Originally created 03/14/97

Local and regional news briefs



Students to compete at problem-solving

Area students will compete in the regional Odyssey of the Mind tournament Saturday at Lakeside High School.

About 50 teams will meet in the contest, which tests problem-solving skills among students.

The event runs from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Winners will advance to the state tournament April 19.

Seats still are available for banquet

A few tickets still should remain for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Augusta's 10th annual Steak and Burger Dinner at 6:30 tonight at Augusta State University's PE/Athletic Complex.

Kids from the clubs are treated to steaks, while adults have to settle for hamburgers, although trading is permitted.

Dr. Benjamin Carson, a neurosurgeon and motivational speaker, will be the featured speaker.

Proceeds from the event, which has a $100 per person entry fee, will be used to fund the organization's operations.

Last year's dinner netted more than $36,000, but this year's ticket sales already have raised $91,200, said Jerry Noland, executive director of the Boys Club.

Mr. Noland said that because 20-30 percent of ticket holders probably will not show up, the club should have plenty of room to accommodate walk-up ticket sales.

Lawmaker plans insurance forum

NORTH AUGUSTA - State Rep. Scott Beck will sponsor a forum on auto insurance in South Carolina at 7:30 p.m. Monday in North Augusta.

House Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee Chairman Harry Cato and members of the committee staff will attend. The committee handles all legislation dealing with insurance.

The discussion will focus on the history of auto insurance in the state, problems with the current system and proposals. The forum will be in Banquet Room No. 1 at North Augusta Community Center on Brookside Drive.

GA

Policeman faces child-porn charges

ATLANTA - A 27-year veteran of the Atlanta Police Department was indicted Wednesday on child-pornography charges and illegal possession of a sawed-off shotgun.

The federal indictment accuses Sgt. Preston Chambers of ordering a 35-minute child pornography video from federal agents operating a sting. Authorities said he answered an Internet message advertising child pornography for sale, and agents mailed him the video from Texas.

Sgt. Chambers, who lives in suburban Rockdale County, has been on administrative leave since September,

During a search of his home for the tape last year, agents found an unregistered shotgun with a barrel shorter than 18 inches.

Off-duty officer rescues boy in crash

ROSWELL - An off-duty police officer rescued a 7-year-old boy from a burning car on Georgia Highway 400 after a collision with a truck that killed the youngster's father.

William Robert Killian, 46, of Alpharetta was killed in the crash Wednesday near Roswell, authorities said. His son, Robert Killian, was in critical condition Thursday morning at Scottish Rite Children's Medical Center.

Derrick Shean, 25, of Roswell, an officer in Union City south of Atlanta, was driving south on Highway 400 when he spotted smoke coming from the wrecked car.

He said he ran up to the car, used his fists and a fire extinguisher to break out the shattered windshield and pulled the boy out.

"I was just glad to see that boy moving and moaning," said Officer Shean.

"It was a hero's response," said Roswell Police Chief Edwin Williams.

Authorities said a panel truck struck the rear of Mr. Killian's car.

Inmate guilty of murdering guard

ATLANTA - An Atlanta Federal Penitentiary inmate accused of beating a prison guard to death with a hammer was convicted of murder Wednesday by a federal jury, U.S. Attorney Kent Alexander said.

Anthony George Battle, 33, was indicted in November 1995 on charges that he killed prison guard D'Antonio Washington on Dec. 21, 1994. Mr. Washington was found in a pool of blood in a cellblock that held 180 of the most violent inmates at the prison.

The jury, which deliberated almost four hours, was to begin hearing testimony Thursday in the sentencing phase of the case.

The Justice Department wants the death penalty against Mr. Battle because the killing involved a federal officer.

Mr. Battle already is serving a life sentence on federal murder charges for fatally stabbing his wife while stationed at the U.S. Marine Corps base at Camp Lejeune, N.C.

SC

Mayor accused of threat to reporter

PAWLEYS ISLAND - Pawleys Island Mayor Julian Kelly has been indicted by a Georgetown County grand jury in connection with an alleged death threat made last year against a newspaper reporter.

Circuit Solicitor Ralph Wilson did not make available specifics of the indictment. Spokesman Blake Martin said details could not be made available until Mr. Kelly appears before a judge, which won't happen until early next week.

The Myrtle Beach Sun News filed a complaint with Mr. Wilson's office last year, alleging he threatened reporter Zane Wilson by telephone. The accusation came after the newspaper ran a series of articles into alleged misconduct by Pawleys Island Town Council.

"The grand jury did what they usually do, and we look forward to a jury being able to hear both sides of this case," said Mr. Kelly's attorney, Morgan Martin. "It's much ado about nothing."

Killer sentenced to life in prison

COLUMBIA - A Richland County man has been sentenced to life in prison for killing a Columbia cab driver.

Cary Cornelius Gresham was convicted Wednesday in the shooting death of Ulysses Collins in May 1995.

Defense attorney Jeff Bloom said he was disappointed that the jury was not allowed to consider convicting Mr. Gresham of manslaughter.

Prosecutor Knox McMahon said he did not believe that Mr. Gresham should be allowed to claim the shooting during a robbery was an accident.

Mr. Gresham also is accused of the death of Tony R. Wright, 31, at a mobile home park in Richland County in May 1995. Mr. Gresham is charged with murder, attempted armed robbery, two counts of possessing a weapon during a violent crime and criminal conspiracy.

Mother charged with killing girl

COLUMBIA - A Winnsboro woman has been charged with killing her 4-year-old daughter because she feared the child was possessed by voodoo spirits.

Marlia Copeland, 23, of Winnsboro was charged with murder and is undergoing a psychiatric evaluation at the State Hospital in Columbia, Fairfield County Sheriff Herman Young said Wednesday.

Tameka Cassandra Copeland died Sunday afternoon in the back bedroom of her mother's apartment in Winnsboro.

The child was forced to drink cough syrup and her head was wrapped in a jacket, Sheriff Young said. The mother then covered the girl's face with a pillow and sat on her, the sheriff said.

The girl died of asphyxiation, Coroner Joe Silvia said.

Two younger siblings were taken into custody by the Department of Social Services. They were in good condition, Sheriff Young said.

The girl's body was marked by scars that appeared to have been inflicted by a coat hanger, Mr. Silvia said.

- Compiled by Bill Sanders