Originally created 02/28/04

Across South Carolina



Officer impersonation leads to charges

CHARLESTON - The code enforcement officer for four Dorchester County towns has been charged with impersonating a State Law Enforcement Division officer.

Rodney C. Lorick, 35, was charged with a misdemeanor stemming from a 2002 incident while working as a private detective.

The towns of St. George, Ridgeville, Harleyville and Reevesville have placed Officer Lorick on unpaid administrative leave.

Officer Lorick said the uniform for the detective company, the National Intelligence Bureau, resembles a SLED uniform and denied any wrongdoing.

Police charge man in wife's slaying

GREENVILLE - A Greenville County man has been charged in the beating death of his estranged wife, authorities say.

Bobby Hembree was charged with murder Thursday, authorities said.

Terry Kay Hembree's body was found Wednesday in her estranged husband's Greenville trailer after deputies got a search warrant to investigate a missing persons report, authorities said.

University agrees to reorganize schools

ORANGEBURG - South Carolina State University trustees have agreed to reorganize the five undergraduate schools into three colleges to save money and create opportunities for innovative programs.

The plan approved Thursday also merges the 20 departments into 14.

President Andrew Hugine Jr. said, "We expect it to generate about $1.2 million in savings when fully implemented, which is probably going to be three years or more."

Judge election bill causes confrontation

COLUMBIA - A heated exchange over a bill aimed at electing more black judges turned physical Thursday in a House office building, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee says.

The panel ran out of time to handle Rep. Jerry Govan's bill before the House session began at 10 a.m., House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Harrison, R-Columbia, said.

A source close to Mr. Harrison said Mr. Govan grabbed Mr. Harrison by his neck tie and shirt. Both confirm that judiciary staffers and others came into the office to separate them.

Man is sentenced to life in slaying

MONCKS CORNER - A Lowcountry man has been sentenced to life in prison after a Berkeley County jury convicted him of murder in the 2002 death of a teen.

The jury deliberated nearly 10 hours before finding Derrick Mark Grant guilty of slashing the throat of 18-year-old Rachel Renea Sottile and leaving her to bleed to death along a dirt road in Cainhoy.

Mr. Grant, 31, of Huger, had represented himself during the trial.

"The only appropriate punishment for this crime is that you, Mr. Grant, never be able to perform this kind of heinous act outside of prison walls," said Circuit Court Judge Markley Dennis.

Teen's slaying leads to life jail sentence

MARION - A man has been sentenced to life in prison plus 35 years in the death of a Marion High School student.

The jury deliberated 90 minutes before convicting Tony Stevenson Johnson of murder and armed robbery in the death of a 17-year-old, James Dozier III.

"I've been on the bench 20 years and practiced law for 32 years prior to that, and this is one of the most senseless killings that I have ever seen," Circuit Court Judge Edward B. Cottingham said.

James was on his way to go duck hunting Jan. 3, 2003, when he ran into Mr. Johnson in a grocery store parking lot.

Prosecutors said Mr. Johnson, 28, of Marion, robbed and shot James, then left him for dead on the outskirts of a Marion housing project.