Originally created 08/10/00

Across the area

City reimbursed for disaster aid

The Georgia Emergency Management Agency gave Augusta a big payback Wednesday, reimbursing the government for expenditures during Hurricane Floyd evacuations last year.

A check for $13,271.61 was received by EMA Director David Dlugolenski on Wednesday, reimbursing the city for costs to shelter thousands of evacuees of September's Category 4 hurricane. An estimated 375,000 Georgians were temporarily displaced from their homes, and more than 2 million Florida and South Carolina residents were evacuated as a precautionary measure as Floyd's winds reached in excess of 130 mph.

Local money was used to pay for the planning, staffing and operation of 11 evacuation shelters in Augusta. For more information about disaster preparedness, call the local EMA office at 821-1155.

Police seek clues in homicide

Aiken investigators continue to field calls from people regarding the death of 17-year-old Jessica Lynne Carpenter, and they are urging residents to keep the calls coming.

Even the smallest detail or piece of information could help the homicide investigation, said Capt. Tom Galardi of the Aiken Department of Public Safety.

"The calls are very helpful. They are helping us either eliminate things or helping us add pieces to the puzzle," he said.

Jessica was killed Friday at her Brentwood Place home in Crosland Park. Her mother, Judy, returned home at about 6 p.m. and discovered her daughter's body.

An autopsy showed the teen died from internal bleeding and lack of oxygen, but authorities will not be more specific on the cause of death. The motive is unknown.

Anyone with information on the slaying is asked to call the Aiken Department of Public Safety at (803) 642-7620.

Man sentenced to 42 years

Shawn Hicks wasn't in court for his criminal trial in June. Nor did he have an attorney. In fact, the wooden defense table was bare during the trial.

Nonetheless, an Aiken County jury convicted him of three felony charges, and the judge decided on a sentence.

On Wednesday, a few weeks after police found Mr. Hicks, Circuit Judge William Keesley opened the sealed sentence and sent him to prison for 42 years on drug, kidnapping and robbery charges.

Mr. Hicks was one of three people charged in a drug sting that went awry in February 1999 when the trio discovered the undercover agent was wearing a microphone, police said. The trio ripped the microphone off the agent, took his money and wouldn't let him go.

The agent eventually was released, and police charged Mr. Hicks with distribution of crack cocaine, strongarmed robbery and kidnapping. Co-defendants Marion Johnson and James Hicks have been sentenced for their roles in the incident.

Assistant Public Defender Paulette Jones has since been appointed to represent Mr. Hicks. After the sentencing hearing Wednesday, Ms. Jones asked Judge Keesley to grant Mr. Hicks a new trial because he wasn't properly notified that his original attorney did not want to represent him.

Judge Keesley is expected to rule on the motion this week.

Police chase ends in crash

A car chase in southern McDuffie County ended in a fiery crash late Wednesday, after a woman driving a stolen car lost control on a curve and drove into a ditch.

A McDuffie County Sheriff's Department patrol car began chasing the Ford Tempo at about 8:20 p.m. near the Jefferson County line, according to the Georgia State Patrol. As the car rounded a sharp turn on Hobbs Mill Road near Briar Creek, it sped off the roadway into a ditch, then burst into flames.

The driver of the car, Brenda Amerson, was taken to Medical College of Georgia Hospital with minor injuries, police said. Criminal and traffic charges are pending, according to the state patrol.

Confederate sub study continues

CHARLESTON - The Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley, brought safely home to a tumultuous welcome after 136 years on the ocean floor, now rests in a tank of cool, fresh water at a conservation lab as researchers prepare to unlock the mysteries behind the first sub in history to sink a warship.

It will be weeks before the submarine is opened, though, as researchers map the outside and determine the best way to excavate the remains of the crew and the other artifacts inside.

The hand-cranked Hunley, made from locomotive boilers, sank with its crew of nine after ramming a spar with a charge of black powder into the hull of the Union blockade ship Housatonic on Feb. 17, 1864.

The Hunley was raised from the ocean floor off Sullivans Island on Tuesday and thousands watched along the harbor as it was brought to the conservation lab.

