Originally created 07/25/02

Across the area



Three charged in home assault

Three men were charged Wednesday after a drug-related assault at Rivercreek Apartments on Center West Parkway, police said.

When three men tried to enter the apartment of Damon Presnell through a window at about 11 p.m. Tuesday, the victim pulled out a .30-.30 lever-action rifle and scared some of them away, said Maj. Ken Autry, of the Richmond County Sheriff's Office. One intruder forced his way inside, and the others returned to assault the victim before leaving with the rifle.

Mr. Presnell, 31, suffered a puncture wound to the back and a broken bone in his face, Maj. Autry said. He was treated at Medical College of Georgia Hospital and released.

Brian S. Cherry, 23, of Hephzibah, was charged with aggravated assault and burglary. Daniel Alderson, 21, of Center West Parkway, Augusta, and John M. West, 23, of Hephzibah, were charged with criminal attempted burglary.

Maj. Autry said that the victim knew the suspects and that the assault appears drug-related.

Fire at townhomes is ruled accidental

A fire that destroyed two townhomes in west Augusta was ruled an accident Wednesday.

The blaze on Riviera Drive on Saturday possibly was caused by a discarded cigarette, according to Lt. G.B. Hannan, of the Augusta-Richmond County Fire Department. Authorities found cigarette butts outside 2007 Riviera, where the fire started, he said.

The blaze burned the siding of the townhome, then moved to the attic, Lt. Hannan said. Strong winds and heat spread the blaze to 2005 Riviera, Lt. Hannan said.

Firefighters extinguished the fire in several minutes.

Neighbor reports burglary to police

Richmond County authorities credited an alert resident on Crawford Avenue with catching a burglary suspect who was reportedly unloading her neighbor's belongings onto a street corner.

Police say the suspect was piling up the items at about 2 a.m. Wednesday and planned either to hide them in the neighborhood or to return with a car. Authorities say he planned to sell them for drug money.

Police say someone broke a window in the back door to get inside the home in the 800 block of Crawford Avenue. When the neighbor spotted the burglar, he had piled up a television set, a camera, tools, jewelry and garden equipment on the corner of Williams and Barnes lanes.

Deputies found a man running from the house. David Lorenzo Smiley, 42, of Lucie Street, Augusta, was charged with a felony count of burglary. The items were recovered, and the homeowner was notified of the break-in.

Man pleads guilty in credit-union robbery

An Edgefield County man pleaded guilty Wednesday to the March 5 robbery of the SRP Federal Credit Union on West Martintown Road in North Augusta.

A federal judge accepted the plea from Bruce Charles Easley, 47, of Ridge Road, according to the state U.S. attorney's office.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott Schools said evidence at the change-of-plea hearing placed Mr. Easley at the credit union handing a demand note to the teller.

Mr. Easley confessed to robbing the credit union of $1,750 to pay off a drug debt, Mr. Schools said.

The maximum penalty Mr. Easley can receive is 20 years. He also can receive a maximum fine of $250,000. The sentencing will be in 60 to 90 days.

Voter registration drive set for Saturday

The Richmond County Board of Elections will hold a voter registration drive from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at 931 Cedar Street. The drive is being sponsored by Galilee Missionary Church.

Open house honors Islamic heritage

The Muslim Community Center of Augusta will hold an open house from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday in recognition of Islamic Heritage and Leadership Day.

Mayor Bob Young has issued a proclamation for the Islamic Society of Augusta to honor heritage and leadership day and the local Muslim community. The resident imam, or leader, of the Muslim Community Center will receive the proclamation from Mr. Young later Saturday at a dinner banquet and awards ceremony.

For more information, call the Muslim Community Center at 481-8007.

Donation bins erected for school supplies

The Aiken County Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism is sponsoring a school-supply drive through Saturday to benefit children of low-income families.

Donation bins have been set up at the following locations: Aiken County Recreation Center, U.S. Highway 1, Graniteville; Harrison-Caver Park, South Carolina Highway 421, Clearwater; Aiken Wal-Mart; Kroger, University Parkway and Silver Bluff Road locations; Aiken Regional Medical Centers; SRP Federal Credit Union; Heritage South Federal Credit Union. For more information, call (803) 663-6142.

Group invites pets to benefit dog wash

The Aiken Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals will hold a benefit dog wash from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the H. Odell Weeks Activities Center, 1700 Whiskey Road in Aiken.

The cost is $10 per dog, with nail clipping and ear cleaning available for additional fees. The benefit is sponsored by the Weeks Center, Powderhouse Kennels and the Aiken Housing Center. For more information, call 648-6569 or 648-6863.

Jazz ensemble to play at gardens

The Chris Mangelly Quartet will give a jazz performance at 7 p.m. Monday at Hopeland Gardens.

Parking is available at the Rye Patch parking lot on Berrie Street and the Green Boundary Club lot on Whiskey Road at Mead Avenue. Handicap parking is available at the Hopeland Gardens lot on Dupree Street. If it rains, the concert will be moved to the H. Odell Weeks Activities Center.

For more information, call 642-7631.

Man robs hotel clerk at gunpoint in Aiken

A clerk at the Holiday Inn Express at Interstate 20 and U.S. Highway 1 in Aiken County was robbed at gunpoint Wednesday night, police said.

Shortly before 10 p.m., a man walked into the hotel's lobby, displayed a handgun and demanded money from the clerk, the Aiken County Sheriff's Office said.

The man left with the money. The clerk was not harmed, police said.

Storm causes power outages

About 650 people were without electricity when a storm swept through the area Wednesday night.

Tal Wright, a spokesman for Georgia Power Co., said that the outages were scattered throughout Augusta and that most were restored by 10:30 p.m. The outages were caused by lightning, which tripped breakers, he said.

The storm also caused trees and limbs to fall onto power lines, causing more problems, Mr. Wright said. The remaining power outages were to be restored by Georgia Power crews sometime during the night, he said.