Originally created 07/03/97

Local and area briefs



Hitchcock Woods pines being thinned

AIKEN - The Hitchcock Foundation is asking users of Hitchcock Woods to exercise caution around the Ridge Mile track until a timber operation is completed around the end of this month.

The operation is part of a long-term management plan that calls for 70 acres of pines to be thinned. The activity is centered on the Ridge Mile track. Trucks will enter and leave the woods from the entrance near the railroad track on Dibble Road.

Plane explosion kills pilot

LOCUST GROVE - The pilot of a single-engine plane was killed Wednesday when the plane crashed and exploded at Mallards Landing, a community with its own runway in southern Henry County.

John Kenneth Reed, 57, died in the crash, Henry County Police Department said.

"The plane appeared to be trying to take off. He got up and started having engine trouble, then tried to bring it back in," said Don Ash, a police spokesman. The plane exploded and burned on impact, he said.

National Transportation Safety Board investigators were called in to determine the cause of the crash.

Mallards Landing, about 30 miles southeast of Atlanta, is a housing development where many homeowners own small planes and use the community's runway, said a spokeswoman at Sacks Properties, which developed the subdivision.

Mayor's stance upsets blacks

ATLANTA - Black leaders said Wednesday they aren't satisfied with Mayor Bill Campbell's defense of the decision to suspend rather than fire a police officer who beat a man during Freaknik.

The April 19 arrest and beating of 27-year-old Timmie Sinclair was caught on videotape during Freaknik, Atlanta's annual black college street party.

Sgt. W.R. Myers, a 23-year-veteran, was suspended without pay for 30 days for use of excessive force. Officer B.K. Rainey was issued a written reprimand for telling the person taping the arrest to turn off his camera.

Mr. Campbell met with Joseph Lowery, president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and other black leaders Wednesday morning to discuss the incident.

The mayor told the group Sgt. Myers wasn't fired because he had no previous record of abuses, Mr. Lowery said.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People had called earlier for Sgt. Myers' termination. Mr. Lowery said the groups will continue pushing for the Justice Department to determine whether Mr. Sinclair's civil rights were violated.

Deaf man sentenced in killing

ALBANY - A deaf and mute Albany man has pleaded guilty through sign language to an interpreter to raping and killing his former girlfriend.

Tommy Lee Green, 33, of Leary, was sentenced in Dougherty County Superior Court to life in prison and a concurrent 20-year prison term in the stabbing death of Glenda Faye Lowe, 37.

Mr. Green explained to Judge Herbert Phipps what happened the night of May 10, when he broke into Ms. Lowe's apartment and hid behind her bedroom door. Using sign language, he told the interpreter that when Ms. Lowe walked into her room, he raped her and stabbed her to death.

He was arrested a week later driving Ms. Lowe's stolen car in Decatur.

Defense attorney Phil Cannon said Mr. Green had a history of drug abuse and was high on cocaine at the time of the incident. Ms. Lowe's family said she, also deaf and mute, and Mr. Green had known each other since they were children and had dated.

Bicentennial flag discovered

EASLEY - The hand-sewn flag that helped this city celebrate the nation's Bicentennial has been found 21 years after its disappearance.

Gerri Houston, who owns an antique business, found it while searching for items at city hall.

"We were going through some boxes in a storage room at city hall, and I saw this large red-white-and-blue bundle in the bottom of one of them," she said. "I didn't get my hopes up, but I thought this might be it."

The 30-by 20-foot flag was sewn by the women at the senior citizens center and was featured on national television when it was flown at the town's July Fourth celebration in 1976.

"It was very popular with the crowd, and for years people have been asking what happened to the flag?" Mrs. Houston said.

The flag disappeared after a rainstorm disrupted one day of the celebration.

"It was one of those summer storms that came quick, and people grabbed everything they could and ran," Mrs. Houston said. "I just always assumed someone got the flag, and no one knew what happened to it."

A city official said the city might try to display it on poles at Old Market Square.

State urges child-restraints use

COLUMBIA - As the July Fourth holiday weekend approaches, the state Public Safety Department is launching a statewide campaign to enforce seat-belt and child-restraint laws.

South Carolina is one of seven states to receive grants from the National Air Bag Safety Campaign and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

"Last year, over 57,000 people were injured in traffic crashes on South Carolina's highways - an all-time record high," interim Public Safety Director Eddie Gunn said Wednesday. "Many of these injuries could have been prevented by wearing a safety belt or using a child-restraint device."

From now until Labor Day, the Highway Patrol and local police officers will hand out "thank you" tickets to motorists who are buckled up at safety checkpoints.

Deputies expected to be cleared

GREENVILLE - Two Greenville County deputies likely will be cleared in the shooting death of a man last week, Sheriff Johnny Mack Brown said.

"From what I understand, the shooting was a justifiable use of force," Sheriff Brown said.

Master Deputy Tom Rainey and Deputy Bill Tuten have been on office duty since the June 23 shooting. The deputies had followed a Jeep Cherokee, which matched a stolen-vehicle description, into a dead-end parking lot. When they got out of the patrol car, the Jeep's driver tried to run them down, they said.

Fredrick Cory Ellis, 31, of Greenville died after he was shot several times, authorities said. His brother, Spencer Ellis, said the deputies acted too Quickly.

- Compiled by Kelly Daniel