Originally created 09/13/03

Across the area



Morning crash kills biker, 31

A 31-year-old Blythe man died early Friday on 13th Street from injuries sustained in a motorcycle wreck.

Mark Bowen, a deputy coroner, identified the victim as Willie Stevens. He said the accident occurred at about 3:45 a.m.

Richmond County sheriff's Maj. Richard Weaver said Mr. Stevens was driving south in the right lane of 13th Street, just north of Walker Street, when he lifted the front wheel of his 1998 Suzuki T1000 motorcycle off the ground and lost control.

Maj. Weaver said the vehicle turned on its side, and Mr. Stevens came off the bike. The officer said Mr. Stevens and the bike slid before striking a water meter cover and a utility pole, killing him.

Maj. Weaver said Mr. Stevens was wearing a helmet and that toxicology results are pending.

Judge signs order for murderer's execution

An October execution date has been set for a man who raped and murdered an Augusta woman more than 16 years ago.

Ernest Morrison, now 43, pleaded guilty in Richmond County Superior Court and asked the judge to give him a death sentence for the Jan. 9, 1987, attack on Mary Edna Griffin in Augusta.

District Attorney Danny Craig said Friday that senior Judge Bernard J. Mulherin Sr. signed the order this week that sets Mr. Morrison's execution for anytime from noon Oct. 1 to noon Oct. 8.

Mr. Morrison was a jail escapee from South Carolina - where he was being held on rape charges - when he asked to stay with family acquaintances, the 54-year-old victim and her family.

Through the years, Mr. Morrison has said he wanted to drop all appeals and face execution, but he has changed his mind a number of times.

HIV-positive man is jailed for misconduct

An Augusta man who had sexual relations with a mentally disabled woman without first telling her that he was HIV-positive received a 10-year prison sentence Friday.

Anthony J. Lawson, 27, pleaded guilty in Richmond County Superior Court to reckless conduct against a person. The prosecutor said the case was aggravated by the fact that although the woman is 22, she functions only at a third-grade level. Fortunately, Assistant District Attorney Shauna Reeves said, the woman's HIV tests have proven negative so far.

Judge James Blanchard Jr. gave Mr. Lawson, who had two prior felony convictions, the maximum sentence.

Police inspect report of boy's nude photos

Richmond County authorities are investigating an incident in which someone reported that an 18-year-old boy took nude pictures of his 12-year-old stepbrother.

Richmond County sheriff's Lt. James Young said investigators found that the incidents had happened over several years at the boys' home on Franklin Street.

Lt. Young said that no sex acts occurred, but that the 18-year-old had been thrown out of the house by relatives and might have gone to his mother's home in Monetta, S.C.

Lt. Young said no charges had been filed as of Friday.

Reward is offered in case of lost woman

A $1,000 reward has been offered by a private resident for information about a single mother from Beech Island who has been missing since Sept. 5, authorities said Friday.

Lisa Shuttleworth, 34, an unemployed mother of two, was reported missing after she failed to pick up her daughter at a friend's home. Investigators welcome any information the reward might provide, said Lt. Michael Frank, a spokesman for the Aiken County Sheriff's Office.

Ms. Shuttleworth's mother, Loraine Mabrey, did not return repeated telephone calls to her home.

Police charge woman with stabbing husband

A Warrenville woman was granted $10,000 bond by an Aiken County magistrate Friday after being charged with stabbing her husband in the face and shoulder with a knife, authorities said.

Vanessa Turner, 35, of Alex Drive, Warrenville, was charged with assault and battery with intent to kill in the attack on her husband, Mardel Turner, at their home at about 11 p.m. Thursday, said Lt. Michael Frank, a spokesman for the Aiken County Sheriff's Office.

Mr. Turner was taken to Aiken County Regional Medical Centers for treatment Hospital officials, citing federal privacy laws, declined to comment on his condition.

Convicted molester gets 20-year sentence

A 66-year-old Ohio man entrusted to care for a girl will serve two decades behind bars for molesting the child.

"What a sacred trust you have violated," Judge James Blanchard Jr. told Marvin E. Booher in Richmond County Superior Court on Friday. Mr. Booher admitted his guilt to two counts of molesting the girl when she was 7 and 10 years old.

Judge Blanchard sentenced Mr. Booher to serve 20 years in prison followed by 20 years on probation.

Officials charge man with public indecency

Augusta authorities arrested a man Thursday who they said fondled himself while trying to get the attention of a woman parked next him in July, officials said.

