Originally created 03/11/00

Across the area



RICHMOND COUNTY

Police arrest men wanted in shooting

The Richmond County Sheriff's Department arrested two men Friday who were wanted for the March 4 fatal shooting of a man off Ninth Street.

Derek Lashawn Willingham, 20, of the 700 block of Hopkins Street, and Franklin Eugene Frails, 20, of the 1900 block of Second Avenue, were arrested by the sheriff's department early Friday afternoon at the HOJO Inn at 1238 Gordon Highway, Chief Deputy Ronald Strength said.

The two were charged with murder and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime in the slaying of 36-year-old Ritchard Lewis on March 4, Chief Deputy Strength said.

Two women, April Scott, 18, and Tywanda Tweedy, 20, also were arrested with the men and charged with obstruction of a law enforcement officer because of their efforts to help the men avoid arrest.

The other person charged in the crime, 19-year-old Haskell Donnell Johnson, has been in custody since last Sunday.

According to investigators, the three men first attempted to rob a man who was with Mr. Lewis on the 900 block of Ninth Street at about 3:45 a.m. March 4. After Mr. Lewis tried to talk the men out of the robbery, one of the suspects shot him "for no apparent reason," Chief Deputy Strength said.

COLUMBIA COUNTY

Construction causes phone loss

Several offices in the Columbia County Government Complex were without telephone service Friday morning.

A BellSouth cable was cut at about 8:45 a.m. by construction crews working on the new courthouse annex. The construction site is next to the government complex on Washington West Drive.

Telephone service was partially repaired by 1:45 p.m., Emergency Services/EMA Director Pam Tucker said.

Offices affected included the tag office, board of elections, human resources, drivers license bureau, commission office and administrator's office.

AUGUSTA

Group will discuss river plan

Save Our Savannah, an advocacy group formed by concerned waterfront property owners after the Jan. 16 drawdown of the Savannah River, will meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Boat House, 101 Riverfront Drive, Augusta.

Topics for discussion will include alternatives to the Army Corps of Engineers' controversial plan to decommission the New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam downstream from Augusta. All interested parties are invited.

AUGUSTA

Novelist schedules book signing

Former Augustan John Bloomfield will sign copies of his novel Flip Flop at 4 p.m. today at Barnes & Noble bookstore, 1336 Augusta West Parkway. The book chronicles the adventures of a sportfishing guide and his friends in the Bahamas.

GEORGIA

Governor names board appointees

ATLANTA -- Gov. Roy Barnes has reappointed six members to the University System of Georgia Board of Regents, the body governing the state's 34 public colleges.

The Senate Higher Education Committee and the full Senate must confirm this week's gubernatorial appointments before the legislative session ends later this month.

Mr. Barnes reappointed James Yancey, president of Synovus Financial Corp. in Columbus, and Augusta attorney Tom Allgood Sr. to terms running to Jan. 1, 2007. He tapped four other men for a term running through Jan. 1, 2006: Connie Cater, president of Cater Casket Co. in Macon; former Gov. Joe Frank Harris of Cartersville; Claxton car dealer Martin NeSmith; and Columbus attorney Joel O. Wooten Jr.

Mr. Yancey, Mr. Cater, Mr. Harris, Mr. NeSmith and Mr. Wooten were appointed to terms beginning June 18, 1999, and have been serving since then, but the legislature was not in session then.

GEORGIA

Teacher charged with molestation

GREENVILLE -- A high school special education teacher has been charged with having sex with a 15-year-old student.

Karen Joyce Jensen, 48, is accused of having consensual intercourse and oral sex several times with the boy at her Fayette County home and other places in Meriwether County, Sheriff Dan Branch said Friday.

School Superintendent Robert Hawk said the boy was a full-time student in Ms. Jensen's class for students with behavior disorders at Greenville High School.

Ms. Jensen was arrested Wednesday and charged with aggravated child molestation, enticing a child for indecent purposes and interfering with parental custody. She was released from jail on $112,500 bond.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Internet romance gets deep freeze

CHARLESTON -- All Trevor Tasker wanted to do was fly to this historic South Carolina town, meet up with his Internet love and get married.

Instead, he finds himself still single and in the sights of an aggressive media in his native England.

It turns out that the 30-something woman he met and wooed over the Internet is really a 65-year-old woman jailed earlier this month after authorities found the body of her former roommate in a freezer at her home.

Wynema Faye Shumate was charged with unauthorized removal of a dead body and destruction or desecration of human remains after authorities discovered the body of James H. O'Neil, 70. His body had been in the freezer for more than a year. An autopsy showed no foul play in Mr. O'Neil's death, but authorities are awaiting the results of toxicology tests.

The story has placed Mr. Tasker on the British tabloids most-wanted list.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Legislator extends hospital stay

COLUMBIA -- Floyd Spence, the South Carolina congressman who successfully underwent a double-lung transplant 12 years ago, remains in the Bethesda, Md., hospital where he checked himself in Wednesday.

Mr. Spence, a Lexington Republican and chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, "wasn't feeling up to par," and went to Bethesda Naval Medical Center for tests, his chief of staff, Craig Metz, said.

"His doctors wanted him to go out there for tests and observation," said Mr. Metz, who said the illness did not appear serious. Mr. Metz said he saw the congressman Wednesday. "He looked very good."

A statement from Mr. Spence's office said he was receiving medication and would be released today, but did not elaborate.