Originally created 01/04/03

Across South Carolina



Officials investigate stabbings of inmates

COLUMBIA - South Carolina prison officials are investigating last month's stabbings of four inmates.

On Tuesday, Tony L. Patterson, 30, was charged with murder in the Dec. 21 stabbing death of Gazarro Carson at Evans Correctional Institution.

At McCormick Correctional Institution, William Tillman, 38, was charged with murder in the Dec. 15 stabbing death of his cellmate, Michael Hodge. Broad River Correctional Institution inmate Chris Ford, 31, was charged with assault and battery in the Dec. 18 stabbing of Lanny Cope, 31.

No one has been charged in the Dec. 30 attack on Dexter Webb, 24, at Evans.

State's roads killed fewer people in 2002

COLUMBIA -Fewer people died in traffic crashes in South Carolina last year, but the number of deaths topped 1,000 for the fifth consecutive year, the Public Safety Department says.

South Carolina ended the year with 1,034 deaths, compared with 1,060 killed in traffic accidents in 2001, the agency said Thursday.

Gov.-elect Mark Sanford hopes to reduce the highway death rate.

"There are many factors, including DUI and the numbers of troopers on the road. If it's possible to do it with this year's budget, we may need to bolster the numbers there," Mr. Sanford said. "Some of the real problems exist on secondary roads that are not that well maintained."

As part of a package that includes reducing or eliminating the state income tax, Mr. Sanford has proposed extending the 5 percent sales tax to gasoline to raise money for highways and other infrastructure.

20 people plead guilty in marriage-fraud ring

ANDERSON - Sixteen women from the Upstate and four men from Pakistan are the latest defendants to plead guilty in a ring that arranged fraudulent marriages to get around immigration laws.

The men, who were mostly of Pakistani descent, married the women to stay in the county. They offered the women as much as $1,500.

16 state parks raise fees for their visitors

CHARLESTON - With the new year, fees at 16 South Carolina state parks have increased.

About 65 percent of the revenue needed to run state parks comes from the fees collected at 16 of the state's 46 parks.