Originally created 12/11/97

Additional area news



Governor plans visit to Augusta

Gov. Zell Miller will be in Augusta today for the ceremonial ground breakings of the nation's second-largest welcome center and a new science building at Augusta State University.

Mr. Miller will speak at a 3:30 p.m. reception at the welcome center site on Interstate 20. The ceremony will begin at 4:30 p.m. The 15,000-square-foot building will replace the existing 2,500-square-foot center at the first Georgia exit as Interstate 20 leaves South Carolina.

It will house permanent exhibits for the Augusta Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame and the National Science Center's Fort Discovery. A wall of video monitors and a 4,700-square-foot exhibition area will replace a rack of brochures that local attractions use for marketing in the current center.

The ground breaking at Augusta State University will begin at 3 p.m. at the construction site behind Bellevue Hall.

Woman found dead in car

A Wagener woman apparently died of carbon monoxide poisoning Tuesday after waiting nearly five hours for someone to stop and help change her car's flat tire, said Lt. Gary Morgan of the Lexington County Sheriff's Department.

Kay Marie Walker, 30, of North Fork Road, was found inside her 1972 Ford station wagon on James Dunbar Road near Pelion, S.C.

Lt. Morgan said Ms. Walker left her job about 3 a.m. and was heading home when she had a flat tire. She apparently stayed in the car to keep warm, he said.

A passing motorist notified the sheriff's office about 8 a.m., and deputies went to investigate, he said.

Robbery suspect sought

Aiken County Sheriff's Office is searching for a man who robbed the Days Inn motel on U.S. Highway 1 on Tuesday night, said Lt. Michael Frank, spokesman for the sheriff's office.

About 7:40 p.m., a man walked into the motel's lobby and asked for a room. As the clerk turned to get a key, the man jumped across the counter and held a knife against the clerk, Lt. Frank said.

The thief then opened the cash register, removed an undisclosed amount of money, and ran out the door, he said.

The suspect is described as black with a mustache, 33-36 years old, 5 feet 7 inches tall and 165 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes. He was wearing a black knit cap, plaid shirt, black jeans and white tennis shoes, Lt. Frank said.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the sheriff's office at (803) 642-1761 or (800) 922-3211. Crime Stoppers can also be called at (803) 642-1798. Anyone providing information leading to an arrest and conviction may be eligible for a cash reward.

Death row inmate changes mind

MACON -- A Georgia death row inmate who had said he wanted to die has changed his mind and is asking a federal court to review his case.

Attorney Stephen Bright on Wednesday filed a petition with the U.S. District Court in Macon on behalf of Wallace Marvin "Buck" Fugate.

"I think he had some reservations," Mr. Bright said.

Mr. Fugate is scheduled for execution at 7 p.m. Friday at the state prison in Jackson. The execution will be halted if the federal court issues a stay.

Mr. Fugate is on death row for the murder of his ex-wife, Pattie, in Putnam County. He was sentenced to death April 29, 1992.

Man pleads guilty to robberies

SAVANNAH -- A 42-year-old man has been sentenced in U.S. District Court to 186 months in prison for the May 27, 1997, robbery of an Ameribank branch in Savannah.

The government said Gary Allen Densmore took about $2,000 in the robbery.

U.S. Attorney Donnie Dixon said Mr. Densmore also entered guilty pleas to six other bank robberies this year -- the South Trust Bank in Palm Harbor, Fla., on March 24; the Barnett Bank in Ormond Beach, Fla., on March 19; the Barnett Bank in Orlando, Fla., on April 7; the Compass Bank in Jacksonville, Fla., on April 25; the Conway National Bank in Myrtle Beach, S.C., on May 1; and the Nations Bank in Belvedere on April 15.

$250,000 found in driveway

RINGGOLD -- Finders keepers?

That's what a Ringgold woman who found two grocery bags containing more than $250,000 in cash in her driveway says.

But not so fast, say the Catoosa County sheriff and district attorney. The woman -- who asked to remain anonymous -- thought the bags contained coffee her husband had purchased and had fallen off of his vehicle.

When she discovered the bags contained money, Catoosa County sheriff's deputies were notified, said her attorney, Buddy Presley.

"Apparently, somebody pulled up in the driveway, set the money out, and then left. It was smack in the middle of the driveway," Mr. Presley said.

If no legitimate claim is made, Mr. Presley said, the money belongs to his client. But the Sheriff Phil Summers and Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit District Attorney Herbert Franklin disagree.

"There is nothing that is black and white under Georgia law that says finders keepers," Mr. Franklin said.

Clemson spends less on books

CLEMSON -- Clemson spent much less than the University of South Carolina on books for its library last year, according to a study presented to the school's faculty senate.

The $26.28 spent per Clemson student last year compares with $99.51 at the University of South Carolina, a faculty senate committee reported Tuesday.

Lawyers say Olmos case settled

ROCK HILL -- Lawyers for actor Edward James Olmos and the woman who accused him of sexual assault said Wednesday the case has been settled, but police said their criminal investigation remains active.

Both sides issued a joint statement calling the incident "a misunderstanding between two adults" and saying Mr. Olmos' lawyer, Dick Harpootlian, regretted any statements he may have made that challenged the woman's truthfulness.

remains "open and active."

He would not comment further other than to say police wanted to talk to the woman some more.}The 38-year-old Rock Hill woman said she was sexually assaulted by Mr. Olmos at a Howard Johnson motel room Oct. 19, the day after Mr. Olmos spoke at a local college, according to a police report.