Originally created 06/26/04

Across South Carolina



Gun incident at prison gets worker suspended

COLUMBIA - The state prison employee charged in connection with the April wounding of two Allendale Correctional Institution inmates has been suspended since shortly after her arrest, the Corrections Department says.

Kezia Fennell, of Brunson, is a medical assistant who has been with the agency since 2000, prison officials said in a written response to requests by The (Columbia) State for public information about the worker.

Ms. Fennell is accused of smuggling a gun inside the prison.

Corrections Investigator Richard Johnson said in a June 4 warrant that Ms. Fennell was paid $250 to sneak the gun to inmates Dean Ford, 29, and George Brown, 34.

Mr. Ford and Mr. Brown were shot by a third inmate while the two ate in a cell. Investigators have not named the shooter.

Attorney is confirmed as U.S. district judge

CHARLESTON - The U.S. Senate has confirmed Florence attorney Robert Bryan Harwell as a U.S. district judge, U.S. Sen. Ernest "Fritz" Hollings said.

Mr. Harwell, 44, will replace retiring U.S. District Judge C. Weston Houck.

The Bush administration had nominated Mr. Harwell in January.

Mr. Harwell, 44, is an attorney with Harwell, Ballenger, Barth & Hoefer LLP. He has been in general practice for about 20 years in Florence, most of which involved civil litigation. He has never been a judge.

He's the son of former South Carolina Chief Justice David Harwell.

Fire-damaged office will reopen Monday

GAFFNEY- The prosecutor's office at the Cherokee County Courthouse, which was gutted by a fire May 11, will reopen Monday.

The three attorneys, investigator, victim's advocate and secretary have worked at the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office since the fire.

Police think an arsonist set the fire. No arrests have been made.

Jury convicts man in 2003 shooting death

SPARTANBURG - An Inman man has been convicted in the shooting death of a Landrum man last year.

Harold D. Upton, 56, was convicted in the March 17, 2003, shooting death of 26-year-old Franklin Cecil Davis, of Landrum.

A Spartanburg County jury deliberated more than six hours before returning the verdict.

Jurors rejected defense arguments that Mr. Davis caused his own death by spitting in the faces of Mr. Upton and his wife, thereby provoking Mr. Upton.