Originally created 10/27/01

Across the area



Bond denied in sword attack

An Augusta man accused of attacking a Richmond County sheriff's deputy with a sword was denied bond in Richmond County Superior Court on Friday.

William Henry Boyd, 43, of the 2000 block of Boykin Road, is charged with aggravated assault of a law enforcement officer. Richmond County Superior Court Judge Albert M. Pickett denied Mr. Boyd bond and ordered a mental evaluation.

According to police reports, Mr. Boyd was seen Oct. 16 walking on Broad Street with a 3-foot sword. Officers later found him sitting in front of the White Elephant Cafe, in the 1100 block of Broad Street.

When two deputies approached Mr. Boyd, he pulled the sword from its sheath. The reports state the officers used pepper spray to subdue Mr. Boyd, who still refused to give up the sword.

The deputies then tried to disarm him by striking him on the hands with batons. Mr. Boyd began to swing the sword at the officers. The officers were not injured.

Fire investigators examine two blazes

The Augusta-Richmond County Fire Department was investigating the cause of two house fires Friday.

One of the fires took place shortly before 9 a.m. at a house in the 4000 block of Windsor Spring Road that is more than 100 years old.

When firefighters arrived at the one-story wood and brick house, the structure was "totally involved," said Richmond County Battalion Chief Steve Bell.

He said the house is about 300 feet from the road, which along with windy conditions made it difficult to control the blaze. It took firefighters 45 minutes to put the fire out.

No one was home during the fire, Chief Bell said. The owners of the house had left about half an hour before it started.

Later, firefighters were called to a vacant house in the 2000 block of Leawood Court in south Augusta. When they arrived, flames were shooting through the roof of the one-story brick house, Chief Bell said.

Neighbors said the house has been vacant for several months. Chief Bell said there were no utilities hooked up to the house.

The fires caused extensive damage to both houses.

Animal control office wants name changed

The Richmond County Department of Animal Control plans to ask an Augusta Commission committee to approve a name change for the city department.

In an effort to improve the shelter's image, Director Bonnie Bragdon would like to change the department's name to Augusta Animal Services to "reflect modern times and boost public confidence in the organization."

Ms. Bragdon is proposing to implement the department's name change when a new animal shelter, funded with special purpose local option sales tax dollars, is completed. The public safety committee will consider the request Monday.

Humane society clinic will offer rabies shots

The Columbia County Humane Society's 10th Annual Rabies Clinic is scheduled for today from 1 to 2:30 p.m. at the Martinez Community Center. The cost is $5 per shot and the shot are available on a first come, first served basis.

Because of the rabies clinic, the humane society will not be adopting animals for the day.

Man gets jail time for car-crash death

McRAE -A Florida man charged with vehicular homicide in the death of an Augusta State University student last year has been sentenced to 12 years in prison.

Charles Alvin Watson, 43, of Glen St. Marys, Fla., had used cocaine and was driving too fast when he rear-ended Heather Mecham's sport utility vehicle with a livestock truck Nov. 27 on U.S. Highway 441, killing her and injuring a passenger in her vehicle.

Ms. Mecham, 20, was a dean's list student at Augusta State and former honor student at Lakeside High School.

Mr. Watson was convicted of first-degree vehicular homicide.

Harlem leaders decide on new police chief

The search for a new Harlem police chief has ended.

Mayor John Bentley announced Friday that Jerry Baldwin of Franklin, N.C., has been hired to replace current Chief Willard Askew. The decision was reached by HarlemCity Council members at a called meeting Thursday night.

Mr. Baldwin graduated from the Georgia Police Academy and worked for the Macon County Sheriff's Office from 1995 to 1998 as a criminal investigator. He is expected to begin during the first week of November.

Mr. Bentley said Mr. Baldwin will be paid $30,800 a year and that Chief Askew will stay on board for two weeks to help him get comfortable with city operations.

Mr. Askew submitted his resignation Sept. 4, saying he wanted enjoy his family and his hobbies.

State health officials investigate sickness

AIKEN -State health officials say they might learn early next week why 41 pupils, teachers and chaperones became ill at a 4-H camp in Aiken County.

The group from Nelson Elementary School in Richland County got sick Oct. 18 at the W.W. Long Leadership Center. Jan Easterling, a spokeswoman for the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, said officials are investigating to see whether the sickness could be viral or food-borne.

The pupils had a spaghetti lunch and a hamburger dinner, she said. Ms. Easterling said a health inspector visited the camp Wednesday and the state is now testing the meat, along with some lettuce and tomato, for the cause of the sickness.