Originally created 06/16/04

Across the area



Pair is indicted in elderly death

A couple accused of cutting a woman and holding her captive for three days before killing her were indicted Tuesday.

The Richmond County grand jury issued the indictment that charges William A. Woodruff, 37, and Kelli B. Whitfield, 37, with kidnapping with bodily injuries, armed robbery, burglary, aggravated assault, murder, weapon violations and 35 counts of credit card fraud in the death of 64-year-old Elinor B. Emineth.

According to the indictment and previous Augusta Chronicle reports, the pair, whom Mrs. Emineth had once given shelter, are accused of cutting and stabbing her and tying her up inside her Southfield Drive home March 27. Two days later, the indictment alleges, Mrs. Emineth was cut and stabbed again. She was allegedly killed March 30.

In the days after the initial attack, according to the indictment, Ms. Whitfield and Mr. Woodruff used Mrs. Emineth's credit cards 35 times.

Both have been held without bond since their arrests in April.

Fake check results in search for woman

Richmond County sheriff's deputies are hunting a woman who they said tried to pass an obviously fictitious check at two businesses recently.

Tira H. Johnson, 34, is wanted for two counts of presenting a ficitious check, Investigator Shane McDaniel said.

The investigator said he found that Ms. Johnson tried to cash a check listed from "Maybon Realtors" with a fake employment payroll stub attached.

Anyone with information about Ms. Johnson's whereabouts is asked to call the sheriff's office at 821-1080.

Wreck puts pregnant woman in hospital

A pregnant Aiken woman was in serious condition Tuesday after she crashed her car in a one-vehicle wreck on U.S. Highway 278, South Carolina Highway Patrol and hospital officials said.

Lance Cpl. Dwight Green said Sheledre Pressley, 27, was driving westbound at about 11:10 a.m. Tuesday when she lost control of her 2001 Mitsubishi, struck a culvert, flipped several times and struck a tree. Ms. Pressley was thrown from the car. She was airlifted to Medical College of Georgia Hospital, where she was in serious condition late Tuesday.

The Highway Patrol said speed was likely a factor in the accident. Ms. Pressley was not wearing a seat belt.

Fire caused by sign damages hair salon

An electrical short in a neon sign caused a fire Tuesday morning that damaged the front wall of a hair and tanning salon off U.S. Highway 25 in Belvedere, fire officials said. There were no injuries.

The Belvedere Volunteer Fire Department received a call at about 9:30 a.m. from the owner of Total Concept Hair and Tanning Salon and from a person who drove by and saw smoke coming from the building, said Belvedere Fire Chief Todd Durrance.

He said the short in the neon sign started a fire in the front wall of the shop. Firefighters kept the blaze from spreading, and there was minimal smoke and water damage, he said.

Woman slightly hurt when car strikes pole

A one-car accident on Walton Way on Monday evening resulted in minor injuries to a Grovetown woman who struck a utility pole.

At about 10:45 p.m., Mariana Garcia, 19, was traveling east in the 3300 block of Walton Way when she lost control of her 1996 Mazda Protege, splitting the pole in half, according to the Richmond County Sheriff's Office.

Traffic was rerouted, and telephone service for residents in the accident area was temporarily disrupted, authorities said.

Ms. Garcia, who was alone in the car, was discharged from Medical College of Georgia Hospital, a hospital spokeswoman said Tuesday.

Man's money is stolen while he leaves bank

An Augusta man said Monday that someone snatched money from him while he was leaving a bank, a police report states.

Kevin Green, 39, told deputies that he was leaving Wachovia in the 1700 block of Gordon Highway at 11:15 a.m. when someone ran past him and grabbed his envelope, which contained money.

Woman says boyfriend hit her with pitcher

An Augusta woman told police Monday that her boyfriend got mad after she told him to leave; poured water on her television, stereo and DVD player; and hit her on the head with a water pitcher.

Geneva Edwards, 25, of the 1000 block of River Ridge Drive, said the incident occurred after the man came to get his belongings at 8:10 p.m.

Construction will shut busy street at post

A heavily traveled road at Fort Gordon will be blocked until June 30 for construction, according to the public affairs office at the post.

Rice Road, which becomes Avenue of the States between Brainard Avenue and 36th Street, will be blocked.

Detour signs are posted on Rice Road at the post's fire station and on Avenue of the States at 36th Street.

For more information, call 791-9748.

Hundreds of students get training day at fort

Fort Gordon will hold an overnight Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps program June 21-25, according to the post's public affairs office.

About 275 students from Georgia and South Carolina will attend, many of them coming from the Army JROTC programs in high schools in the Augusta area.

Their training will include a confidence course, land navigation, a rope bridge, first aid/litter carry, rappelling, waterborne safety, drill and ceremonies.

The U.S. Army Signal Center, the Regimental Noncommissioned Officer Academy and the Cadet Command will hold the camp.

For more information, call 791-4199.