Originally created 02/14/98

Local and area briefs



Teen to be tried as adult in slaying

The fourth teen-ager accused in the slaying of a pawn-shop owner will be tried as an adult, following Family Court Judge Lawrence Inabinet's decision Thursday.

James Vang, 16, of Charlotte, N.C., faces charges of murder, armed robbery and possession of a firearm during commission of a violent crime.

Judge Inabinet issued his ruling during a hearing in Family Court to decide if the teen, who was 15 when the crime happened, could be tried as an adult. The decision was postponed at a July hearing until an evaluation of the teen-ager, arrested in Charlotte on July 17, could be done.

On June 25, three other teens had been arrested, also in Charlotte, on fugitive warrants and extradited to Aiken. Curtiss Bruce Vance Kesl, 19, Ae Khingratsaiphon, 16, and Kai Wang, 15, are charged with murder, armed robbery and possession of a firearm during commission of a violent crime.

All four teens are accused in the killing of Carlton Ennis, 57, who was found dead from a gunshot to the head at Southside Pawn and Gold on Owens Street on June 23.

Some spillways to stay open

Eight of Thurmond Lake's 23 spillway gates will remain open through the weekend in efforts to stabilize elevated water levels above the dam.

"We've closed two more gates since Wednesday, but we don't plan to make any changes over the weekend," said U.S. Army Corps of Engineers spokeswoman Jeanne Hodge.

Flows in the Savannah River in Augusta will remain about 35,000 cubic feet per second, somewhat lower than the 43,000 cubic feet per second measured last weekend.

The National Weather Service was predicting rainfall early next week, which may require additional adjustments in efforts to return the 70,000-acre reservoir to its normal winter pool of 327 feet above sea level.

The lake rose to 335.57 last weekend. Emergency releases through the dam's spillway gates helped lower the lake to Friday's level of 331.78. Boaters in the Savannah River downstream are urged to use caution, she said.

Meanwhile, the search for the body of Claudie "Bubba" Johnson, presumed drowned after a small boat capsized on the Savannah River in the middle of the night Tuesday, won't resume until Monday.

"We have to wait for conditions to improve on the river," said Pam Tucker, director of the Augusta-Richmond County Emergency Management Agency.

Mr. Johnson, 18, apparently was swept away by the current during an overnight fishing trip with a friend, George Sanders, who swam to safety.

Clues sought in shooting death

Richmond County investigators still are looking for clues in the shooting death of an Augusta man at his home Thursday.

Terrence Doggett, 20, was found by his girlfriend about 2 p.m. Thursday with an apparent gunshot wound to his head. He was found at his home at Foxwood Apartments on North Leg Road.

Police are working to zero in on a suspect and are following several leads, Chief Deputy Ronald Strength said.

Schools can pursue grants

Among items passed unanimously at Thursday's Richmond County school board meeting, trustees decided to:

Allow eight schools to pursue statewide pay-for-performance grants, which give schools money for meeting specific academic and improvement goals. Glenn Hills High, Lucy C. Laney High, Spirit Creek Middle, Goshen Elementary, Glenn Hills Middle, McBean Elementary, Meadowbrook Elementary and Tobacco Road Elementary schools will continue readying their applications.

Create a "foster grandparents" volunteer program with the Senior Citizens Council of Greater Augusta. A corps of volunteers will begin donating their time in schools, tutoring children and helping out as teachers need. The schools will provide lunches for the senior citizens in return.

Buy new textbooks for high school language arts, and middle and high school foreign language classes.

Accept a $1.2 million bid from Continental Construction to renovate the Academy of Richmond County High School stadium. The board had budgeted $1.6 million for the project, so it saves about $400,000.

Waive any bus fees for local school field trips, provided schools follow the limits already in place as to the number of trips they take.

Sex offender gets probation

CANTON -- A man who pleaded guilty to charges of statutory rape of a 13-year-old girl he met on the Internet has been sentenced to 20 years probation and ordered to stay away from computers.

Superior Court Judge Michael Roach ordered Michael G. Shipman, 41, of Buford, who entered the plea Wednesday, to serve the first two years under house arrest.

He told him to stay off the Internet and said he cannot own a computer or live in a house with a computer. He also ordered Mr. Shipman to register as a sexual offender and to pay to receive sex offender treatment.

Flying object breaks jet's window

ATLANTA -- A Delta Air Lines jet taxiing for takeoff was forced to return the gate after a passenger window was broken by a flying object, the airline said Friday.

The outer shell of the double-pane window on Flight 1627 to Mobile, Ala., was broken Thursday while the Boeing 727 was on the runway at Hartsfield Atlanta International Airport, Delta spokeswoman Kimberly King said.

She would not identify the flying object. Asked if it could have been a bullet, airport spokeswoman April Majors said she could not comment. Atlanta police and the FBI, both investigating the incident, also would not comment.

Ms. King said no passengers were injured and the object did not enter the cabin.

Bill may sink Spillane campaign

MYRTLE BEACH -- Solicitor Spillane?

Maybe not, now that a bill was passed in the state Senate that could end the candidacy of Jane Spillane, wife of the famous mystery writer Mickey Spillane.

Mrs. Spillane, a Republican from Murrells Inlet, says she disagrees with way Solicitor Ralph Wilson handles cases in Horry and Georgetown counties and has vowed to run against him.

But Thursday, senators passed a bill that says solicitors, the elected chief prosecutors for a judicial circuit, must be licensed lawyers. Mrs. Spillane is not an attorney.