Originally created 02/10/01

Across the area



AUGUSTA
Judge grants bond in shooting death

A young Augusta man accused of murder was granted a $100,000 bond Friday in a case his defense attorney described as self-defense.

Chad Pearson, 24, had been held without bond since his Jan. 22 arrest in the shooting of 45-year-old Larry Davis outside Mr. Pearson's Oakland Avenue home. Judge Albert M. Pickett granted bond for Mr. Pearson in Richmond County Superior Court.

Mr. Pearson, an Aiken Technical College student, had a verbal altercation with Mr. Davis earlier in the day, and Mr. Davis returned with a pipe, said Assistant District Attorney Shauna Reeves. A witness told investigators, however, that Mr. Davis was retreating when Mr. Pearson shot him, Ms. Reeves said.

But attorney Pete Theodocion told the judge that Mr. Davis was the aggressor. He said Mr. Davis was acting erratically that day and advanced on Mr. Pearson holding a long pipe in one hand and reaching behind his back with the other as if reaching for a gun. Mr. Pearson shot only once and immediately called 911 and reported what happened, Mr. Theodocion said.

Mr. Pearson has no prior criminal history, both attorneys noted.

AUGUSTA
Long plane-crash probe predicted

As with any plane crash, it could take the National Transportation Safety Board up to a year to determine what caused a Cessna 210 to nosedive into trees as the pilot attempted to land at Daniel Field on Thursday.

The NTSB and the Federal Aviation Administration have begun examining the crash, but finalizing such an investigation usually takes at least six months, officials said.

So far, nothing stands out as an obvious cause, FAA Safety Inspector Randall Gibson said. Pilot John Kramer, 55, who suffered only cuts and bruises, said he does not think he ran out of fuel.

"Fuel was leaking from the wings when it was upside down" hanging from the trees, he said Thursday.

Mr. Kramer, a charter pilot for Fayetteville, Ga.-based Southern Air Charter, said the engine cut out about three miles from the airport.

NTSB Investigator Phil Powell said he will examine the plane's airframe and engine once it is moved to a salvage facility in Griffin, Ga. The FAA will look into the plane's airworthiness, pilot qualifications and the handling of air traffic.

AUGUSTA
Infoline undergoes upgrade

The Augusta Chronicle's Infoline service will be down for the weekend while new hardware is installed in the system.

Mark Chapin, director of Morris Network Services, said he expects the system to be up and running by Monday.

Much of the information available through Infoline, such as lottery numbers and sports scores, can be found at www.augustachronicle.com.

AUGUSTA
Judge denies bond in bad-check caseAn Augusta middle school teacher facing theft and racketeering charges must await possible indictment and trial behind bars, a judge ruled Friday.

In Richmond County Superior Court, Judge Albert M. Pickett denied bond for Geraldine F. Burton, 36, who is charged with four counts of theft by deception, two counts of negotiating bad checks and one count of violating the state's Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations law.

Assistant District Attorney Shauna Reeves told the judge that Ms. Burton and Marilyn McDonald, 42, printed up fake payroll checks beginning in November. The checks, estimated to total in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, were passed in Augusta, Aiken and Columbia County, Ms. Reeves said. Ms. McDonald printed two checks to pay for a new Mercedes, she added.

Defense attorney Harry James asked for bond for the college graduate and Tubman Middle School teacher who has been on the job for 11 years. Ms. Burton, he said, innocently accepted the checks as repayments for loans she made to Ms. McDonald.

Ms. McDonald, who also faces charges of negotiating bad checks, is also being held in jail without bond.

NORTH AUGUSTA
Firefighters contain blaze

Firefighters with the North Augusta Department of Public Safety were able to extinguish an apartment fire before it could spread to adjoining units Friday afternoon.

The department was summoned to Crossroads Market Apartments on the 400 block of East Martintown Road at about 1:40 p.m. Deloris Monroe, 63, was in the kitchen when she heard smoke detectors. She saw smoke in the hallway, found that her bed was on fire and called 911, according to Detective Tim Thornton.

The woman was treated on the scene for smoke inhalation. Her apartment suffered fire damage, and surrounding apartments suffered minor smoke damage, Detective Thornton said.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but preliminary findings indicate it started in a bedroom with an unattended cigarette, according to the department.

NORTH AUGUSTA
Woman robs grocery store

The North Augusta Department of Public Safety is looking for a heavy-set white woman who robbed the all-night Food Lion store on Georgia Avenue early Friday.

Detective Tim Thornton said the woman approached a female clerk at a checkout line just before 4 a.m. She said it was a holdup, and told her to open the register and move out of the way.

The clerk complied, and the woman reached into the drawer and took an undisclosed amount of cash, Detective Thornton said. The pair fled in a car that had been parked outside with a man waiting at the wheel.

Police were unable to obtain solid descriptions from witnesses, police said. Anyone with information is asked to call the department at 279-2121.

GEORGIA
Man convicted in child-sex sale

ATLANTA - A jury has convicted a 38-year-old man of selling a 12-year-old girl for sex.

The Superior Court jury found Andrew Moore guilty of pimping and statutory rape because he made the girl available to another man for $60.

Thursday's conviction was part of a crackdown on prostitution of young girls. The case was the first of about a dozen the Fulton County district attorney's office is bringing against men who peddle children for sex - a misdemeanor in Georgia.

Prosecutors instead have filed felony charges such as statutory rape, false imprisonment and aggravated assault.

Mr. Moore faces up to 20 years in prison when he is sentenced next week.