Originally created 10/14/00

Across the area



AUGUSTA
Governor taps nine for medical board

A new authority aimed at fostering biotechnology in Augusta and commercializing research at Medical College of Georgia finally has some board members.

The Georgia Medical Center Authority grew out of a series of meetings in Augusta that looked at the future of MCG, biotechnology in the area and possible collaborations with other health care providers. It became effective July 1 but has been awaiting board members to be appointed.

Gov. Roy Barnes announced some of his picks Friday. They are: Robert Bailey Jr., human resources manager for Sweetheart Cup Co.; Augusta Commissioner Lee Beard; Augusta State University President William A. Bloodworth; Augusta Technical College President Terry D. Elam; Jim Finger, president and chief executive officer of Network Data Services in Evans; Dr. Matthew J. Kluger, dean of the School of Graduate Studies at MCG; T.R. Reddy, president and chief executive officer of Powerline Inc. in Augusta; MCG Health Inc. President and Chief Executive Officer Don Snell; and Dr. Louis Sullivan, president of Morehouse School of Medicine and former U.S. secretary of Health and Human Services.

Other members will be selected later. The governor's office did not know when the authority would meet.

AUGUSTA
Animal shelter plans open house

Richmond County Animal Control officials are planning an open house this morning.

Director Bonnie Bragdon said she will open the shelter to public tours and discuss animal control problems and ways that volunteers can help.

The meeting begins at 10 a.m. at the shelter on Mack Lane off Tobacco Road. For more information, call 790-6836.

GEORGIA
Rabies kills Taylor County man

ATLANTA - A 26-year-old Taylor County man has died of rabies at the Medical Center of Central Georgia in Macon, state officials reported Friday.

The man, who was not identified, died Tuesday, said the Department of Human Resources Division of Public Health.

He was initially treated at Peach County Hospital in Fort Valley on Oct. 3 before being transferred to the Macon hospital two days later, officials said.

DHR officials believe the man was infected by bats that were living in the boarding house where he was staying. The owner of the house has been notified and efforts to destroy the bats are under way.

The DHR did not release where the victim was living.

The last case of someone dying from rabies in Georgia was in 1991 in Walker County, the DHR said. There have been three fatalities from rabies in the United States this year, officials said.

GEORGIA
Police seek man in slaying

ATLANTA - Police have issued a murder warrant for a 19-year-old man accused of killing a rape suspect.

Atlanta police urged Ricardo Laron Jordan to surrender Thursday. Mr. Jordan is accused of shooting Gary Thomas to death to retaliate for the rape of an 18-year-old woman related to Mr. Jordan.

Mr. Thomas, 20, was dragged from his southwest Atlanta home and shot several times Oct. 4. Police said the 18-year-old had been raped at the house Oct. 3 and identified Mr. Thomas as one of two attackers.

The other rape suspect, Marlon Dell, 28, has been arrested.

SOUTH CAROLINA
Execution date set for murderer

COLUMBIA - The man convicted of shooting an Anderson principal on the school steps and robbing him of $67 will be executed next month, the state Supreme Court says.

Kevin Dean Young is scheduled to be put to death Nov. 3.

Mr. Young shot West Franklin Elementary School Principal Dennis Hepler outside the school Aug. 31, 1988, said state Attorney General Charlie Condon. He robbed Mr. Hepler and used the money to buy cocaine, Mr. Condon said.

Mr. Young first was convicted in 1989 and sentenced to death, but the South Carolina Supreme Court, citing errors in the sentencing phase, sent the case back to the trial court. In 1993, another jury sentenced him to die, and that was upheld by the state's high court.

Mr. Young has exhausted all state and federal appeals, Mr. Condon said.

Mr. Young's co-defendant, William Henry Bell, has an appeal pending before the state Supreme Court. Another co-defendant, John Glenn, was convicted of armed robbery and sentenced to 25 years in prison in 1988. He will be up for parole at a hearing Wednesday.

SOUTH CAROLINA
Missing woman's son charged

COLUMBIA - A Columbia man who reported his mother missing two years ago has been charged with killing her, though her body never has been found.

Jeffrey Weston, 40, was indicted on a murder count in August. He was arrested Tuesday in Seattle, where he had lived for the past 10 months, and is fighting extradition to South Carolina, the Richland County Sheriff's Department said Friday.

Frances Franchey, a 78-year-old retired teacher, was reported missing by her sister and by Mr. Weston in August 1998. It is the first case in Richland County in which a homicide warrant has been issued without evidence of a body, officials said.

Mr. Weston lived with his mother at an apartment near suburban Irmo. After her disappearance, he moved to another Columbia-area address before relocating to Seattle.

Authorities would not discuss what led them to Mr. Weston.

"We are not going to publicly comment on all of the evidence we have, but suffice it to say we are extremely confident in the case we have," Sheriff Leon Lott said.

GEORGIA
Woman pleads guilty in baby's death

GRIFFIN - A Griffin woman has pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter charges in the death of her newborn last year.

Authorities said Krisanthia Zaquay Whitner, 21, was given a 20-year sentence, with 10 years to serve. District Attorney Bill McBroom said Wednesday that there were "mitigating circumstances so we let her plead to a lesser charge."

According to investigative reports, Ms. Whitner secretly gave birth to the child May 16, 1999, clipping the umbilical cord with scissors that she asked her mother to hand her through a crack in the bathroom door.

The baby was found abandoned in a toilet in the house Ms. Whitner shared with her parents.

Ms. Whitner allegedly denied to relatives that she was pregnant.

Spalding County Coroner Ron J. Buchanan said the child died from "asphyxia due to drowning during birth."

RICHMOND COUNTY
Man faces assault charge

Richmond County police charged a 24-year-old Augusta man with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon after he allegedly shot an other man inside a car at a convenience store early Friday.

Savalas Ventrell Murray, of the 2600 block of Thomas Lane, was charged in the shooting of Willie Alfonzo Moody, 31, also of Augusta.

Police gave the following account of the incident:

Mr. Moody told investigators that he and Mr. Murray had a verbal altercation at the store on Olive Road. Mr. Murray got out of his car with a gun in his hand. Mr. Moody tried to drive away and heard a "loud pop," then noticed a flesh wound on his right knee and blood on his right arm. The rear window of his car had been blown out. Mr. Moody then drove himself to University Hospital, where he was treated and released.

NORTH CAROLINA
NAACP: Boycott still in place

CHARLOTTE - The NAACP sanctions against South Carolina are still in place, even if the boycott is in a sort of lull, state leaders said Friday at the group's annual convention.

The South Carolina branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is holding its second annual meeting in Charlotte as part of the ongoing economic boycott against South Carolina.

"We will be here until hell freezes over," said Lonnie Randolph, who is leading the state's boycott effort. "There is no reason to retreat. Justice is sometimes long in coming, but we don't have anything but time."

Mr. Randolph said sanctions are in "somewhat of a lull period," but he asked for state members for perseverance.