Originally created 04/15/04

Across South Carolina



Man sentenced in death of his mother

CONWAY - A 32-year-old man was sentenced to seven years in jail in the beating death of his mother after new evidence surfaced linking him to the 16-year-old crime.

Thomas Fowler Jr. entered an Alford plea Tuesday on a charge of voluntary manslaughter in the death of Lucille Fowler, a 54-year-old department manager at Wal-Mart who was found dead in September 1987.

In an Alford plea, a defendant maintains his innocence but concedes that there is sufficient evidence for a jury to convict him.

Investigators arrested Mr. Fowler in August after an ex-girlfriend told police he had given her some jewelry a week after the killing.

Police said it was the same jewelry missing from Mrs. Fowler's body.

City council opposes island development

CHARLESTON - Charleston City Council has unanimously approved a resolution opposing development on Morris Island, where hundreds of soldiers from both North and South died during the Civil War.

The island was where black troops of the 54th Massachusetts Regiment mounted an 1863 attack against Confederate defenses at Battery Wagner, a siege recounted in the movie Glory.

Developer Harry Huffman has proposed building about 20 houses near the northern tip of the island.

Charleston County zoning would allow only a fraction of that amount.

Approval of key bill pleases Black Caucus

COLUMBIA - Members of the Legislative Black Caucus say the House took a critical first step toward getting more black judges on the bench with key second-reading approval of a bill Wednesday.

In South Carolina, the Judicial Merit Selection Committee, which has 10 members picked by House and Senate leaders, picks a slate of nominees.

The committee forwards no more than three selections to the General Assembly.

The bill would lift the cap on the number of candidates and allow the panel to release a list of all qualified candidates.

Trench collapses, kills 26-year-old man

SUMTER - A 26-year-old worker installing sewer lines for his family's construction company died after a 12-foot-deep trench he was working in collapsed.

About 30 emergency workers rushed to the construction site Tuesday afternoon, but it took them more than an hour to dig Nathaniel Lennart "Len" Hawthorne out.

Mr. Hawthorne was installing sewer lines for a new subdivision, authorities said.