Originally created 12/25/97

Additional area news

Dental records sent to Florida

AIKEN -- Dental records for three Aiken County men whose bodies were found burned behind a Miami warehouse last week have been sent to Miami authorities, said Aiken County Coroner Sue Townsend.

Mrs. Townsend said Wednesday that the records should arrive in Miami by 3 p.m. this afternoon.

Officials with the Miami-Dade Police Department haven't released the names of the three men but say they are from Aiken County.

But a source close to the investigation has confirmed the identities of the three Aiken men as Donell Ramsey, 32, Lenwood Ramsey, 44, and Willmont Pat Davis, 54.

Miami police identified a fourth victim Tuesday as Jose Antonio Elias, 32, of Carol City, Fla., a Miami suburb.

About 11 p.m. Friday, a security guard reported a fire outside Allied Research Laboratory in northwest Miami. When police put out the fire they discovered the charred remains of four men behind a garbage container in the company's parking lot.

Preacher says man robbed him

A Hephzibah man spent Christmas Eve in jail after a preacher said the man robbed him, according to police reports.

Jerry Lewis Lee, 24, of the 3400 block of Lance Boulevard in Hephzibah, went to Faith Christian Church on New Savannah Road just before noon Wednesday and asked the Rev. Curtis Merriweather if he could use the restroom, said Richmond County sheriff's Lt. Jack Francisco. When Mr. Lee came out of the restroom, he pulled a pistol, demanded money, snatched a small amount of cash from the pastor and ran from the church, police said.

The Rev. Merriweather chased Mr. Lee, then flagged down a deputy patrolling the area who joined in the foot chase. Mr. Lee was taken into custody in the 500 block of Hines Street, still holding the pistol and stolen cash, Lt. Francisco said.

Mr. Lee was charged with armed robbery and possession of a firearm and was being held in Richmond County.

Kwanzaa ceremonies planned

Several area groups have planned ceremonies in honor of Kwanzaa, a nonreligious African celebration of family and heritage recognized during the holiday season.

A celebration will be held at the Julian Smith Casino from 7:30 to 11 p.m. Friday. Tickets are $10 in advance and $7 for children under 10.

The program will include the traditional Kwanzaa candle-lighting ceremony, a full international dinner and African drummers and dancers.

The 1974 class of Lucy Laney High School also is sponsoring a traditional Kwanzaa celebration Saturday from noon to 2 p.m. at McDuffie Wood Community Center off of Barton Chapel Road.

The program is free. Gifts will be given to children and refreshments will be served.

Developer donates island

DARIEN -- A Duluth real-estate developer has given Georgia preservationists a holiday present -- a 1,945-acre island.

"It's a pretty piece of land," said D. Scott Hudgens, a real estate developer who recently gave the land to the state Department of Natural Resources.

Potosi Island is in the Altamaha River delta, west of Darien. Bisected by Interstate 95, the island has stands of cypress and hardwoods, and is a rich wildlife and plant habitat.

DNR suspects Potosi Island hosts three unusual plant species -- a rare shrub called corkwood, the state-protected green-fly orchid and the obedient plant, a member of the mint family that grows in freshwater tidal marshes.

Man killed in duplex fire

SAVANNAH -- A 74-year-old Savannah man was killed Wednesday when the two-story duplex he had been remodeling burned as he was sleeping there to protect it from a break-in.

Savannah firefighters found flames coming from the house about 5:30 a.m. A firefighter found Willie Kearse in a bedroom and brought him out. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but it appears to have started in closet and then raced through the back of the house, said Capt. Tony Faust of the Savannah Fire Department.

Mr. Kearse's body will be sent to the state crime lab in Atlanta on Friday for an autopsy to determine the cause of death, said Detective Mike Wilkins of Savannah police violent crimes unit.

Man wanted in slaying

COLUMBIA -- A murder warrant has been issued for a 33-year-old man wanted in the killings of a Columbia woman and her daughter, authorities said.

The bodies of Nellie Green, 70, and Patricia Richardson, 41, were found Tuesday night at the daughter's home. The mother died from a blow to the head; the daughter was stabbed several times, apparently after falling to the floor.

"It looked like she was stabbed from overhead," Richland County Coroner Frank Barron said.

A warrant was issued Wednesday charging Evon Frederick with murder, sheriff's Lt. Joseph Pellicci said. Mr. Frederick was Ms. Richardson's boyfriend, Lt. Pellicci said.

Witnesses said they saw Mr. Frederick leaving the house in a black Toyota, but Lt. Pellicci said Mr. Frederick had switched cars by Wednesday afternoon. Mr. Frederick reportedly was seen Wednesday in Orangeburg, where he previously had lived.

A motive for the killings had not yet been established, Lt. Pellicci said.

Female inmate escapes briefly

GAFFNEY -- A Cherokee County prisoner got 17 minutes of freedom this Christmas after she escaped from an Upstate medical center.

Ethel Mae Pearson, 19, jumped out of a second-story window at Gaffney's Upstate Medical Center on Wednesday. She then ran to a relative's house about a block away from the hospital, but was captured a short time later.

A law enforcement officer said Ms. Pearson was in the Cherokee County Detention Center for a probation violation.

Lt. Ken Cook said she had been taken to the hospital after she complained of stomach problems.

A guard standing outside Ms. Pearson's door said he heard a noise and went inside the room, Lt. Cook said. That's when he discovered she had escaped.

A cab driver led police to her.


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