Originally created 03/04/03

Across the area



Jail incident is investigated

Police are investigating an incident in which a Richmond County jailer said he struck an inmate several times in the face Sunday after the inmate swung at him.

Clifford Lee Brown, 24, of the 3600 block of Abemarie Court in Hephzibah, was charged with obstruction of a law enforcement officer. He has been in the jail since Sept. 8 on a charge of felony possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, according to jail records.

Deputy Peter Ciccio said Mr. Brown became belligerent, swung at him and missed while he was being placed into a holding cell, a sheriff's report states.

Deputy Ciccio said he hit Mr. Brown "multiple times" in the face and placed him in a restraint chair, the report states. Mr. Brown contended that he was not belligerent. The case has been turned over to Richmond County sheriff's Investigator Blaise Dresser.

Cosby will address Paine College grads

Entertainer Bill Cosby will return to Augusta in May to deliver the commencement address for Paine College.

College President Shirley A.R. Lewis made the announcement Monday, saying the actor and philanthropist has agreed to attend the May 4 ceremony and deliver the college's 121st commencement address at Bell Auditorium.

Mr. Cosby has donated millions to colleges and universities across the country and has spoken at numerous commencements. The actor last visited Augusta in April, when he performed at the Augusta-Richmond County Civic Center during Masters Week.

Police double reward for tips in slaying

Richmond County authorities are offering a $1,000 reward for information on the location of William Thomas Sheppard, a suspect in the Valentine's Day slaying of an Augusta man.

Police doubled the reward after the first offer didn't yield any successful tips. Police have also released an altered photo, showing what the suspect might look like with his hair trimmed.

Police said they suspect Mr. Sheppard is the triggerman in the slaying of Neville Hall, who was found Feb. 14 behind a Wooten Road residence with a gunshot wound to the head. Investigators also have charged 21-year-old Dontavius S. Wyman in the slaying, which police say was drug related.

Anyone with information on Mr. Sheppard's whereabouts is asked to call the sheriff's office at 821-1080.

Waste-tank cleanup moves forward at SRS

Savannah River Site completed a significant milestone last week in its effort to close its Old Radioactive Waste Burial Ground, an SRS spokeswoman said Monday.

Fran Poda, of SRS contractor Westinghouse Savannah River Co., said the 22 hazardous-waste tanks in the 76-acre radioactive disposal area had been cleaned but still needed to be filled with grout to finish the job.

Grouting stabilizes the structural integrity of the tanks and fixes any remaining contaminants in place.

The area, which also contains low-level waste such as lab equipment, will need to be capped with synthetic materials and filled in with soil. Final closure is slated for December.

Attempted bike theft gets teens arrested

Police say a 14-year-old Augusta boy pulled a pellet gun on a younger boy and demanded his bike.

Jason Rucker, 11, and his sister told police they were leaving the Sav-A-Thon store on Olive Road at about 6:30 p.m. Sunday when the older boy demanded Jason's bike. Jason ignored the boy and kept riding, but the teen followed the siblings on his older bike and eventually pulled a gun from his waist.

"I want your bike. Get off of it and walk up the street," the 14-year-old reportedly told Jason.

A patrol car drove by the area and spooked the teen and his friend, police said. They were later found and arrested.

The teen was charged with criminal attempt armed robbery and was confined to the Regional Youth Detention Center. The other boy was charged as an unruly juvenile and released to his parents.

Woman reports theft of wallet, medications

An Augusta woman told police someone took $140 and several prescription medications from her car last weekend.

Tracey Beth Tompkins, 31, said someone took her wallet, in addition to 60 Xanax tablets, 30 Lorcet pills and 25 tablets of Soma, all worth $27, from her 1985 Honda Civic at her home in the 3500 block of Mike Padgett Highway betweenSaturday night and Sunday afternoon.

Officers found that the driver's door, which was locked, had a small dent near the window, according to police reports.

Riding lawn mower is stolen from shed

Someone took a riding lawn mower from an unlocked shed Sunday, an Augusta woman told police.

Louise Dixon, 86, said that before 12:30 p.m., someone took a red Murray mower worth $500 from her home in the 2100 block of Harold Road near Peach Orchard Road in south Augusta.

A neighbor told police that she saw two men loading the mower into the back of a red Ford truck with a South Carolina license plate but that she could not tell police the tag number.

Vehicle fire kills Evans man

A 59-year-old Evans man was killed in a vehicle fire in his back yard Monday night, Columbia County Assistant Coroner Vernon Collins said.

Ronald Everett Stanley, of 834 N. Belair Road, was pronounced dead at 7:27 p.m. Mr. Collins said the cause was unknown, but the incident occurred after Mr. Stanley drove his early 1990s Jeep into his back yard.

Mr. Collins said neighbors reported hearing a big explosion, followed by two smaller explosions, which he said, "were the two front tires."

Mr. Collins said the state fire marshal's office will investigate the case, along with the sheriff's and coroner's offices.

Mr. Stanley's car was impounded for an examination. His body will be sent to the state crime lab in Atlanta today, Mr. Collins said.

Two burglars break into The Home Depot

A burglary was reported early Monday at The Home Depot on Bobby Jones Expressway.

A surveillance tape showed two men, dressed in camouflage and wearing masks, entering an office in the store at about 2 a.m., a Richmond County Sheriff's Office report states. A locked box had been forced open inside the office, but nothing was reported missing.