Originally created 11/16/02

Across the area



Police say man grew marijuana

Richmond County narcotics officers arrested an Augusta man Friday after they found more than $60,000 worth of marijuana plants near his home.

Police - executing a search warrant - uncovered 68 plants in a garage located behind the home of Wayne Rodney Jones, 46, in the 2900 block of Tower Pines Drive, said Richmond County sheriff's Investigator Mathue Phares.

Narcotics officers also confiscated manufacturing equipment - lights, chemicals and other paraphernalia, he said.

Investigator Phares said one plant can produce up to a pound of marijuana equal to a street value of roughly $1,000.

Mr. Jones was charged with manufacturing marijuana, Investigator Phares said. The man's wife, whose name was withheld, was not charged, he said.

Police investigate slashing of teenager

Richmond County officers were investigating the slashing of a 15-year-old Augusta boy at his home on Scenic Drive on Friday night.

The victim was involved in a domestic dispute with his sister, 22-year-old Eleni Ybasba, at about 9:18 p.m. when she cut him on the arm with a knife, said Richmond County sheriff's Investigator Dan Carrier. The boy was treated at Medical College of Georgia Hospital, he said.

Investigator Carrier said Ms. Ybasba has not been charged because the slashing might have been in self defense.

Mother says daughter was assaulted on bus

An Augusta woman says her 14-year-old daughter was assaulted by another girl while riding home on a Richmond County School bus Friday.

Alice Hardin said children on the bus told her that at about 4:45 p.m. another girl threw paper at her daughter while the bus was traveling on Crosscreek Road. The girl then struck Ms. Hardin's daughter in the face, she said.

Both the victim and the girl are pupils at Morgan Road Middle School, according to a Richmond County Sheriff's Office report. Ms. Hardin said she has notified the school about previous incidents, the report states.

Jury is selected in LeBlanc trial

Jury selection was completed Friday in the rape trial of former Augusta resident Aaron LeBlanc, set to begin Tuesday morning in Gaston County Superior Court.

Mr. LeBlanc, 20, has pleaded innocent to charges of first-degree sexual offense, kidnapping, breaking and entering, and robbery with a dangerous weapon. The charges were filed in the March 18 assault on a woman who lived in the apartment complex where Mr. LeBlanc was staying.

Mr. LeBlanc was arrested in Gastonia, N.C., less than a month after he was acquitted in three rape cases in Richmond County Superior Court.

Candidate goes to jail for statutory rape

An Augusta man who ran several unsuccessful campaigns for public offices ranging from the General Assembly to the school board is serving a five-year sentence for statutory rape.

Brian Wilson, 38, recently pleaded guilty in Richmond County Superior Court to the charge, admitting he had sexual relations with a 15-year-old girl May 24. At the time, Mr. Wilson was on probation for aggravated stalking.

Senior Judge Bernard J. Mulherin Sr. sentenced Mr. Wilson to serve five years in prison followed by five years on probation.

Hephzibah 18-year-old faces burglary charge

A Hephzibah teen was being held at the Richmond County jail Friday without bond, charged with burglarizing a neighbor's home.

Bernard Hollis, 18, is accused of stealing $650 cash Nov. 10 from Diana Figueroa's Fairington Drive home in Hephzibah, according to a police report. Ms. Figueroa told authorities she believed Mr. Hollis was involved because of past problems she had with him.

Mr. Hollis was arrested at about 12:50 p.m. Friday at his home and was charged with felony burglary, jail records show.

Augustan is arrested in October shooting

Richmond County authorities arrested an Augusta man Friday on charges of shooting at two people after an argument last month.

Vincent Maurice Hampton is accused of firing a single round from a revolver at Mario Xavier Roberson and Ikeithia Mathis as they were driving on Mercer Street on Oct. 12, according to a Richmond County Sheriff's Office report.

The incident occurred after an argument between Mr. Roberson and Mr. Hampton, the report states.

A short time later, Mr. Hampton allegedly fired a shot at both victims. Mr. Hampton was charged Friday with aggravated assault and was being held at the Richmond County jail without bond.

Police investigate flashing of drivers

AIKEN -A roadside flasher has been seen at least twice along Richardson's Lake Road.

The most recent sighting occurred Thursday evening when a "very tan" man with a moustache opened a trench coat, revealing his naked body to a woman driving by at about 11:30.

The second incident occurred at about 4 p.m. Tuesday when, police say, the same man walked naked from roadside woods near Coachman Drive and showed himself to a passing school bus with children inside.

The bus driver described the man as white, 18-20 years old, 6 feet tall, weighing 160 pounds, with brown hair, according to a report from the sheriff's office.

Capt. Michael Frank of the sheriff's office said investigators have received many complaints about the man, but have been unable to make an identification.

He asked anyone who spots the man to call the sheriff's office at (800) 922-9709 or Aiken County Crime Stoppers at (866) 882-7463.

Empty Stocking Fund applications available

Applications for The Augusta Chronicle's Empty Stocking Fund are available. They may be picked up at these locations during regular office hours: the main newspaper office at 725 Broad St.; the Aiken office at 123 Pendleton St.; and the Columbia County office at 4143 Columbia Road.

Applicants must explain in detail how the money will help them and why they need help.

They also must provide a street address and some other verifiable information.

Applications with a post office box must include a street address.

History award winners will speak to society

The Beech Island Historical Society will meet at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at 144 Old Jackson Highway.

Speakers will include Silver Bluff High School students David McIver, Katie McNeil and Ashlyn Dennis, recipients of the society's history awards. The event is free. For more information, call 827-0184.

Professor will present studies of Galapagos

AIKEN -The International at Noon series will take place from 12:15 to 1:05 p.m. Tuesday in the B & E Building, Room 140, at the University of South Carolina Aiken.

Dr. Robert Freymeyer of Presbyterian College will present In The Steps of Darwin: Sociologists Explore Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands. The event is free. For more information, call 641-3671.

County will dedicate new justice center

The Columbia County Justice Center Dedication will be at 2 p.m. Wednesday at the new facility, 640 Ronald Reagan Drive in Evans.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy will be the keynote speaker.

The 72,000-square-foot Georgian-style brick building houses probate, superior, juvenile and magistrate courts, in addition to offices for the clerk of court, the district attorney and the regional court administrator.