Originally created 02/12/99

Additional area news



Slaying suspect turns himself in

Another person suspected in Richmond County's first homicide of 1999 turned himself in to Missouri police Thursday while Augusta police issued warrants for a fifth person involved in the shooting.

Shontez Ellis, 24, surrendered to St. Louis authorities Thursday, said Richmond County sheriff's Investigator Thomas Sheppard. Richmond County investigators issued murder and kidnapping warrants for Tammi Cotton, 29.

On Wednesday, Robert Brooks, 37, also known as Victor Scott, was apprehended by federal marshals. Shirley Doggett Wells, 41, was arrested Monday.

Members of the group, with the exception of Ms. Wells, were raised in St. Louis. Mr. Ellis and Mr. Brooks are fighting extradition to Georgia.

Still eluding police is Early Glenn, 50, who is believed to have shot John Lambright, 26, during an argument Feb. 3 at Vista Village trailer park.

The group will be charged with murder, kidnapping and possession of a firearm, authorities said.

Walker says letterhead was used

ATLANTA - Senate Majority Leader Charles Walker acknowledged Thursday that a letter was sent out using his company's stationary to Atlanta chamber officials and lobbyists "introducing" his son's new temporary-staffing business.

Mr. Walker said his son received no business from lobbyists.

Democrats said they didn't see anything wrong with it and accused Republicans of being out to get Mr. Walker.

The letter was sent out Jan. 1 on Mr. Walker's company stationary introducing the business of his son, Charles Jr., and associate Tal Johnson.

Mr. Walker said his son runs personnel-staffing businesses in five cities.

"If this is going to get to the point where I can't write a letter of introduction, where I can't take my son or daughter to a reception, I'm going to get out of it," he said.

Mr. Walker has been criticized before over his family's business connections.

Questions were raised in 1995 when his committee pushed for an increase for doctors and nurses who screen Medicaid patients. About that time, family members were setting up a company to provide those services.

Students unhurt in bus wreck

Three Richmond County students were uninjured in a school bus wreck Thursday afternoon, police said.

The bus was traveling on Glenn Hills Drive when the driver of another vehicle lost control of his car and slid into the bus.

The driver of the vehicle was treated at a local hospital and released.

Complaint dropped against jailer

An Aiken woman has dropped her complaint accusing a county jailer of assaulting her, but the Aiken County Detention Center will still conduct an administrative review of the case, authorities said Thursday.

Tammy Barnes, 27, told Aiken Department of Public Safety detectives Wednesday that she no longer wanted to pursue charges against jail Lt. Calvin Patterson, said Capt. Tom Galardi of Aiken Public Safety.

Ms. Barnes filed a report with the city police agency Monday, claiming Lt. Patterson slammed her into a wall and handcuffed her hands and feet together while she was being detained Saturday at the county jail. She showed officers bruises on her wrists, legs and face.

Aiken County sheriff's officers arrested Ms. Barnes on Saturday and charged her with disorderly conduct. She was released from jail Sunday.

Stick shift foils theft suspects

Three Augusta men accused of trying to steal a car in Aiken County were arrested after they were foiled by a stick shift, police said Thursday.

A 19-year-old man told Aiken County sheriff's deputies he was beaten with his cellular phone Monday night and pulled out of his car by three men who had followed him. One of the attackers tried to drive the man's car away but couldn't figure out how, sheriff's Lt. Michael Frank said.

Instead, authorities believe the men stole the victim's compact-disc player and cell phone, got back into their Chevrolet and headed toward Augusta. The victim took down their license plate number for police.

Darryel Lee Beasley, 32; Jason Nick Royal, 19; and Gerald Antonio Newton, 18, all of Augusta, were picked up by Richmond County sheriff's deputies and charged with strong-arm robbery.

Investigators say fire suspicious

A fire that damaged a downtown clothing store scheduled to open today has been ruled suspicious, and fire investigators are trying to determine a cause, officials said Thursday.

The fire broke out at the newly renovated T-shirt shop at 1680 Broad St., which was scheduled to open today. But just before 4 a.m. Wednesday, the blaze broke out, destroying an exterior wall and the attic. The rest of the building was heavily damaged by smoke and water, said Richmond County Fire Department spokeswoman Katrice Bryant.

Robert Dector, who was helping renovate the building, was sleeping there at night as security.

Firefighters alerted him to the flames, and he was uninjured.

Holiday closings

Holiday schedules for the Presidents Day holiday weekend:

Federal offices: closed Monday.

U.S. District Court: closed Monday.

South Carolina state offices: closed Monday.

Fort Gordon offices: closed Monday.

Area banks: closed Monday.

Aiken County Health Department: closed Monday.

Aiken and Edgefield counties' public schools: closed Monday.

U.S. Postal Service: closed Monday.

Augusta-Richmond County Museum: closed every Monday.

Morris Museum of Art: closed every Monday.

Augusta-Richmond County government offices: open Monday.

Columbia County offices: open Monday.

Aiken County offices: open Monday.

Aiken city offices: open Monday.

Richmond and Columbia counties' public schools: open Monday.

Richmond, Columbia and Aiken counties' libraries: open Monday.

Augusta Public Transit: no change in service.

Richmond County Landfill: open Monday.

Columbia County Landfill: open Monday.

Aiken garbage collection: No change in service.

North Augusta Sanitation Department: no change in service.

Browning-Ferris Industries garbage collection: no change in service.



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