Originally created 10/03/00

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Divers find gun suspected in killing

WAYNESBORO - Divers recovered the gun investigators suspect was used to kill Theodore Hicks, 29, whose body was found Friday behind a burning home in a secluded area of Burke County, Sheriff Greg Coursey said.

The gun, a 9 mm Taurus, was found in Brier Creek near a bridge off Georgia Highway 56 around 1 p.m. Monday by the Burke County Dive Team and Emergency Management personnel, the sheriff said.

Police say 17-year-old Willie Allen, who has been charged with murder in the slaying, threw the gun into the creek Wednesday. Police say Mr. Allen told investigators he dumped Mr. Hicks body behind a house off Munnerlynn-Alexander Road. He then drove away in Mr. Hicks' car but returned to the house Thursday night with his cousin, Ronnie Allen, and torched the car and body, Sheriff Coursey said.

Ronnie Allen surrendered to police Saturday and was charged with concealing the death of another.

An autopsy report showed Mr. Hicks died from a single gunshot wound to his heart. The gun allegedly belonged to him, Sheriff Coursey said.

Man charged in deputy's death

SALUDA - A Saluda County man was charged Monday with felony DUI and possession of an open container in the death of an Edgefield County sheriff's deputy nearly two weeks ago, said South Carolina Highway Patrol Lance Cpl. Jeff Daniels.

Alejandro Perez, 42, of Monetta, is being held without bond in Saluda County Detention Center pending trial, Lance Cpl. Daniels said.

Deputy Allen "Pete" Myers, 29, died in a traffic accident Sept. 19 on South Carolina Highway 23, just east of Ridge Spring in Saluda County. He was taking a youth to the Department of Juvenile Justice in Columbia when Mr. Perez drove his Ford van over the center line and struck the officer's patrol car.

The deputy's car overturned several times and landed in a peach orchard. He and the juvenile passenger both were wearing seat belts, but Deputy Myers was pronounced dead at the scene.

Sheriff's officials set up a trust fund for Deputy Myers' 1-year-old son, A.J., at Regions Bank, 201 Columbia Road, Edgefield, SC 29824. Donations can be mailed or dropped off at the bank in Deputy Myers' name.

Man faces charge in Citgo robbery

An Augusta man was charged Monday with armed robbery in the holdup of a convenience store, but officials still were searching for a woman who was shown on a videotape of the robbery.

Charles Spivey, 19, of Augusta was arrested by Richmond County sheriff's deputies and was being held in the Richmond County jail. He also was charged with possession of a firearm, said Lt. Michael Frank of the Aiken County Sheriff's Office.

Aiken officials had been searching for two people who walked into the Hilltop Citgo on Jefferson Davis Highway in North Augusta shortly after 4 p.m. Sunday and robbed the clerk at gunpoint. The man stood by the counter while the woman attempted to buy candy, officials said. When the clerk opened the register for the sale, the man brandished a double-barreled handgun and demanded money, Lt. Frank said.

The couple took an undisclosed amount of cash and left in a green, four-door car with a Georgia tag. Officials continued their search Monday night for the woman.

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

Oliver submits resignation

After signing an employment contract to become the new city manager of Greenville, S.C., Augusta Administrator Randy Oliver submitted his resignation letter to city officials Monday afternoon.

In his letter, Mr. Oliver told the mayor and county commissioners that his last day will be Oct. 27. He listed several tasks he aims to complete before he leaves, including a balanced budget presentation, a prioritized list of sales tax projects, the capital improvement plan schedule for utility projects and recommended changes to the county's pension plan.

"It has been an honor to serve you and the citizens of Augusta-Richmond County as the first administrator of the consolidated government," Mr. Oliver wrote. "(My wife) Valorie and I will always have fond memories of Augusta and the fine people that live here."

At today's commission meeting, city officials are slated to discuss ways of filling the city administrator's position.

Court upholds murder conviction

ATLANTA - The Georgia Supreme Court upheld the murder conviction of a young Augusta man who took part in the killing of his lover's husband in 1997.

In an opinion released Monday, the court found Larry Kelley was fairly tried and convicted in Richmond County Superior Court on murder charges for the May 11, 1997, shooting death of Army Staff Sgt. Kevin Spann.

The 35-year-old gulf war veteran was gunned down when he answered the front door at his home. The same night, sheriff investigators arrested Mr. Kelley, then 19; the victim's wife, Gina Spann; and the actual shooter and his accomplice, teen-agers Matthew Piazzi and Gerald Horne. Another teen, Christopher Bargeron, also was arrested in the murder conspiracy.

Mr. Kelley, Mr. Piazzi and Mr. Horne were convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole. Ms. Spann pleaded guilty to murder charges, and she is serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole. Mr. Bargeron is serving a five-year prison sentence for conspiracy to commit murder.

Child found in home with bodies

OAKWOOD - A 2-year-old girl was found unharmed in a house where a man and a woman died in an apparent murder-suicide.

Hall County sheriff's deputies went to the home in Oakwood after witnesses heard shots at about 12:30 p.m. Sunday.

Investigators found the body of Valerie Brown, 24, in the carport and the body of Jason Scott Rayburn, 27, in one of the bedrooms, said Capt. Murray Kogod of the sheriff's department. Authorities said the two had recently moved to Georgia from Nebraska.

Sheriff Bob Vass said the deaths appeared to be a murder-suicide, but he was awaiting autopsy results. The 2-year-old was taken into state custody.


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