Originally created 12/12/04

Across South Carolina



18-year-old charged in cousin's death

ORANGEBURG -- An 18-year-old man has been charged in the death of his teenage cousin, whose body was found in an Orangeburg County pond.

Ezekiel Haynes faces a murder charge in the killing of 14-year-old Chanta Davis, who was beaten with an object and then strangled with rope used for window blinds, authorities said.

The cord was around Chan­ta's neck when a highway work­er found her body in a pond about two miles from her home Wednesday, Sheriff Larry Williams said.

Investigators think the suspect killed the girl at an abandoned mobile home after the two argued, the sheriff said.

Nightclub shooting trial ends in hung jury

CHARLESTON -- The trial of a man charged with killing a bystander during a fight at a nightclub nearly two years ago has ended with a hung jury.

Jurors deliberated John Ward Jr.'s fate for 13 hours over two days before Circuit Judge Markley Dennis declared a mistrial Friday.

Prosecutors said they might offer Mr. Ward a deal to plead guilty. Otherwise, they will try the case as early as February.

Jurors wouldn't talk about the deadlock. But much of the case centered on whether Mr. Ward fired the shot that killed 20-year-old artist Jami Simmons during a fight outside the Dia­man­te nightclub in May 2003.

Conservation Bank to finance 12 projects

ANDERSON -- The state Con­ser­vation Bank has agreed to pay more than $11 million to protect more than 25,000 acres of South Carolina's best farm, wilderness and culturally significant land.

It is the first money doled out by the bank since it was created in 2002. The bank is funded with real estate fees.

Twelve of 18 projects reviewed were promised money, as long as they meet matching requirements and other obligations, bank executive director Marvin Davant said.

Council candidate has funds to fight tax

CHARLESTON -- The Charles­ton County Council candidate fighting the half-cent sales tax passed by voters last month says he now has enough money to appeal the referendum.

A week ago, Joey Douan said he couldn't take the case to the state Supreme Court without financial help. But after hearing Mr. Douan's pleas, a number of donors came up with enough money , Mr. Douan said.