Originally created 03/03/03

Across the area



Slaying leads to interviews

Columbia County authorities will conduct more interviews today as they look for the person who killed an elderly Martinez woman Friday, sheriff's Capt. Steve Morris said Sunday.

Meredith Ruth Guy, 74, was found shot to death in her home on Twin Lakes Drive. An autopsy showed she died of gunshot wounds to the back of the head and her upper back.

Investigators plan to talk with family members, neighbors, friends and others, Capt. Morris said.

Neighbors said there had been several break-ins in the area recently, but the captain said there was no sign of forced entry at Ms. Guy's home, where she lived alone.

The homicide was the first in Columbia County in 18 months.

Suspect faces charges from home invasion

An Augusta man has been charged in a February home invasion in which two thieves attacked and robbed a man of $5,000 by using a child as a decoy.

Genard Tanksley, 41, of the 2200 block of Rosier Road, was charged late Saturday with armed robbery, burglary and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime. No other arrests were made.

The resident, Allan Keith Smith, 47, was found Feb. 11 at the front door of his home on McCombs Road, bleeding from his face and head. He told police he was trying to help a 10-year-old boy when two men forced their way into his home and robbed him.

Police say the boy claimed that his mother had run out of gas and that he needed to call someone. After robbing and attacking the resident, the men tied Mr. Smith's hands and feet with a telephone cord and a belt, he told police.

Suspect in killing surrenders to police

An Augusta man sought in a homicide on Wrightsboro Road early Saturday surrendered to police Sunday night.

William Widner, 18, of Schley Street, surrendered at the Richmond County Sheriff's Office at about 7:30 p.m., Lt. Richard Roundtree said.

Mr. Widner is charged with murder and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime in the death of Carlos Antinio Rouse, Lt. Roundtree said.

Jacob Christopher Miles, 16, was arrested at 8 p.m. Saturday and also charged with murder.

In another slaying, police are still seeking 18-year-old William Thomas Sheppard in the death of Neville Camille Hall, who was shot Feb. 14 on Wooten Road.

A $1,000 reward is offered for Mr. Sheppard's whereabouts. Anyone with information is asked to call (706) 821-1080.

Study says residents overlook self-exams

When it comes to self-exams for testicular cancer, medical residents neither practice nor preach the tests, according to a study by the Medical College of Georgia.

Fewer than one in three male pediatric or pediatric and internal medicine residents performed monthly self-exams, and only 40 percent taught the exam to 12- to 21-year-old patients, said Dr. Joel Brenner, of MCG.

They weren't taught the test, either. Although 88 percent of residents were taught how to teach breast self-exams, only 41 percent were taught how to teach a testicular self-exam.

If detected early, the survival rate for testicular cancer is 96 percent. A larger study is needed to confirm the study results, Dr. Brenner said.

Shots fired from car injure Augusta man

An Augusta man told police he was shot in the leg while in the back seat of a car early Sunday morning.

Vontezz Hightower, 19, told police that three men in a mid-1990s Chevrolet with tinted windows followed him and several other people in a 1988 Cadillac Seville to the 2600 block of Wrightsboro Road at 3 a.m.

Mr. Hightower, who was in the rear left back seat, said a shot fired from the front passenger side of the Chevrolet struck him in the upper left leg.

He said the assailant fired several other shots before the Chevrolet fled east on Wrightsboro Road.

Mr. Hightower was treated at Medical College of Georgia Hospital and released, an MCG spokeswoman said.

Teenager is assaulted in game of laser tag

An Augusta teenager told police she was assaulted early Sunday while playing laser tag at Planet Extreme on Wylds Road, according to a Richmond County Sheriff's Office report.

Elizabeth Thompson, 18, told police that she got into an argument with a man wearing a green bandana and that he struck her in the nose with his laser tag gun. She said she could not identify the man, whom she saw run from the area, the report says.

Man is charged in consignment robbery

An Augusta man was charged late Saturday with robbing a consignment shop, authorities said.

Michael D. Whitfield, 26, of the 1200 block of Holden Street, was charged with armed robbery and possession of a knife during the commission of a crime. He is accused of robbing Once Upon a Time Consignment Shop on Baker Avenue, sheriff's Investigator Blaise Dresser said.

The store's owner said he was working alone at about 10 a.m. Saturday when a man walked in, asked about a layaway plan and pulled out a pocketknife. The man demanded money and left with about $120, the owner told police.

The owner helped police identify the man. Mr. Whitfield was arrested at his mother's residence on Holden Street on Saturday night, police said.

Democratic Party plans monthly meeting

The Columbia County Democratic Party will hold its monthly meeting at 7 p.m. today in the auditorium of the county government center on Ronald Reagan Drive.

For more information, call R. Terry Holley at 868-0959.

Police arrest parents after son is stopped

A Hephzibah couple who tried to prevent the shoplifting arrest of their 20-year-old son found themselves arrested Saturday evening, according to police reports.

Shirlene Young Hambrick, 41, and Kenneth Leon Hambrick, 44, were arrested by Richmond County sheriff's deputies at Augusta Mall after their son, Kenneth Labrian Hambrick, 20, was seen taking a pair of brown leather shoes from the Shoe Dept. just after 8:30 p.m., according to police reports.

The reports indicated that as officers were trying to gather more information at the shoe store, the 20-year-old's parents started an argument with sheriff's deputies.

After the Hambricks refused to heed the deputies' warning to leave the store, a deputy tried to arrest Mrs. Hambrick, according to the reports.

Her husband and son grabbed Mrs. Hambrick to try to stop her arrest, she tried to hit a deputy with an umbrella and police sprayed her with pepper spray, the reports stated.