Originally created 05/03/01

Across the area

Coroner identifies man struck by car

Augusta officials have identified the man who died after walking into the path of a car on a Calhoun Expressway exit ramp Tuesday night.

Patrick L. Burks, 30, of the 100 block of East Walker Street was pronounced dead at Medical College of Georgia Hospital at 11:23 p.m. Tuesday, Richmond County Coroner Leroy Sims said.

Witnesses said Mr. Burks walked out of the bushes into the path of a car driven by Donald DeWayne Newman, 17, of the 1900 block of Walker Street, Richmond County Sheriff's Office Maj. Richard Weaver said.

Mr. Newman was driving east on the expressway and was exiting onto the Eve Street ramp around 9:45 p.m. as Mr. Burks was crossing the ramp, Maj. Weaver said.

No charges were filed in the accident.

Investigator seeks fire's cause

Augusta-Richmond County Fire investigator Lt. G.B. Hannan wants to know what caused a home in the Pinnacle Place subdivision to go up in flames early Wednesday.

The owner of the house on the 4000 block of Pinnacle Way, Charles Ingram, was out of town on business at the time. A neighbor notified the department of the fire around 2:30 a.m. Flames shot from the roof as fire trucks arrived and had so consumed the interior that crews initially had to fight the blaze from the outside, Lt. Hannan said.

About a dozen firefighters spent about 40 minutes bringing the fire under control. The house was destroyed.

Lt. Hannan said he will return to the scene this morning to look for a cause - a cumbersome task given the extensive damage. The fire appears to have started in the living room-kitchen area, he said.

"I've got to dig," Lt. Hannan said.

Man charged in store burglary

A police stakeout of an Augusta business plagued by smash-and-grab burglaries caught a man early Tuesday morning, according to the Richmond County Sheriff's Office.

Officers arrested Tyrone Johnson, 29, of the 1400 block of Garrett Lane, and charged him with one count of burglary of Pratt-Dudley Builders Supply at 1002 University Place, according to a report.

Police set up the stakeout near the business after several burglaries during which the thief broke a window, grabbed tools and ran away before officers could respond to the burglar alarm, Maj. Ken Autry said.

At 4:20 a.m. Wednesday, a deputy on the stakeout heard a loud noise and saw a man go into the building. Officers followed and caught Mr. Johnson with tools in his hands, Maj. Autry said.

Event honors transplant hopeful

Augustan Aaron Booher will throw the first pitch for the Augusta GreenJackets-Macon Braves game at 7:05 p.m. Friday at Lake Olmstead.

MAU Human Resources and Staffing Services, the sponsor of the event, will contribute $1 for each person in the stands to the Children's Organ Transplant Association for Aaron campaign.

Supporters have raised $95,000 of an estimated $100,000 needed to cover transplant expenses for 13-year-old Aaron, a cystic fibrosis patient on a list to get a double-lung transplant.

For more information on COTA for Aaron, call 790-8630. Donations also are being accepted at any First Union National Bank and can be mailed directly to COTA, 2501 COTA Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403. Checks should be made payable to "COTA for Aaron" and include the account number 3000025434108 in the memo space.

Rapist, murderer denied parole

An Augusta man who has been in prison for 15 years for rape and murder will remain behind bars, the State Board of Pardons and Paroles decided recently.

Richard Lockett, 61, was sentenced to life plus 20 years in prison for the Feb. 25, 1986, murder of 40-year-old Willie Edith Smith Brown, and for the rape of another woman.

Mr. Lockett, convicted in Richmond County Superior Court, strangled Ms. Brown to death in an abandoned building on Fenwick Street.

Mr. Lockett had previously served 10 years in prison for a 1963 rape, according to Department of Corrections records.

"The board does not feel that (Mr.) Lockett deserves an early release at this time. He was convicted of two violent offenses, and we believe he would still be a danger to the public," Parole Board Chairman Walter Ray said.

Georgia law requires the board to review at specified intervals all cases of those serving life sentences. The board is not, however, required to grant parole at any specific time.

Mr. Lockett will be considered for parole again in February 2009.

Police chief undergoes surgery

JACKSON - Jackson Police Chief Dennis Rushton was listed in critical but stable condition Tuesday at St. Joseph Hospital after surgery of an undisclosed nature.

One of only nine full-time employees in the small Aiken County town, the 44-year-old police chief was hospitalized April 25 and had surgery that day, according to his wife, Carol Rushton.

While declining to disclose details of her husband's illness, she said family members "believe he is going to be OK."

Confederate observances set

AIKEN - Aiken camps of the Sons of Confederate Veterans will observe Confederate Memorial Day on Sunday at 2 p.m., four days before South Carolina's official state holiday.

Members of the Wheeler camp will place wreaths at the Confederate monument on the grounds of the Aiken County Courthouse. Members of the Bee camp will hold services at the grave of an unknown Southern soldier at Aiken's First Baptist Church.

Police cite carjacking in slaying

RIVERDALE - The slaying of a 56-year-old Riverdale man at a gas station-convenience store was probably an attempted carjacking, police said Wednesday.

When police arrived at the scene Tuesday night, two men were attempting to aid Chhon Prak, who was lying next to his car. The fuel hose from a gas pump was still attached to the car.

Mr. Prak, who was shot in the chest and the side, was taken to Atlanta Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

Police said witnesses saw Mr. Prak fighting with a man who pulled a handgun and fired at Mr. Prak.

"It appears to be a failed carjacking," Clayton County police Maj. Doug Jewett said. "I would guess the suspect realized he would have to disconnect the fuel hose and there were people around, so he decided to flee."

Principal cancels school play

DACULA - A high school production of John Steinbeck's classic Of Mice and Men was canceled by the principal after the actors refused to eliminate profanity and racially charged language.

"I'm not trying to be a prude or anything," Principal Donald Nutt said Tuesday. "I just don't want people who see the play to leave thinking that Dacula High is a bunch of racist bigots."

The play had been set to open tonight. Mr. Nutt said he saw a dress rehearsal and "was caught completely off guard."

"Drama teachers have always used common sense and removed any offensive language," he said.

Sophomore Matt Maher, cast as George, one of the lead characters, said Of Mice and Men is standard reading for 10th-graders.

"We read it, we watch the movie, and then we have to write a paper on it," he said. "I don't see how performing it is any different."


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