, were arrested without incident about 6:30 p.m. They were picked up at the intersection of Garlington and Morgan streets when police saw them in a vehicle, police said. They were charged with murder and weapons offenses, police said.

The two were being held without bond at the Richmond County jail late Wednesday, jail officials said.

They are accused of shooting Donald Grace, 20, about 3 a.m. Monday in the 1600 block of Douglas Street, police said.

Mr. Grace, of the 1700 block of Douglas Street, and another man had walked away from a crowd when two youths ran down the street and fired bullets hitting him in his head and leg, police said.

Police said the shooting appeared to be drug-related.

Driver flees scene of wreck

Georgia State Police are looking for a driver who caused a head-on wreck in Burke County on Tuesday that killed one person.

The wreck happened about 8:30 p.m. on Hephzibah Keysville Road, four miles north of Keysville, police said.

A Ford van crossed the median and hit a Pontiac Bonneville, police said. The driver of the van fled the scene, police said.

Otis Frederick Jordan, 26, of Wrens, Ga., died of injuries suffered in the accident, police said.

Police would not release more information on the driver of the van.

Fatal wreck under investigation

AIKEN - The South Carolina Highway Patrol is investigating a head-on collision that killed an Aiken woman Tuesday night.

Sharon L. Bush, 39, of 1016 Adam Ave., was killed when the car she was driving was struck around 11:20 p.m. on S.C. Highway 19 South, three miles south of Aiken.

Cpl. Jones Gamble, spokesman for the Highway Patrol in District 1, said James Anderson, 18, of 205 Sycamore St. in New Ellenton, crossed the center line and struck Ms. Bush's car.

Mr. Anderson and a passenger in his car, Carla Brown, were pulled from their car by passers-by before the car burned, Cpl. Gamble said. Ms. Bush later died at Aiken Regional Medical Centers.

Mr. Anderson and Ms. Brown, 19, of 126 Angela Drive in Jackson, also were taken to Aiken Regional. Mr. Anderson was listed in fair condition Wednesday and Ms. Brown's condition was serious, hospital officials said.

Cpl. Gamble said none of the people involved was wearing a safety belt. Alcohol use was not involved in the accident.

Drug trial deliberations continue

AIKEN - Jurors deliberated all day Wednesday without reaching a verdict in the trial of two men accused of being kingpins in a multistate drug ring that distributed bulk amounts of cocaine in South Carolina.

Elmore Moncrieft, of Bamberg County, and Albert Shaw Nelson, of Miami, are charged in a 1995 federal indictment with distributing and possessing with intent to distribute marijuana, cocaine and crack cocaine in Barnwell, Bamberg and Orangeburg counties. They are also charged with conspiring to launder money from their drug proceeds.

In addition, Mr. Moncrieft is charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Juror deliberations will continue today at the U.S. District Court in Aiken.

Fort Gordon to hold auction

The Defense Reutilization and Marketing Office at Fort Gordon will conduct an auction of government surplus property from 9 to 11:30 a.m. Wednesday in Building 994 on 10th Street.

Items for sale include battle dress uniforms, air conditioners, clothing, store fixtures, household items, televisions, typewriters, refrigerators, computer equipment, dump trucks, used tires, desks and entertainment equipment.

The merchandise will be available for inspection Friday, Monday and Tuesday from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m., also in Building 994.

Payment is by cash, credit card or certified bank check.

For more information, call 791-1866.

Man arrested in teen's shooting

A man who shot a teen-ager on a Richmond County street Tuesday after his daughter accused the teen of stalking her was arrested Wednesday, police said.

On Tuesday, after a preliminary probe, police had said they didn't expect to charge Wayne Bernard Harris, 45, in the shooting because Mr. Harris may have been protecting his daughter when he shot the teen.

After checking the boy's injuries, however, police Wednesday charged Mr. Harris, of the 1200 block of Fuller Street, with aggravated assault and weapons offenses.

