Originally created 10/31/00

Across the area



AUGUSTA
State's high court disbars local lawyer

The Georgia Supreme Court has disbarred Augusta area attorney Wayne P. Thigpen, whose law license was voluntarily suspended in February 1999.

In an opinion released Monday, the state Supreme Court ruled Mr. Thigpen violated several ethics codes when he accepted payment from four clients and then failed to provide them any services.

Mr. Thigpen had been instructed to satisfy certain conditions imposed by the court in February 1999: return client files, reimburse all unearned fees and obtain a psychiatric report and favorable evaluation from the Lawyer Assistance Program, according to the Supreme Court decision.

The court also voiced displeasure with the State Bar of Georgia's handling of Mr. Thigpen's case.

AIKEN
Businesses will have treats for all

Autistic children or young people on wheat and dairy-free diets can go trick-or-treating in downtown Aiken today as participating businesses will have treats for special needs children in addition to regular trick-or-treating handouts.

There will be several kinds of nonedible items available, and a few gluten-free and casein-free items in selected stores. All GFCF participating businesses will display a special banner on their door or window.

Trick-or-treating is held on Laurens and Richland streets in downtown Aiken from 3 to 5 p.m.

NORTH AUGUSTA
McDonald's, employees robbed

Four men robbed the McDonald's restaurant in North Augusta early Saturday and forced four employees into the store freezer, according to a North Augusta Public Safety Department report.

One of the employees told police that four men between 20 and 25 years old came into the restaurant on Georgia Avenue through an unlocked door at about 12:30 p.m. Saturday. Once inside, they demanded that all employees get on the floor. The men then robbed one of the employees before taking money from a cash register drawer that was on a desk in the office. The men also took money from the store safe, the report stated.

The men were armed with semiautomatic handguns and a 9 mm and were wearing white T-shirt masks. Before leaving, they put all of the employees in the freezer, the report stated.

RICHMOND COUNTY
Second shooting suspect arrested

Police arrested a second man Monday in connection with an Oct. 3 shooting in a Washington Road hotel room, according to a Richmond County Sheriff's Department lieutenant.

Police arrested Reginald Carldaro Harris, 23, and charged him with armed robbery, aggravated assault, kidnapping and possession of a firearm during commission of a crime, a police report stated.

Revandos Santos Morgan, 20, was charged with the same offenses when he turned himself in the morning after the shooting that injured Michael Warner, 19. Mr. Warner was shot in the thigh, according to police reports.

Mr. Warner told police that Mr. Morgan abducted him from his Wylds Court residence the night of Oct. 3 and took him to Knights Inn. A fight occurred in the room and the gun fired, striking him in the leg, Lt. Jack Francisco said.

An investigator on the scene said three shots were fired, and one of them went into an adjoining room. Deputies later caught two men in that room smoking marijuana, the investigator said.

NORTH AUGUSTA
Woman takes cash from Food Lion

A woman robbed the Food Lion grocery story in North Augusta early Sunday morning, according to a North Augusta Public Safety Department report.

The woman entered the store on Georgia Avenue at about 1:15 a.m. Sunday and took a bottle of water from a cooler near the check-out counter. She then ordered the clerk to open the cash register, reached into the register, removed the money and ran out the door, the report stated.

AUGUSTA
Downtown project review set

Augusta Tomorrow Inc. will have an open house Wednesday from 4:30 to 6 p.m. to review comments on recommendations for the city center made by the consultant team LDR International Inc.

The project would overhaul part of downtown from 15th Street to East Boundary Street and from Laney Walker Boulevard to the Savannah River.

The open house will be at 1283 Broad St., formerly Ambrosia in the Garden. For more information, call Augusta Tomorrow Inc. at (706) 722-9100.

RICHMOND COUNTY
Woman reports being raped

An Augusta woman reported being raped early Sunday morning by a man who knocked on her door asking for directions, according to a Richmond County Sheriff's Department report.

The Chester Avenue resident told police that when she opened the door, the man pushed his way in, pushed her onto a couch and raped her.

The man was described as black, and was driving a burgandy van, the report stated.

SOUTH CAROLINA
House fire kills at least four

JONESVILLE - The rock chimney was the only thing standing after fire swept through a rural house early Monday, killing four people.

"It burnt real fast, and the victims were dispersed throughout the house. It's been tough to even determine how many victims we had," Union County Sheriff Howard Wells said.

Dental records and X-rays would be needed to identify those killed, county Coroner William Holcombe said.

The location of most of the bodies near burned-out bedsprings indicated the victims were probably asleep, Jonesville Fire Chief Jimmy Wilkins said.

A wood-burning stove might have been the cause of the blaze that was reported at about 3 a.m., he said.

SOUTH CAROLINA
Condon seeks more fraud penalty

COLUMBIA - South Carolina should increase the penalties for insurance fraud, including jail time for repeat offenders, Attorney General Charlie Condon says.

The average South Carolina family pays nearly $1,000 in extra premiums and other costs because of insurance fraud each year, Mr. Condon said Monday.

"These criminals are literally picking the pocket of every South Carolinian," he said.

To reduce the problem, the General Assembly should make insurance fraud convictions after the first one a felony, with a jail sentence of at least one year and without the possibility of parole, probation or a suspended sentence, Mr. Condon said.