Originally created 01/05/02

Across the area



Man sentenced in sex crime

An Augusta man was sentenced to five years in prison Friday for having sexual contact with a minor.

Torie S. Walden, 21, pleaded guilty Friday in Richmond County Superior Court to a reduced charge of criminal attempt to commit child molestation. Chief Judge William M. Fleming Jr. imposed the prison sentence on Mr. Walden for having consensual sexual contact with a 14-year-old girl Aug. 6.

Mr. Walden, who had no prior criminal record, originally was charged with aggravated child molestation.

Authorities search for missing hunter

SANDERSVILLE -Volunteer firefighters, state troopers and Washington County sheriff's deputies have been searching for a missing Florida man since Thursday evening, after he was reported missing in a hunting area near the Oconee River.

James Phillips, 65, was traveling with a group of two or three people when he became separated while hunting for deer in a heavily wooded area southwest of Sandersville, police said.

A group of more than 30 officers and volunteers, traveling on foot and in helicopters, searched for Mr. Phillips until 3 a.m. Friday. They resumed searching at daylight, a spokesman for the Washington County Sheriff's Office said.

Temperatures dropped into the teens overnight, and it's unclear what kind of supplies, if any, the hunter was carrying.

"It's going to be hard for him to survive it," said Lt. Jay Etheridge of the Washington County Sheriff's Office.

"We're just hoping for the best, but the more time that goes by, the worse it gets."

Burn center doctors will offer aid in Peru

An Augusta team will leave today to help burn victims in Peru. A team from the Joseph Still Burn Center at Doctors Hospital had been scheduled to leave Friday but was delayed because of the weather.

The team will fly out this morning for Miami to pick up expedited passports and then leave late this evening for Lima.

The crew is going to treat and evaluate burn victims from a fire that killed more than 270 people last week. The team will assess which of the more than 70 burn patients would be best suited for treatment in the United States.

Parole board denies murderer's release

A convicted murderer from Augusta was denied release on parole recently.

The State Board of Pardons and Paroles denied parole for Clint A. Rhodes, 31, who was convicted of murder and a weapon charge in the Oct. 21, 1994, killing of 30-year-old Melvin T. Quarles.

Mr. Rhodes shot Mr. Quarles in the back after Mr. Quarles walked away from an argument, according to court records. As Mr. Quarles lay on the ground wounded, Mr. Rhodes shot him several more times. A Richmond County Superior Court jury convicted Mr. Rhodes in July 1995. He was sentenced to life plus five years in prison.

Mr. Rhodes will be considered for parole again in October 2009. Georgia law requires the parole board to periodically consider those serving life sentences for parole, although the parole board isn't required to grant parole at any specific time.

Mayor names chairmen for aviation show

The chairmen for Augusta Regional Airport's Boshears Skyfest 2002 have been appointed by Mayor Bob Young.

Brad Kyzer and Steve Gay will serve as co-chairmen for the event. Mr. Kyzer is a member of the Augusta Aviation Commission and works as a State Farm Insurance agent. Mr. Gay is president of Augusta Aviation and has been involved with the Boshears Memorial Fly-In since 1992.

The show is scheduled for the weekend of Sept. 27-29 and will feature the Navy's Blue Angels.

MCG extends period for registration

Medical College of Georgia students will still have time to register for spring classes Monday without paying a late registration fee.

Officials decided to extend registration to Monday because icy conditions forced the school to close Thursday and part of Friday. For more information, call the schoolcashier's office at (706) 721-2926.

Lawmakers will hold public issues forum

Columbia County's legislative delegation will hold a public meeting for county residents to discuss issues that are important to them for the upcoming legislative session.

The meeting is Monday from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Evans Government Center in the auditorium.

Police charge woman with lying to get money

AIKEN -An Aiken woman who police say used a desperate story to solicit money from Aiken residents was arrested Friday.

Ellen Gayle Clark, of the 900 block of Shadow Lane, is charged with one count of obtaining goods under false pretenses, according to Aiken County Detention Center records.

Aiken Department of Public Safety Detective Maryann Burgess said Ms. Clark approached a man at his house in December. Ms. Clark, 53, told him she needed gas money to get to Columbia because her brother had been in a car accident there, an Aiken police report states.

The man gave her $40, and she left. After reading about similar stories, the man called police, the report states.

Detective Burgess said Ms. Clark is suspected in five other incidents where someone told a similar story to get money for gas.