Originally created 03/09/06

Across the area



Ex-bank worker to serve jail time

A former Wachovia employee who was accused of stealing $27,000 from the bank was sentenced to prison Wednesday.

Carla W. Patton, 35, pleaded guilty in Richmond County Superior Court to theft by taking. Tanya Jeffords, of the public defender's office, said Ms. Patton had worked for Wachovia for 13 years.

When her family finances fell apart, she took money from the bank for nearly a year. She had no prior criminal history and Ms. Jeffords asked for first offender status to help Ms. Patton find employment.

Judge William M. Fleming Jr. groused that in Ms. Patton's case she in effect stole his money, because he pays taxes and also forced him to pay for her attorney.

He sentenced Ms. Patton to five years in prison followed by five years' probation and ordered her to pay restitution.

Suspect charged in scuffle with officer

Officers arrested a man Wednesday who they said injured a Richmond County sheriff's deputy who walked in on him burglarizing a Broad Street apartment Tuesday night.

Maurice McCullough, 39, of the 100 block of Broad Street, was charged with burglary, aggravated assault on a police officer and removing an officer's weapon.

Investigator Blaise Dresser said that Deputy Eric Harrison was responding to a suspicious noise call at Broadway Apartments on the 300 block of Broad Street just before 8 p.m. Tuesday when he walked in on the burglary.

The deputy reportedly chased the robber from Broadway to behind Mr. McCullough's residence, where they struggled briefly.

The investigator said Deputy Harrison's .40-caliber handgun discharged, but no one was shot. In the process the robber grabbed the weapon. It was later found 150 feet from the site of the struggle.

Police tracked down Mr. McCullough inside his home, the investigator said.

Four people injured in drive-by shooting

Police are investigating a drive-by shooting on the 1800 block of Broad Street in which four people were injured late Tuesday, officials said.

Richmond County Sheriff's Lt. Jimmy Young said 20-year-old Daquan Miller reported that someone drove past a residence where people were having a cookout and began firing at attendees just before 11 p.m.

Mr. Miller, who was shot in the arms and eye, was the most severely injured of the four, according to the lieutenant.

Shanikka Flowers, of Metcalf Street, was struck in the head and left torso; Charo Cook, of Ellis Street, was hit in the leg and hip; and Lashekia Easter, was shot in the legs, police said.

Each one was treated at Medical College of Georgia Hospital after the incident.

Man is sentenced in 2004 assault, robbery

A man convicted of sexually assaulting and robbing a woman in Burke County was sentenced to life in prison this week.

Chastin B. Moore, 30, was sentenced in Burke County Superior Court where a jury convicted him last month of aggravated sodomy, aggravated sexual battery, aggravated assault, kidnapping, robbery and terroristic threats.

The crimes related to an attack on a woman in July 2004. The female motorist was forced off the road.

Two other women in Richmond and Columbia county reported similar attempts.

Charges are still pending in the other two counties.

Man faces charges of attempted burglary

Richmond County sheriff's deputies arrested a 20-year-old Grovetown man Wednesday who they said tried to rob a home on Dorn Road in Augusta the day before.

Robert Ashley Rickerson Jr., of the 700 block of Chamberlain Road, was charged with attempted burglary and booked in the Richmond County jail.

According to a Richmond County Sheriff's incident report, Billy Joe Moore told police several men tried to break into his residence at about 7 p.m. Tuesday.

When Mr. Moore noticed that the screen door and door frame at his home were busted he said he got out his .38-caliber revolver and fired two shots toward the front door. No one was hit, however.

The other men reportedly got away but an officer located Mr. Rickerson sitting in a vehicle nearby.

Richmond County Sheriff's Lt. Jimmy Young said the 20-year-old admitted that he forced his way inside the home but told police it was because he was being chased.

Federal jury convicts men in bank robbery

A federal jury convicted two men Wednesday of conspiracy to commit bank robbery in last year's holdup of a Waynesboro bank.

Edmund Booth Jr., of the U.S. Attorney's Office, said the jury convicted Christopher Jodale Cunningham of conspiracy and bank robbery, and Damien Jermaine Jones of conspiracy.

Both were acquitted of a weapons charge, and Mr. Jones was also acquitted of bank robbery.

They were charged in the March 29 robbery of Regions Bank. A sentencing date has not been set.

Driver says unknown men shot him, took car

A 42-year-old Hephzibah man told police two unknown men to whom he gave rides shot him and stole his car Tuesday night, a Richmond County Sheriff's incident report states.

Albert Ford Jr. said when he dropped the men off near Richmond Hill West's intersection with Gordon Highway, one of the men shot him in the right leg with a black semiautomatic handgun and then the men drove off in his Ford Explorer.

Middle-schooler found hiding pot in her hair

A Murphey Middle School pupil was busted with pot in her hair Monday, according to a Richmond County school board report.

A classmate of the unnamed pupil alerted a school board public safety officer that the 15-year-old was hiding marijuana in her hair, the report said.

A search of the pupil uncovered a small plastic bag of marijuana.

School officials suspended her pending a disciplinary tribunal, the report said. Criminal charges were also filed.

Four arrested after fight at restaurant

Four people were arrested at Outback Steakhouse in Aiken on Tuesday after three men who were asked to leave the restaurant got into a fight with a couple waiting for a table, a report states.

Arrested were: Stacey Latrell Sanders, 31, of the 500 block of Allen Street in Barnwell; James Frazier Williams, 41, of Marlboro Avenue in Barnwell; and Gregory Jones, 34, of the 2100 block of Appleton Road in Allendale.

Mr. Sanders and Mr. Williams were charged with simple assault and battery, and Mr. Jones was charged with disorderly conduct.

Also charged with disorderly conduct was Michael Dwight Markwell, 29, of the 100 block of Simonds Street in Warrenville.

According to the report from the Aiken Department of Public Safety, after being asked to leave, Mr. Sanders, Mr. Williams and Mr. Jones got into a fight with Mr. Markwell and his wife, Amy, using a wooden cane from a nearby truck to hit the couple. The report states that Mr. Markwell became "belligerent and loud" after Outback employees refused to sell him any more alcohol.

Aiken public safety earns national award

The Aiken Department of Public Safety has been named one of 12 law enforcement agencies as a "flagship agency" by the national group that reviews police departments.

The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, which reviews and inspects police departments and sets standards of operation, recently informed public safety officials of the honor.

Public safety officials have been invited to man a booth and display their policies and procedures at a conference being held March 22 in Jacksonville, Fla., and will receive a certificate of appreciation at an awards banquet.

Republican Party to meet in Aiken County

The Aiken County Republican Party will meet today at the Aiken County Council Chambers, at Richland Avenue and Morgan Street.

A social gathering will begin at 6:30 p.m., and the general meeting will start at 7 p.m.

Repairs to close part of Interstate 20 West

Repair work has begun on Interstate 20 West between the Lexington County line and mile marker 22 in Aiken County.

Sections of the roadway will be closed to traffic and reduced speeds will be required as repairs take place, the South Carolina Department of Transportation said Tuesday. The work is expected to be completed by July.

Fort Gordon to hold community meeting

Military retirees and citizens in the Augusta area interested in Fort Gordon are invited to the monthly community information briefing on March 15.

It will held at 11:30 a.m. in the Gordon Club on 19th Street, a news release states.

The meeting will provide information on Fort Gordon events and projects.

For more information, call 791-3639.

- From staff reports

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