Originally created 11/10/99

Across the area: Teacher finds pupil with illegal weapon



A Richmond County teacher discovered a 12-year-old with a weapon at school Tuesday afternoon, police said.

At about 1:30 p.m., a pupil at East Augusta Middle School, on Kentucky Avenue, was found carrying a box-cutter in his waistband, said Investigator Scott Peebles of Richmond County Sheriff's Department. The youth said he found it on the street and intended to give it to an officer but forgot, authorities said. However, when questioned by a teacher, he denied having the weapon.

He was charged with carrying a weapon on school property and turned over to juvenile authorities, Investigator Peebles said. The pupil's name wasn't released because of his age.

AUGUSTA

Mother faces cruelty charges

An Augusta woman faces felony cruelty to children charges after she allegedly beat her 8-year-old son with a 6-foot extension cord, Richmond County police said.

Tyrosslia Collier Henderson was arrested at about 5:30 p.m. at her residence on the 2000 block of Golden Camp Road after police were notified of the beating by state Department of Family and Children Services officials, said Richmond County Investigator Joanne Nutter.

The boy stayed at his mother's house Monday night, when the alleged abuse occurred. Welts and bruises on the boy's back were noticed Tuesday morning when the child arrived at his father's house, Investigator Nutter said. The father then notified DFACS officials, she said.

After being questioned by a DFACS worker Tuesday morning, police obtained a warrant for Ms. Henderson's arrest, Investigator Nutter said.

The child was taken to Medical College of Georgia Hospital for treatment. No information on his condition was available late Tuesday.

RICHMOND COUNTY

Police charge wife in stabbing

A domestic dispute Tuesday morning left a man injured and his wife in jail, police said.

Ronnie Solomon, 25, of 201 E. Telfair St., was taken to Medical College of Georgia Hospital after being stabbed with a knife in the right side of his chest, nicking his right lung, said Investigator Kenny Lynch of Richmond County Sheriff's Department. The victim's wife, Gwendolyn Solomon, 25, was arrested and charged with aggravated assault.

At about 11:30 a.m., the Solomons had been arguing about a telephone conversation Mr. Solomon had with another woman when Mrs. Solomon grabbed a steak knife from the kitchen and stabbed her husband, Investigator Lynch said. When emergency workers reached Mr. Solomon, he was conscious and told investigators he didn't want to prosecute. But because of his injuries, investigators arrested his wife.

AUGUSTA

Parenting seminar set for Saturday

The Celebrate 2000 Parenting Expo will be Saturday at First Baptist Church, 3500 Walton Way, with family psychologist and columnist John Rosemond as featured speaker.

Dr. Rosemond will deliver two lectures: "A Family of Value," at 9 a.m., and "Take Control of Your Family, Take Control of Your Kids," at 11:30 a.m. Tickets at the door cost $8 per lecture, or $14 for both.

Dr. Rosemond also will hold a book signing. In addition, there will be separate, free sessions all day with local experts covering topics such as budgeting for families, planning for college educations, single parenting, discipline, grandparenting and the effects of computers on families. Exhibitors will demonstrate products and services for children and parents.

The event is part of the yearlong Celebrate 2000 project, sponsored by The Augusta Chronicle, television station WRDW (Channel 12), Beasley Broadcasting, Davis Broadcasting and the cities of Augusta and North Augusta.

RICHMOND COUNTY

Authorities seeks jewel robber

Police are asking the public for help to find a man who robbed an Augusta jewelry store Monday afternoon.

At about 2 p.m., the man walked into Golden Jewelers in the 3200 block of Deans Bridge Road and wandered around, looking at merchandise. He then asked the sales clerk if he could see a gold chain with a charm from the case. When the clerk held up the jewelry for him to view, he snatched it and fled, said Investigator Kenny Lynch of Richmond County Sheriff's Department.

The robber jumped into the passenger side of a white Ford truck with a camper shell and the partial license plate number of 798QC. The truck drove behind the nearby Wal-Mart.

The robber is described by police as black, 6 feet tall and 200 pounds, wearing a red shirt and blue jeans. The robbery was caught on the store's surveillance camera, and investigators distributed the videotape to television stations, hoping someone can identify the suspect. Anyone with information can call the sheriff's department at (706) 821-1080.

RICHMOND COUNTY

Jury indicts men in shootout

A Richmond County grand jury indicted two Augusta men who are suspects in a gun battle that left a man critically injured.

Verenzo T. Holmes, 22, of Gregg Street, and Jeffery Foat Jr., 18, of the 1600 block of Old Savannah Road, were indicted Tuesday on charges of aggravated assault and possession of a weapon during the commission of a crime.

The charges stem from a July 24 fight between two men in a vehicle and a guest at a Chestnut Street home. Delshon Flournoy, 19, was shot in the head when he opened the front door to the home.

Mr. Holmes and Mr. Foat are expected to be arraigned in Richmond County Superior Court later this month.

AIKEN COUNTY

Officials search for robbers

Aiken County sheriff's officials called out the bloodhounds Tuesday night to search for three masked men who robbed a convenience store while it was full of customers, sheriff's Lt. Michael Frank said.

Three men walked into the Kwick Way store at Hampton Avenue and Terry Drive at about 9:30 p.m., pulled out weapons and demanded money from employee Wanda Hamilton. There were about 10 customers milling around in the store at the time, Lt. Frank said.

One of the robbers held the employee at gunpoint while the other two guarded the door. Once the trio got the money, they fled the store, firing their weapons as they ran toward Pinecrest Annex School, Lt. Frank said.

RICHMOND COUNTY

Hospital trustees OK renovation

University Hospital will spend about $400,000 to renovate space on its first floor to bring part of its information systems department back on campus.

The hospital's board of trustees met Tuesday morning and voted to renovate the space and move the systems and programming department from an office on Chafee Avenue, which the hospital will then sell. The move will result in $84,000 in savings from eliminating a position and the need for other phone lines and costs.

University reported another strong performance in its financial period 10, ending Oct. 3, including 249 births, its highest total in five years, said Richard Parks, chief executive officer of University Health Services and Extended Care. For the year, University has accumulated a nearly $11 million surplus, about $5 million ahead of budget.

INDIANA

Georgia woman pleads guilty

INDIANAPOLIS -- A Georgia woman linked to a string of church fires throughout the country pleaded guilty Tuesday to charges she helped a former boyfriend ignite five such fires between 1994 and 1999.

Angela Wood, 24, of Athens pleaded guilty in federal court to conspiracy to commit arson and church arson and four counts of church arson. She also pleaded guilty to the use of fire to commit a felony and arson of a building used in interstate commerce.

Formal charges and a plea agreement were filed Thursday in federal court in Indianapolis. In the deal, Ms. Wood agreed to testify against Jay Scott Ballinger, a former boyfriend believed responsible for dozens of church arsons.

Mr. Ballinger, 37, of Yorktown, stands accused of burning 33 churches in California, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio, South Carolina and Tennessee since 1994. He is scheduled to stand trial Feb. 7.

Ms. Wood faces up to 105 years in federal prison and a $1.75 million fine. A date for her sentencing has not been set.