Originally created 09/22/04

Across the area



Man released from prison

An Augusta man ordered freed months ago by a federal judge was finally released Tuesday after he was resentenced to time served.

Charles "Jeff" Mitchell Jr., 30, was being held in jail pending a retrial on a voluntary manslaughter charge. He was convicted of the crime and sentenced to 25 years in prison in 1995, but his conviction was vacated in June by a federal judge when the state's appeals court refused to grant Mr. Mitchell a second appeal.

On Tuesday, Mr. Mitchell pleaded guilty in Richmond County Superior Court to voluntary manslaughter in the Oct. 2, 1994, death of Danny Hucks. Senior Judge Bernard J. Mulherin Jr. sentenced him to time served and 10 years' probation.

District 22 candidates will debate Thursday

Republican state Sen. Don Cheeks and Democrat Charles Walker will square off in a live debate to be broadcast Thursday morning on two local radio stations and the Internet.

The debate between the candidates for the District 22 state Senate seat will be broadcast commercial free from 7:30 to 9 a.m. on Power 107 (107.7 FM) and 96-3 Kiss FM (96.3 FM), according to Mike Kramer, the operations manager for Clear Channel Communications.

The public can also hear the debate in a live Web cast on The Augusta Chronicle's Web site, www.augustachronicle.com.

Death penalty trial is set to begin Nov. 8

Unless a legal glitch develops over the statement Jeffrey Huckabee gave, his death penalty trial should begin as scheduled Nov. 8.

Mr. Huckabee, 21, has pleaded innocent in Richmond County Superior Court to charges of murder, burglary and armed robbery.

He is accused of killing 26-year-old Anthony Scott Nattinger with a pickax March 4, 2003.

Unable to find Mr. Nattinger's tax-refund check in Mr. Nattinger's west Augusta apartment, the assailant took electronic equipment and the victim's vehicle, according to investigators.

Firefighters are called in to free boy's arm

Martinez firefighters had to rescue an 8-year-old Blue Ridge Elementary School pupil who got his arm stuck in a projector cart Tuesday.

The incident occurred at about 3 p.m. at the school in Evans. The boy was trapped for more than 30 minutes as firefighters attempted to free him using a hacksaw, said Martinez Fire Department spokeswoman Honey Shore.

Principal Joyce Long said a teacher was present in the class when the incident occurred and that the boy wanted to see whether his hand could fit into a hole in the cart. Mrs. Shore said the boy, whose name she did not know, was not injured.

Deputy receives blame for traffic accident

A Columbia County sheriff's deputy was ruled at fault in a Monday traffic wreck on Belair Road.

Deputy David Herrity made an improper U-turn to pursue a speeding motorist, said sheriff's Capt. Steve Morris.

The wreck occurred at about 5 p.m. near Shadowmoor Drive when Deputy Herrity turned into the path of Lisa Williams, of Evans, who was driving a 2004 GMC Yukon, Capt. Morris said.

Police arrest suspects in jewelry robberies

North Augusta police officers have been credited by federal officials and other law enforcement agencies with breaking up an armed robbery ring that had been hitting jewelry stores throughout the Southeast for about three years.

Those arrested included Troy Anthony Sherrell, 40, a suspect in the May 10, 2002, robbery of Kay Jewelers in Edgewood Square.

Mr. Sherrell was indicted with five others in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia last week, according to the North Augusta Department of Public Safety.

A news release states that the defendants robbed 15 jewelry stores in Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia and Tennessee.

Driveway death still under investigation

Police and the coroner's office are still investigating circumstances surrounding the death of a New Ellenton man whose next-door neighbor accidentally ran over him as he lay in the neighbor's driveway.

Emory Allen, 71, died at Medical College of Georgia Hospital on Saturday night, four days after he was run over by the neighbor's sport utility vehicle on Carolina Avenue, Aiken County Chief Deputy Coroner Tim Carlton said.

New Ellenton Police Chief Jeff Smith would not release the name of the man who backed over Mr. Allen, crushing his chest.

The neighbor has not been charged, and no charges are expected, Chief Smith said.

Mr. Carlton said the death has been ruled accidental. Officials are still waiting on test results to determine whether Mr. Allen was intoxicated at the time of the 6:45 a.m. accident.

"As to why he was in the driveway, it's a mystery," Chief Smith said.

Condition is serious for boy hit by truck

The condition of a boy who was struck by a pickup while waiting for his school bus has worsened, officials said Tuesday.

Danielle Wong Moores, a spokeswoman at Medical College of Georgia Hospital, said Hakeem J. Graves, 9, was in serious condition Tuesday afternoon. Mrs. Moores said the child was in good condition Monday morning.

According to the Richmond County Sheriff's Office, Hakeem tried to run across New McDuffie Road to catch his school bus.

He was struck by a southbound Chevrolet 1500 driven by Luther Gaskill, a police report states, who told police in a written statement that he swerved to try to avoid the boy.

No charges were filed in the accident.

10 arrests take place at county schools

Richmond County sheriff's deputies arrested at least 10 people Tuesday at county high schools as part of a task force to reduce criminal activity at schools, officials said.

According to Richmond County jail records, the following persons were charged as adults at the following schools:

  • Butler: Jeremy Durrell Bolton, 18, charged with disorderly conduct
  • Cross Creek: Terence Lamonte Young, 17, charged with disruption of public school
  • Glenn Hills: Loren David Watson, 18, charged with disorderly conduct
  • Academy of Richmond County: Matthew Lavert Wilson, charged with disruption of public school.
  • Sheriff's Sgt. Scott Gay, of the agency's Crime Suppression Team, reported arrests of juveniles 16 and younger. Their names were not released because of their ages:

  • Cross Creek: two juveniles charged with disruption of public school and simple battery
  • Glenn Hills: one juvenile charged with criminal trespass; two juveniles charged with disruption of public school
  • Academy of Richmond County: one juvenile charged with theft by taking under $500; one juvenile charged with disorderly conduct.
  • "We are making some progress," Sgt. Gay said. "Of course we knew going into this that it would not be an overnight fix, but I think everybody sees the need for it."

    Drill set for chemical plant to delay traffic

    DSM Chemicals North America, one of the area's largest chemical manufacturers, will conduct an emergency preparedness drill this morning at its facility on Columbia Nitrogen Road.

    Motorists can expect traffic delays on Columbia Nitrogen Drive between 9 and 11 a.m.