Originally created 06/21/97

Local and area briefs



Man found shot two times in chest

A Savannah man was found on the Calhoun Expressway early Friday morning with two gunshot wounds in his chest.

A Medical College of Georgia police officer found Ray Anthony Robbins slumped in his front seat around 4:30 a.m. and notified the Richmond County Sheriff's Department, said Chief Deputy Ronald Strength.

The victim told police he was in the parking lot of Horne's Motor Lodge on Gordon Highway when a black man approached him and asked him for money.

Mr. Robbins said he didn't have any money and began to drive away when the man fired three shots into the car, authorities said.

Deputy Strength said the victim's windshield had been shattered by a gunshot and a bullet hole was found in the trunk lid. Police do not know where Mr. Robbins was going.

Mr. Robbins was taken to Medical College of Georgia Hospital, where he was listed in good condition.

Authorities seek assailant

Columbia County authorities are looking for aman who held a 16-year-old boy at knifepoint and forced him to perform oral sex after offering the boy a ride home, said sheriff's Maj. Mike Tomberlin.

The incident occurred late on the afternoon of June 14 when, the juvenile said, he was approached by a man driving a red- or orange station wagon in an area of a ball field behind Christ's Sanctified Holy Church, 136 N. Belair Road, Evans.

After being assaulted in the car, the juvenile was released and called 911.

Investigators are looking for a 1980s model station wagon similar to a Buick or a Chevrolet Cavalier.

Although the sheriff's office has two convicted sex offenders registered as living in Columbia County, neither of them fit the description of the suspect, sheriff's investigator Eric Hedlund. The assailant was described only as white.

Schools ready to buy books

Richmond County schools are readying to buy another round of new textbooks, this time for high school and middle school classes, and they need people to leaf through books submitted by the publishers.

Parents and other curious residents may view the books from June 30 to July 25. The books will be on display at staff development offices at 804 Katherine St. from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays and from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursdays.

The system needs to buy new language arts books for high school classes and new foreign language books for middle and high school classes.

This will be the system's first textbook purchase since altering its rules on how to buy new books. Teachers' votes on which book they like get more weight now than before. The new rules were prompted in part by complaints that teachers' voices were overlooked in April when the system bought language arts books for elementary and middle schools.

For more information, contact the curriculum center at 737-7232.

Jurors to keep deliberating

A Richmond County Superior Court jury continues its deliberations this morning to decide whether two Augusta teen-age brothers committed the county's first homicide of 1997.

At the end of the fourth day of trial Friday, the jury deliberated about five hours before being excused for the night.

Brothers Boise Eugene Hankerson Jr., 18, and Jason Damond Hankerson, 17, both of the 1600 block of Garlington Avenue, have been held without bond since their arrest on murder charges. This week, they and defense witnesses told the jury that they were not present when 20-year-old Donald Grace was shot to death Jan. 26.

But two prosecution witnesses testified this week that the Hankersons were the two armed men who went through a vacant lot toward Douglas Street about midnight and fired gunshots. When the shooting stopped, Mr. Grace had died from a gunshot wound to the back.

Man gets two life terms

ELBERTON - An Athens man has been sentenced to two consecutive life terms for the shooting deaths of two people during a robbery at an Elberton motel in September.

Superior Court Judge John H. Bailey on Thursday also handed Rodney McWhorter, 22, a 20-year sentence for armed robbery, to run concurrently with the other life term.

District Attorney Bob Lavender said Mr. McWhorter will not be eligible for parole for 28 years under state sentencing guidelines.

An Elbert County jury took just two hours to return guilty verdicts Thursday evening in the deaths of 15-year-old Lakeshia Gordon and Stanley Jarrells, 25, Mr. McWhorter's friend and partner in the illegal drug trade.

Mr. McWhorter was convicted of killing the two with four shots from a .38-caliber pistol in a room at the Jolise Inn, then taking a large, but unknown sum of cash.

9-year-old accidentally shot

LaGRANGE - A 9-year-old boy was accidentally shot in the face while playing with a 13-year-old friend in a room containing three BB guns, two rifles and a pistol, police said.

Dustin Herndon of LaGrange was in critical condition Friday at Egleston Children's Hospital, said his mother, Missy Herndon.

Authorities said Dustin and Nick Patton were playing "war" in Nick's room Thursday when he got his .22-caliber rifle - a recent birthday present - out of the closet and pulled the trigger. The bullet hit the spinal cord near the brain stem, police said.

"He knew it was a real gun, he just wasn't aware there was a round in the chamber. The clip was empty," said Detective Rick Templeton.

He said no criminal charges are expected.

Authorities seek escapee

MARION - Authorities are still looking for a 20-year-old inmate who, along with four other prisoners, overpowered guards and escaped from the Marion County jail.

Julius Mason, who made off with $600 in cash from the jail's front desk Thursday, was awaiting trial on charges of armed robbery and aggravated assault and battery.

The other inmates were identified as Anthony Reed, 27, of Mullins; John Hodge, 21, of Marion; Bryant Wilds, 18, of Nichols; and Nathaniel Eaddy, 17, of Marion.

The group overpowered the guards about 6 a.m., Officer Doris Sealy said. They locked one guard in a cell and disabled the other with pepper spray before running out the front door.

- Compiled by Mike Hill