Originally created 07/04/99

Across the area



Convicted killer soon to get parole

An Augusta man convicted of manslaughter six years ago will be paroled Tuesday, according to the state board of pardons and paroles.

Matthew Moss was sentenced to 15 years in May 1993 after his conviction for voluntary manslaughter in the April 2, 1991, shooting death of William Patterson, 41. Witnesses told sheriff department investigators that Mr. Patterson was shot after he got into an argument with Mr. Moss.

Mr. Moss originally was charged with murder, but he was convicted of the lesser offense in Richmond County Superior Court.

Horse dumps six from carriage

A calm carriage ride through Aiken's oak-covered lanes turned frantic Saturday when a couple celebrating their wedding anniversary were dumped from the buggy by a spooked horse.

The accident happened just after 10:30 a.m. when a dog darted in front of the horse that pulled a carriage of five passengers and a driver. The horse reportedly clipped a Ford Explorer near Grace Avenue, just off Whiskey Road, causing the carriage to overturn on the sidewalk and dump out the passengers. The horse then galloped down the street for a block and a half before stopping, said Public Safety Officer David Willis.

One of the passengers and the driver were taken to Aiken Regional Medical Centers with minor injuries. The horse was also shaken, but not seriously hurt. The driver of the carriage suffered a broken arm.

Authorities could not provide additional information about the incident.

Fire destroys Barnwell pawnshop

The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division is investigating the cause of an afternoon fire that destroyed a Barnwell business Saturday.

The blaze ignited at Baxley's Pawn Shop at about 1:40 p.m., and Barnwell County firefighters fought the blaze at the Patterson Street business for more than two hours before bringing it under control, said fire Chief Tony Dicks.

Investigators believe the spark may have started in the attic. Arson is not suspected at this time, but SLED said it is investigating to be certain.

Customers were in the business at the time of the blaze, but everyone escaped unharmed. However, two firefighters were taken to a local hospital and treated for heat exhaustion, Chief Dicks said. Both are doing well, he said.

Baxley's had been in business for more than 20 years and carried a huge surplus of ammunitions and jewelry.

Two men injured in shooting

Two Augusta men were wounded while driving on Gordon Highway early Saturday when unknown assailants fired several shots at their car, a Richmond County sheriff's investigator said.

Kenerick Crandall, 30, of Amsterdam Drive, told police the shooting occurred at about 5 a.m. as he and two other men were driving west in the 1400 block of Gordon Highway.

Mr. Crandall told police that a small, white sedan containing three black males pulled alongside his vehicle and began firing.

Bullets pierced both front and rear driver's-side doors of the 1987 Chevrolet Caprice Classic, wounding the driver, Mickell Berry, 19, of Toms Drive, in the leg. Backseat passenger, Ricky Parker, 22, of Madrid Drive, was wounded in the buttocks, police said.

Both men were taken to Medical College of Georgia Hospital, where they were listed in fair condition late Saturday, according to hospital officials.

SWAT team van catches fire

ATLANTA -- A Fulton County SWAT team van carrying stun grenades and tear gas caught fire while responding to a call Friday.

Firefighters doused the blaze before it reached the van's cargo area, according to Maj. Terry Milky of the Fulton County police. A few rounds from the driver's Glock .40 discharged during the fire, but no injuries were reported.

The driver, whom Maj. Mulkey would not identify, pulled over and jumped out on Interstate 85 at the Flat Shoals Road exit after she saw smoke coming from under the hood.

The van, which could not be salvaged, was being dispatched to an incident involving two men and a juvenile who allegedly threatened a neighbor, he said. The altercation was resolved quickly without incident.

The cause of the fire was unknown.

Questioning of suspect expands

MONCKS CORNER -- A man being held in Berkeley County on separate charges of kidnapping, assault and battery with intent to kill, and armed robbery is also being questioned about the rape and shooting of a Maryland woman.

Rasheen Capers, 30, was arrested Thursday at an apartment in Columbia. The Berkeley County charges stem from a crime spree Wednesday in the Lowcountry. Lt. Eurgin Douzart of the North Charleston Police Department said Mr. Capers first kidnapped a 13-year-old girl, then drove to Pringleton in Berkeley County.

There, Lt. Douzart said, Mr. Capers kidnapped 18-year-old Jonea Boyd from a florist shop and shot her in the hand as they struggled.

Ms. Boyd was later left in a wooded area, and the 13-year-old was let out of the car along Interstate 26.

After his arrest, Mr. Capers was taken to the Berkeley County jail. At a Friday morning hearing, he was denied bail.

Lexington County Sheriff James Metts said Friday that Mr. Capers was being investigated in connection with the June 19 rape and shooting of a Maryland woman.

The woman was taken to a wooded area near Batesburg-Leesville, where she was raped several times, shot and left for dead. Though seriously injured, she managed to walk to a nearby farmhouse for help. She is now recovering back in Maryland.

Lexington County Sheriff's Capt. Gary Morgan said Mr. Capers also will be questioned in the 7-month-old disappearance of 25-year-old Paula Merchant.

BMW Z3 roadster sales down

GREENVILLE -- U.S. sales of South Carolina-made BMW Z3 roadsters dropped 60 percent in the first half of 1999.

Overall, the German automaker reported a 10 percent decline in sales of cars made at the Greer plant. The Z3 and M roadsters and coupes are assembled at the Spartanburg County plant.

The company sold 2,188 Z3 2.8s from January through June, down from 5,444 in 1998.