Man pleads guilty to videotaping

COLUMBUS - A Columbus computer programmer pleaded guilty Tuesday to placing a video camera under a department store clerk's dress without her realizing she was being videotaped.

Willie L. Walton, 24, was fined $1,000 and sentenced to four years' probation and 10 weekends in jail for clandestine surveillance.

According to court records, Mr. Walton went into the store April 16 with a digital video recorder the size of a pocket dictionary inside a carrying case, approached the 17-year-old clerk and placed the camera beneath her so it would record.

Mall security guards saw him, taped him on security cameras and apprehended him before the clerk realized what was happening, authorities said. The tapes have since been given to the clerk.

Police said Mr. Walton told them he got the idea off the Internet.

Civil rights leader leaves hospital

ATLANTA - Civil rights activist Hosea Williams has been released from Piedmont Hospital after 11 days of treatment to improve his nutrition as he battles cancer.

Mr. Williams, who checked into Piedmont on July 28, was in fair condition when he left Tuesday night, hospital spokeswoman Nina Montanaro said.

Mr. Williams, 74, has been undergoing periodic chemotherapy since his October surgery to remove a cancerous kidney. He had been in the hospital three or four other times since his surgery.

Four charged in bad-check spree

NORTH CHARLESTON - Three transvestites and another man have been arrested after they went on a $1,600 shopping spree with computer-made fake checks and Tennessee driver's licenses, police said.

The three transvestites told police they are taking female hormones to prepare for a sex change operation. Investigators were trying to verify their identities. They are being held at the Charleston jail.

The fourth man, 20-year-old Quincy Jamaal Williams, of Charleston, has been charged with seven counts of forgery.

Investigators say a group of four men, three dressed as women, made purchases at several stores at Northwoods Mall. They bought everything from frilly nightgowns to the Bible on tape. But the men mostly shopped the women's departments, buying purses, lotions, underwear and a romance novel, among other items. The men were arrested after buying a $260 purse in a Belk department store.

Firefighters use Web to prepare

GREENVILLE - Spurred by the difficulties in providing help to Florida two years ago, South Carolina firefighters hope the Internet will help them respond better in the future.

The South Carolina Firefighter Mobilization Oversight Committee plans to have a complete listing of available equipment and firefighters posted on an Internet site by spring.

The need for a new system became clear when Florida asked for help with its wildfires in 1998, said Phill Jolley, chief of the Pelham-Batesville Fire Department.

Chief Jolley and other officials with the South Carolina State Fireman's Association had trouble finding a current list of available personnel and equipment then.

Having the information available on the Internet will decrease the mountain of paperwork that comes with insuring and sending trucks and firefighters out of their jurisdiction, Chief Jolley said.

Marine recruit shoots self in foot

BEAUFORT - A recruit shot himself in the foot with an M-16 rifle during field training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot at Parris Island, base spokesman Maj. Bryan Salas said.

Bartholomeu D. Phillips, 18, of Knoxville, Tenn., shot himself Tuesday and was taken to Beaufort Memorial Hospital, where he is in good condition, Maj. Salas said.

The recruit was on the firing line cleaning his weapon when the rifle fired, Maj. Salas said. The incident is under investigation.

Ex-deputy pleads in taping case

COLUMBIA - A former Lexington County sheriff's deputy has pleaded no contest to a charge in the videotaping of a conversation between a slaying suspect and his lawyer.

David Grice made no admissions in the plea to a civil rights violation in federal court Tuesday. He did not deny making the five-minute recording in 1995 of the conversation between B.J. Quattlebaum and his attorney at the time, Jack Duncan.

Immediately after the taping at the sheriff's department, Mr. Quattlebaum was charged with killing William Swartz, 33.

Mr. Quattlebaum was sentenced to death after a trial in which the tape was not used as evidence. But the South Carolina Supreme Court overturned the conviction, calling the taping a case of misconduct by prosecutors, one of whom was present during the taping.

Mr. Grice faces up to one year in prison and a fine of $100,000 when he is sentenced.


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