Originally created 07/01/00

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Second conviction earns man 12 years

A young Augusta man who had the chance to erase his first felony conviction if he successfully completed his probationary sentence didn't make it 24 hours.

In February, Anton Donaldson, 18, pleaded guilty in Richmond County Superior Court to possession of cocaine. Judge Albert M. Pickett granted him a seven-year probation sentence instead of prison time and allowed him to serve it under the First Offenders Act.

The next day, Mr. Donaldson was charged with possession of cocaine with intent to distribute. On Friday in Richmond County Superior Court, he pleaded guilty to the new charge.

Senior Judge Bernard J. Mulherin Sr., noting the Feb. 26 date of his arrest and the Feb. 25 date of his sentencing on the first drug charge, sentenced Mr. Donaldson to 12 years in prison.

Police chase ends with crash

A chase through North Augusta between a burglary suspect and sheriff's deputies ended Friday after the suspect crashed his car into a tree, authorities said.

George O. Harrison III, 42, of the 2500 block of Meadow Brook Drive, Augusta, was treated at Aiken Regional Medical Centers and then booked into the Aiken jail for third-degree burglary, larceny and failure to stop for a blue light or siren.

Just before noon, a deputy was driving westbound on Interstate 20 when he spotted a blue Ford Escort matching the description of a car seen leaving a burglary in Aiken, sheriff's Lt. Michael Frank said. The deputy initiated a traffic stop, but the driver sped away.

Another deputy pursued the driver along I-20 onto Martintown Road and finally onto Murray Road, where the suspect lost control of the car and struck a tree. Deputies captured the suspect and recovered a stolen generator, which was returned to the owner, Lt. Frank said.

Robber targets poker business

Talk about a bad day.

Friday was the last day for video poker businesses to operate their money-making machines, and one Aiken business started the morning with an armed robbery.

Authorities say a man wearing an Atlanta Falcons jersey walked into Aces & Eights Snacks & Games on Hampton Avenue, waved a handgun in front of an employee and demanded money. The suspect got the money and left in a gray Honda Accord.

Witnesses describe the robber as black, 5 feet 10 inches tall, weighing 160 pounds and wearing a black baseball cap, black Atlanta Falcons Jersey No. 32 and black pants.

Anyone with information about this crime is asked to call the Aiken County Sheriff's Office at (803) 642-1761 or (800) 922-3211. Individuals may also call Aiken County Crime Stoppers at (803) 642-1798. Callers can remain anonymous and are eligible for a cash reward of up to $1,000.

Theft attempt nets teens probation

COLUMBUS - Three teen-agers whose 15-year-old friend was fatally shot as they fled a bicycle shop have been sentenced to probation for burglary, trespass and attempted theft.

The teens, whose names were not released because they are juveniles, climbed a 6-foot fence June 16 to get into the parts yard outside the bike shop owned by Jack Tant.

Jermaine Long, 15, was killed by a shotgun blast. Mr. Tant, who has been charged with murder, says he fired at the boys because they were armed with a claw hammer, a knife and lawnmower blades.

The three surviving boys were sentenced Thursday by Juvenile Court Judge Aaron Cohn, who ordered them to pay $500 in restitution to Mr. Tant, 73, who is free on $60,000 bond.

Judge's son jailed on drug charge

MARIETTA - The son of a newly appointed Superior Court judge has been charged with trafficking cocaine.

A June 23 arrest warrant says police found almost 290 grams of cocaine in the apartment of 18-year-old Trenton Robert Flournoy.

His father is Rob Flournoy III, who was recently picked by the governor to fill a new judgeship in Cobb County. The boy's grandfather, Rob Flournoy Jr., is the county's senior Superior Court judge.

Mr. Flournoyis being held at the Cobb County jail.

Four other men also were arrested on drug charges - Justin William Dolan, Matthew James Watson, Dominic Christopher Price and Chad Jason Price, all from Marietta.

County wildfire alerts removed

COLUMBIA - The red flag wildfire alert in five western counties has been lifted by the state Forestry Commission.

The warning for Abbeville, Edgefield, Greenwood, McCormick and Saluda counties was lifted Friday.

It is the first time since May 26 that none of the state is under the alert. Recent rain showers have reduced the danger of wildfires, said Don Robinson, an area forester.

The red flag alert does not prohibit outdoor burning, but warns of increased wildfire dangers.

False deposit box discovered

ANDERSON - Authorities in the Upstate are trying to determine who set up a fake night deposit box outside a local bank.

Anderson police Lt. Layton Creamer said a suspicious customer reported the box after the customer touched the box and it shifted.

Lt. Creamer said the fake deposit box was made of metal and had a plastic bag attached to catch deposits.

"It was built fairly well, but I think most people would be able to tell it wasn't real," he said.

Police don't think any money was put in the box. The FBI also is involved in the investigation.

Attorney: Meeting violated law

COLUMBIA - A closed meeting involving members of Richland County Council and the Richland District 1 School Board violated the state's open meeting law, a media attorney says.

The meeting Wednesday was a "gross violation of public trust," said Jay Bender, an attorney for the South Carolina Press Association and the South Carolina Broadcasters Association.

The two bodies were discussing the county's proposal to create a special tax district for mill villages in Columbia.

"I don't know of anything that would have allowed them to go out of public view to decide how to spend tax money," Mr. Bender said. "I would suspect there's a horse trade going on."

School board attorney Susan Williams said she thinks the board and council were justified in closing the meeting.

"Our board needed to work through certain legal and contractual matters with the council," she said.


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