Originally created 03/31/03

Across the area



Woman found dead in home

The remains of an elderly woman last seen before Thanksgiving have been found in her home, said Investigator Shannon Mitchell, of the Richmond County Sheriff's Office.

Audrey G. Braithwaite, 79, was found dead Saturday at her home in the 3000 block of Spring Grove Drive in south Augusta, Investigator Mitchell said.

The cause of death is unknown, but Investigator Mitchell said authorities do not suspect foul play and said cash was found lying undisturbed on a table, with no valuables gone from the residence.

Children from the neighborhood alerted their parents to an odor from the house, and the parents called police, Investigator Mitchell said.

Augusta man charged in child molestation

An Augusta man has been charged with felony child molestation in connection with an assault on a 12-year-old girl.

Benjamin Smith, 50, of Dublin Drive, was arrested Saturday after an investigation into allegations he assaulted a girl he was living with. Police said he had been staying with his aunt and her family since he was kicked out of his girlfriend's home in October.

Police said Mr. Smith is accused of molesting the girl and ripping some of her clothes Saturday morning. He stopped when the girl screamed for her grandmother, police said.

Man is rearrested on stalking charges

Two hours after a Hephzibah man charged with stalking his ex-girlfriend was released from jail on bond, he began harassing the woman again, investigators said Sunday.

Claude Daniel Williford Jr., 37, of Allen Road, was rearrested Sunday and charged with aggravated stalking, a felony, said Richmond County sheriff's Investigator Blaise Dresser. The original charge against him was a misdemeanor.

Police said that Mr. Williford's ex-girlfriend was so terrified of him that she took out a restraining order against him, moved to a friend's house and hid her children at another location. After Mr. Williford's release on bond Thursday, police said, he began calling and paging her.

When he called and asked her to meet him Sunday outside a Burke County convenience store, police met him instead, Investigator Dresser said.

He is being held without bond at the Richmond County jail.

Neighbor is assaulted for knocking on door

Police say a man charged with stabbing a neighbor at Richmond Summit apartment complex was upset because she wouldn't stop knocking on his door.

Ronald Gibson, 44, of the 700 block of Broad Street, was charged with aggravated assault and possession of a knife during the commission of a crime.

He is accused of stabbing 49-year-old Linda Rae Willis twice in the chest and once in the stomach at 6:30 p.m. Saturday. She was recovering at Medical College of Georgia Hospital, where she was listed in fair condition Sunday night, spokeswoman Danielle Wong said.

Mr. Gibson told deputies he hit Ms. Willis because she was getting on his nerves. When she ran away, Mr. Gibson said, he grabbed a steak knife, followed her down the hallway and stabbed her, according to a report filed with the Richmond County Sheriff's Office.

Man arrested at club for carrying a gun

Police investigating a disturbance outside the Malibu nightclub on North Leg Road during the weekend arrested a man they said was carrying a gun on his hip, according to a report filed with the Richmond County Sheriff's Office.

Donald Karl Moorer, 26, of Monte Carlo Drive in Augusta, was charged with carrying a deadly weapon at a public gathering. He was booked into the Richmond County jail.

Deputies went to the business at 1:30 a.m. Saturday to look into a fight and saw a man place his hand on his right hip, the report says. A deputy patted him down and found a 9 mm Ruger inside a holster on his hip, the report says.

Church reports items stolen at warehouse

Someone broke into the warehouse of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in downtown Augusta last week, authorities said.

According to the Richmond County Sheriff's Office, the church's warehouse in the 900 block of Telfair Street was entered through a window between Tuesday and Friday.

According to the report, more than $1,000 worth of barbecue grills, glassware and 10 sets of halogen lamps was taken.

Augusta man beaten on downtown street

An Augusta man told police that he was beaten and left lying on a downtown street Saturday night.

James Bing, 63, said two men came up to him while he was walking in the 800 block of Belafonte Drive, hit him, took $40 from him and left.

A woman found Mr. Bing lying on the curb near her home, according to police reports.

The reports indicated that Mr. Bing suffered small cuts to his face and lower lip.

Woman struck by car recovers at hospital

An Augusta woman was in good condition Sunday after being struck by a car the night before on Laney-Walker Boulevard.

LaToya Denise Hollins, 27, of Harrison Street, was in good condition at Medical College of Georgia Hospital, spokeswoman Danielle Wong said.

According to an accident report, Ms. Hollins was crossing at Laney-Walker near James Brown Boulevard at about 11:30 p.m. Saturday when she was struck by a 1982 Oldsmobile Cutlass driven by 17-year-old James Culver. He was not injured.

The report states says Ms. Hollins was faulted for failing to yield because she did not use the crosswalk and walked into the vehicle's path.