Originally created 05/01/01

Across the area



AUGUSTA
Head-on collision kills Florida driver

A Florida woman was killed and her two passengers were injured Monday in a head-on crash on Gordon Highway, a Richmond County sheriff's major said.

Marie Brown Stacy, 21, of Miami, was pronounced dead at Medical College of Georgia Hospital after the 1:27 p.m. collision, Maj. Richard Weaver said.

Passengers Felicia Brown, 19, and Lekeyla Huger, 19, both of Cross, S.C., were listed in good condition at the hospital Monday afternoon, hospital spokeswoman Karen Shipp said.

Charles Prope, who was driving a tanker truck for Howard Sheppard Inc. eastbound on Gordon Highway, turned left onto Olive Road on a red light, Maj. Weaver said. The truck collided head-on with Ms. Stacy's Chevrolet Lumina, which was headed westbound on Gordon Highway, he said.

Mr. Prope, of the 4600 block of Rollins Road, was not injured. He has been charged with running a red light and second-degree vehicular homicide, Maj. Weaver said.

AIKEN COUNTY
Officers seek man in shooting

The Aiken County Sheriff's Office is looking for a man in the shooting of a Belvedere man during an argument outside an American Legion post.

Police said the men argued about a woman outside the post on Liberty Hill Road about 2 a.m. Sunday. A man drew a pistol and shot Exzradrian Holloway, 23, in the right leg, then walked to a vehicle and drove away, police said. Mr. Holloway was treated at University Hospital, where he was listed in good condition Monday.

The gunman is described as black, 25 years old, 5-feet, 9-inches tall and 160 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes.

WAGENER
Officials investigate boy's death

The Aiken County Sheriff's Office is investigating the early Monday death of a 5-month-old Wagener boy, authorities said.

Bradley T. Salley, of Holley Street in Wagener, was pronounced dead at 1:02 a.m. at Aiken Regional Medical Centers, Deputy Coroner Tim Carlton said. An autopsy performed Monday in Newberry showed no immediate cause of death, but the coroner's office will have to wait a few weeks for toxicology and microscopic tests, he said.

The boy, who suffered from asthma and bronchitis, was the son of Rose Staley and Bobby Salley, who have been questioned in the death, Mr. Carlton said.

The baby was left sleeping on a bed with the father Sunday while the mother went to do laundry, he said.

"Apparently, (the father) went to sleep, and when she came home, (she) woke him up and said, `Hey, where's the baby?' And he says, `I don't know.' And she looks around the room and finds the baby beside the bed near the wall in between the bed and the wall," Mr. Carlton said.

The couple then called 911, but EMS officials arrived to find the baby unconscious. EMS arrived at the hospital at 11:30 p.m., and doctors declared Bradley dead about 90 minutes later, Mr. Carlton said. There were no signs of abuse, he said.

RICHMOND COUNTY
Second arrested in pizza theft

Two pizzas stolen from Papa John's Pizza were worth about $20. For the men accused of stealing them April 20 by brandishing a screwdriver and beating a delivery man, they may cost much more.

Richmond County sheriff's Investigator William Walker made a second arrest in the case Monday afternoon. He took Tyrell Morris, 17, of the 2600 block of Barclay Street in Hephzibah, into custody at the Richmond County Law Enforcement Center and charged him with armed robbery, according to department records. Antoine Parris, 20, of the 2600 block of Edmonton Street in Hephzibah, was arrested Wednesday on the same charge, which carries a minimum 10-year sentence under Georgia law.

According to investigators, someone called a 31-year-old Papa John's employee to an empty house in the 2600 block of Cross Creek Road at 11:15 p.m. April 20. Two men were waiting for him. One wielded a screwdriver, and both beat the workeruntil he dropped the pizzas and fled.

COLUMBIA COUNTY
Part of Baston Road will close

Utility work will temporarily close a section of Baston Road beginning Wednesday.

The road will be closed to through traffic from Phillips Drive to Old Ferry Road from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday to allow for utility work associated with a road-widening project.

Drivers are asked to take alternative routes.

AUGUSTA
Officials look for three robbers

Police are seeking men who robbed two convenience stores during the weekend, the Richmond County Sheriff's Office reports.

Officers are looking for two men who robbed a customer at J.C. Food Mart, 1625 Gordon Highway, about 9:30 p.m. Saturday and forced him into as cooler before robbing the store cash register, Maj. Ken Autry said.

The customer was at the door when he was struck from behind and knocked to the floor by a robber, who held him down while the other man took cash from his pockets, Maj. Autry said.

After forcing the customer into the cooler, they knocked the clerk down and ordered her to open the safe. When she told them she couldn't, they took the money in the register and left, Maj. Autry said.

