Originally created 05/14/05

Across the area



Man's death is suspicious

Augusta authorities are calling the death of a homeless man suspicious after he was found lying on the ground next to an injured man Friday.

Richmond County sheriff's Sgt. Richard Roundtree said a CSX Railroad employee spotted two men lying near the railroad tracks at 10th and Fenwick streets at about 3 p.m.

Sgt. Roundtree identified the dead man as 45-year-old Kenneth Jefferson Hunter. He called Mr. Hunter's death suspicious and said an autopsy would be performed today at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation crime lab in Augusta.

The man found with Mr. Hunter, who has not been identified yet, appeared to have cuts to his head and was taken to Medical College of Georgia Hospital, he said.

Former sheriff is injured in collision

Former Richmond County Sheriff James G. Beck was in critical condition at Medical College of Georgia Hospital on Friday after his truck flipped during a three-vehicle accident Thursday.

A wrecker-tow truck traveling east in the 2000 block of Lumpkin Road rear-ended a late-model Plymouth van waiting to make a left turn into Butler High School at about 4:15 p.m., police said.

The impact pushed the van into westbound traffic lanes, causing it to collide with an oncoming 1994 Toyota pickup, which then flipped, said Sgt. Glenn Sammons of the Richmond County sheriff's office.

Mr. Beck, the driver of the pickup, was seriously injured, and the van driver suffered minor injuries. Mr. Beck, a former city police chief, was sheriff from 1977 to 1981.

Thurmond's daughter to hold book signing

Essie Mae Washington-Williams, the daughter of the late U.S. Sen. Strom Thurmond, will sign copies of her book, Dear Senator: A Memoir by the Daughter of Strom Thurmond, in Edgefield on Tuesday.

She'll be at Tompkins Library, 104 Courthouse Square downtown, from 4 to 6 p.m.

Individuals who have purchased the book from the Old Edgefield District Genealogical Society, which is sponsoring the event, can bring their books to be signed at 3:30 p.m.

This visit will be the second Ms. Washington-Williams has made to Edgefield since she came forward as Mr. Thurmond's daughter 17 months ago.

Man says $600 was taken during attack

An Augusta man told Richmond County sheriff's deputies that someone attacked him from behind and robbed him Friday morning.

According to a sheriff's office incident report, the 54-year-old victim said he was walking to the rear door of his residence in the 2100 block of Shirley Avenue at about 8:40 a.m. when someone hit him in the back of his head with an unknown object.

The victim fell to the ground and felt the person reach in his pocket and take $600, the report said.

Man convicted in death will be paroled

A Hephzibah man who shot and killed a roommate nearly a decade ago is be paroled this week.

The State Board of Pardons and Paroles issued notice late last month that Ronald C. Coats, 56, would be paroled Tuesday.

Mr. Coats pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in the February 1996 killing of Robert E. Pittman, 45. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison that year.

Rodeo raises $20,000 for Burn Foundation

The Professional Cowboy Association's first annual Rodeo Nights raised more than $20,000 to benefit the Southeastern Firefighter's Burn Foundation, whose mission is to provide for the needs of burn survivors receiving treatment at the Joseph M. Still Burn Center.

About 3,500 people attended the pro rodeo, which was held at the Columbia County Fairgrounds.

The event featured bull riding, bareback riding, calf roping, breakaway roping, barrel racing, steer wrestling, team roping and a specialty act.

"We were thrilled with the success of the rodeo for its first year," the rodeo's chairman, David Speight, said in a news release.

"It definitely will be an annual spring event. I would like to thank the tremendous number of volunteers that worked so hard to make this rodeo possible. Working in the burn unit, I see firsthand the need for support of burn patients and their families."

- Edited from wire reports