Rico Pereira, 18, of the 3600 block of Deans Bridge Road, was shot in the back of his leg, which may indicate he was leaving after arguing with Mr. Harris, police said.

The shooting happened about 2:45 p.m. in the 1300 block of Steiner Avenue, after Mr. Pereira approached a car Mr. Harris and his daughter Sekeitha Hogan, 18, were in, police said. Mr. Pereira threatened Ms. Hogan and reached into his jacket pocket, and Mr. Harris pulled a .40-caliber semiautomatic gun and shot him, police said.

Police had gotten a warrant for Mr. Pereira's arrest Tuesday morning after Ms. Hogan reported that he had been threatening her that day and as far back as 1995. Police had not yet served the warrant when the shooting occurred.

Mr. Pereira was arrested Tuesday and charged with stalking. He was being held at the Richmond County jail Wednesday.

Albany pulls plug on coverage

ALBANY - There won't be any more live television coverage of Albany City Commission meetings.

With one commissioner still insisting that other cities have used the telecasts to ridicule Albany, the commission voted 4-3 Tuesday night to pull the plug on the cable television coverage.

Commissioner Marvin Banister, who first offered the proposal last week, said he had no proof, but had heard rumors that Columbus and Tifton were showing tapes of the often-rancorous meetings to business prospects. Officials in both cities have denied the claim.

One of those voting against the proposal, Commissioner Arthur Williams, called it a "backward approach."

Teen charged in Atlanta shooting

ATLANTA - A 13-year-old boy has been charged with murder in the Jan. 21 death of a man shot in front of his two young sons.

Police also said the boy's 19-year-old brother, Jason Morgan, and Eric Mills, 22, were charged with being a party to the crime of murder.

Darrell Woods, 23, was sitting in his car with his sons, ages 2 and 5, while his wife went into a market to buy a soda. Witnesses told police that a short, slight male approached the car, yelled "Hey, Shorty!" and fired three shots at Mr. Woods before running away.

Senior citizens rally at Capitol

ATLANTA - New laws protecting consumers against auto repair ripoffs are among the priorities being pushed by Georgia members of the American Association of Retired Persons.

Dozens of AARP members rallied at the state Capitol Wednesday to support a legislative agenda that also includes reform of state inheritance laws to guarantee that all proceeds of an estate go to the surviving spouse.

Currently, if a spouse dies without leaving a will, the division of assets is left to the discretion of a probate judge.

AARP members are asking state legislators to mandate a 30-day guarantee on auto repair parts and labor, and a formal grievance process that could lead to revocation of a garage's business license if its mechanics repeatedly did faulty or unnecessary work.

Flag fight costly for Republicans

COLUMBIA - Gov. David Beasley may be risking his political fortune to take the Confederate flag down from the Statehouse, but the push is costing the South Carolina Republican Party real dollars.

Direct mail fund-raising dropped after Mr. Beasley proposed moving the flag, and many contributors complained specifically about that effort, state Republican Party Chairman Henry McMaster said Wednesday.

"The people we write to, clearly a substantial majority of them, support keeping the flag on the dome," Mr. McMaster said.

The GOP's direct mail effort is targeted at those who give between $15 and $40, he said.

Voters may decide on taxes

COLUMBIA - Voters will get their say on taxes, but only if the Legislature can't muster a two-thirds majority to pass a tax-increase bill, a House committee decided Wednesday.

That partly fulfills Gov. David Beasley's campaign promise to let voters decide tax increases, but Democrats say the reality is that voters will seldom get to decide.

They would only get to vote on the matter if legislators approved a tax increase with less than the super majority. Any increase with more than two-thirds support could take effect without a referendum, the House Judiciary Committee decided.

With 64 sponsors, the resolution has enough support to pass the House, but it faces opposition in the Democrat-controlled Senate.

- Compiled by Jennifer Goodwin Miller