Originally created 04/08/06

Across South Carolina



Archaeologist will examine cemeteries

GEORGETOWN - The state archaeologist is coming to Georgetown County to look at two sites where old cemeteries might have been disturbed.

Jonathan Leader said his visit came after calls from residents.

He planned to visit the Ervin Cantley Boat Landing, near Andrews, to determine whether the county built the structure on top of a former cemetery.

Mr. Leader also will visit Campfield Plantation to see whether graves at the historic plantation were disturbed and what steps can be taken to protect the land.

Grandson is charged in death of woman

ORANGEBURG - The grandson of a woman who was found dead in her burning home has been charged with murder, prosecutors said.

William Bell Jr. was charged Thursday in the death his grandmother, Anna W. Bell, who was found burned in her Holly Hill home March 9. Authorities think she died before the fire.

The grandson, who had previously been held on an arson charge, has denied killing his grandmother and setting her home on fire.

Man gets 30 years for killing brother, uncle

ROCK HILL - A Rock Hill man whose lawyer says he is mentally ill has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for killing his uncle and brother after a Thanksgiving Day argument over a motor scooter.

Freddie Cunningham, 50, pleaded guilty but mentally ill to two counts of voluntary manslaughter in a plea deal Thursday. He had been charged with murder in the deaths.

Mr. Cunningham, who doctors said has the intellectual capability of a 10- or 11-year-old, had been drinking when he grabbed a shotgun and shot uncle William Cunningham in the chest, prosecutors said. Mr. Cunningham then reloaded and shot his brother Theotis Rhinehart.

Conspiracy charge could lead to death

ABBEVILLE - A judge will decide next month whether a 73-year-old woman is eligible to face the death penalty even though she wasn't at the house where two law enforcement officers were killed more than two years ago.

Rita Bixby is charged with accessory before the fact of murder, conspiracy to commit murder and lying to police in the deaths, which started a 14-hour standoff in December 2003. Authorities say the family was angry over plans to widen a highway in front of their home.

Mrs. Bixby left the house before the shooting. But "the only reason she left the home was because she wanted to protect her handicapped son" who lived across town, prosecutor Jerry Peace said.

Mrs. Bixby's son and husband are charged with murder.