One of the robbers was described as black, 6 feet tall, slim, with short hair. He was dressed in camouflage clothing and had a gray scarf covering his mouth. The other man was black, 5-feet, 6-inches tall and 135 pounds. He was wearing a dark-blue jacket and had a gray scarf around his face. Both men carried long-barreled revolvers.

Police also are seeking a man who robbed the Holiday Market at 2061 Central Ave. about 11:30 p.m. Friday, Maj. Autry said.

The man approached the clerk as she was going outside, told her he had a gun in his pocket and ordered her back inside to get the money from the register, Maj. Autry said.

The robber was described as black, about 5-feet, 8-inches tall and 140 pounds, with a mustache, goatee and horn-rimmed glasses. He wore black sweat pants and a gray sweat shirt and had a white towel draped over his head, Maj. Autry said.

AUGUSTA
Gunman ordered back to prison

An Augusta man who committed an armed robbery and shooting and a home invasion the next day - all while on parole - is headed back to prison.

Darnell B. Dennis, 30, pleaded guilty Monday to two counts of armed robbery, one count of robbery, three counts of terroristic threats, two counts of aggravated assault and two weapons violations. He faced a maximum 125 years in prison. Richmond County Superior Court Judge J. Carlisle Overstreet sentenced Mr. Dennis to serve 20 years in prison, followed by seven years' probation.

Mr. Dennis' accomplice, Sherrie L. Walker, 18, who had no previous criminal record, was sentenced earlier this month to 10 years in prison followed by 10 years' probation.

Mr. Dennis and Ms. Walker, according to their attorneys, were on a crack cocaine binge in December when they ran out of drugs and money. With Ms. Walker as his driver, Mr. Dennis held up two people at gunpoint Dec. 5 in the Shapiro Packing Co. parking lot and shot at two people who chased the getaway car. The next day, Mr. Dennis held up several people in a home invasion.

Mr. Dennis previously was convicted of armed robbery in August 1991.

SOUTH CAROLINA
Court says SLED went too far

COLUMBIA - The State Law Enforcement Division wrongly denied a man convicted of a sex crime the right to buy a gun after he was pardoned, the South Carolina Court of Appeals says.

"We share SLED's concern as to the safety of the public in allowing those previously convicted but later pardoned of a violent crime to possess a firearm," the judges wrote in the decision released Monday. But, "had the Legislature so intended, it could have expressly excluded gun possession from those rights restored upon receipt of a pardon of a crime of violence."

In 1996, James R. Brunson tried to buy a .25-caliber pistol at a gun store in Aiken. The Firearms Transaction Center at SLED denied his application, citing his 1984 conviction for criminal sexual conduct, which is considered a violent crime.

Mr. Brunson said his right to buy, own and possess a firearm was restored when he received a pardon in 1991. State law says a pardon restores civil rights lost as a result of a conviction but only lists seven rights, such as the right to vote and hold public office.

GEORGIA
Ex-lawmaker, wife head to prison

ATLANTA - A former state representative and his former wife were sentenced to federal prison after pleading guilty to a mortgage fraud scheme.

Bill Goodwin, who served seven terms in the Georgia Legislature from Norcross, received a three-year sentence and was ordered to pay $9.7 million in restitution. He pleaded guilty to eight charges of mail fraud and one count of wire fraud in December 2000.

Janet Wesselhoft, who served as Mr. Goodwin's business manager when they were married, was sentenced to 21 months in prison and ordered to pay $164,000 in restitution after pleading guilty to bank fraud.

Both will serve three years of supervised release.

They were indicted Feb. 16, 2000, after the government said they fraudulently arranged residential mortgage loans totaling more than $7.6 million in 1995.

GEORGIA
Morning newspaper ends its run

ATHENS - After more than 30 years as a two-newspaper town, Athens will have to make do with just one daily newspaper starting today.

A redesigned version of the Athens Banner-Herald will roll off the press today, replacing the Athens Daily News, the area's morning paper since 1965.

The Banner-Herald was an afternoon paper.

The Daily News grew out of a weekly advertising circular called The Athens Advertiser, which started when friends of publisher Claude Williams began offering features and editorials.

At the time, afternoon dailies were the norm, and the upstart morning publication competed with the Banner-Herald by offering an abundance of local coverage and color.

In 1967, the owners of the Banner-Herald - brothers William S. Morris III and Charles Morris - bought the Daily News. The papers maintained separate and highly competitive staffs until the two merged in the early 1980s, and they have continued to produce the morning and afternoon papers since.

The combined staff will continue to work full time for the Banner-Herald.