Nathaniel Atchison, 49, was charged with public indecency Thursday, said Richmond County sheriff's Lt. James Young.

Lt. Young said an Augusta woman told deputies in late July that while she was at the Colony Plaza shopping center on Windsor Spring Road, Mr. Atchison pulled up next to her in a Ford Ranger and tried to get her attention with the door open.

The woman said Mr. Atchison sat in the truck with his genitals exposed and fondled himself while looking at an adult magazine.

Woman says husband attacked her at home

A North Augusta woman told authorities that a her estranged husband attacked her while she was at home Thursday morning and forced himself on her, a police report states.

The 26-year-old woman said the 30-year-old man threw her against the wall at her residence on Bradleyville Road several times, choked her and then threw her on a bed, the report states.

She said the man then forced himself on her before leaving, the report states.

Worker at car lot says customer punched him

An employee of a local automobile dealership told police that he was punched in the face and the stomach Thursday after a Hephzibah man got upset over not receiving a trade-in credit for more than his vehicle was worth.

A Richmond County police report states that the employee of Augusta Dodge, in the 1800 block of Gordon Highway, said the man tried to trade in his vehicle at the dealership at 6:40 p.m.

The employee said the man swung at him and they fought. The report states that the Hephzibah man left before sheriff's deputies arrived.

Woman says heater led to attack in car

An Augusta woman told police that a man punched her in the face while they were riding in a car after he got upset because she turned on the car's heater Thursday night.

Tina Coleman, 25, said that while she and the man were traveling west on Gordon Highway in the man's car, he punched her on the left side of the face while he driving, and later slapped her on the face.

Ms. Coleman told authorities she would prosecute, a police report states.

Grovetown officials win seat without race

Three of Grovetown's elected officials automatically retained their seats Friday.

When the qualifying deadline hit Friday, only incumbent Mayor Dennis Trudeau and city council members Marjorie Adams and David Daughtry had filed paperwork to retain their seats for another four years. They were the only officials facing re-election this year in the county.

This is the third time Mr. Trudeau, who will enter his sixth term as mayor in January, has stayed in office without facing opposition.

Mr. Trudeau has served as Grovetown's mayor for the past 16 years. Mrs. Adams has served on the city council for 12 years, and Mr. Daughtry has served for 13 years.

Fort Gordon will hold career fair Oct. 1

Fort Gordon will hold a job fair Oct. 1 at the U.S. Army Reserve Center on post, according to the public affairs office at the installation.

More than 70 employers from across the country will meet and talk to people seeking jobs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the center on 15th Street.

The event is open to the public. For more information, call 791-0795.

Installation sets up rally for pupils

Fort Gordon will host an "I Can Achieve" pledge rally for members of its Boys and Girls Club on Sept. 25, according to the post's public affairs office.

The rally is to help encourage pupils, ages 6-15, to improve their performance in school during the year, a news release states.

At the rally, pupils will pledge to attend school, strive not to miss a day, be on time for class, listen to their teachers, complete and turn in their homework, and do their best every day, the release states.

The ceremony will be held at 4:30 p.m. at the Youth Services Center building on 46th Street on the post. For more information, call 791-1400.

Museum exhibits baseball history

Augusta's Museum of History is showing off its new exhibit - The National Pastime in Black and White: The Negro Baseball Leagues, 1867-1955. Sunday's special guest will be Buck O'Neil, one of the Negro Leagues' best players, who is expected to be there between 1 and 5 p.m.

Wreck victim dies of injuries

A Texas man who has been hospitalized in Augusta since an accident last month died from his injuries Friday at Medical College of Georgia Hospital, authorities said.

Jivanlal Joshi, 72, of Fort Worth, Texas, was a back-seat passenger in a Chevrolet Malibu involved in a three-vehicle accident Aug. 29 on River Watch Parkway, said Mark Bowen, deputy coroner in Richmond County.

The accident instantly killed front-seat passenger Kantilal Patel, 54, of Rome, Ga. Driver Phillip Patel, of Fort Worth, survived. He was faulted in the collision, police said.

Police say Phillip Patel tried to turn left onto an Interstate 20 on-ramp and was struck by a Jeep Cherokee driven by Daksha Chudgar, of Martinez. The Malibu then struck a 2000 Freightliner tractor-trailer driven by Bennie Moss, 45, of Augusta.