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Inmate claims man admitted to hotel fire

GREENVILLE - An inmate has testified that Eric Preston Hans admitted to setting a fire that killed six people in a hotel three years ago. But Mr. Hans also said authorities didn't have enough evidence to put him away, Curtis Kricke said.

Mr. Hans, 37, is being tried on one federal count of arson resulting in death. If convicted, he could face the death penalty. He has maintained his innocence.

Six people died in the January 2004 fire at a Comfort Inn.

Mr. Kricke told the court Friday that he met Mr. Hans when both were in a state prison in 2005.

According to the testimony, Mr. Hans told Mr. Kricke that he got a gas can and set the fire because he felt betrayed by a stripper he had befriended at his job at Platinum Plus.

The dancer, Melba Leshawn Canty, 21, and her 15-month-old son, Jaden, died in the fire.

Police kill man after struggle at station

SUMMERVILLE - A man shot to death by police during a struggle at a police station had taken a Taser from an officer, authorities said.

Police said the 43-year-old man, whose name was not released, was arrested Thursday after police found him searching through a car belonging to a sergeant's wife, according to The Post and Courier of Charleston.

Officers twice used a Taser stun gun on him and took him to the police station, according to a police report.

The man, a Charleston resident, then struggled with an officer in an enclosed section of the police station where prisoners are taken.

Dispatchers said in the report that the man took the officer's Taser, then was shot.

State law enforcement authorities are investigating the shooting.

Patrolmen Timothy Webb and Mike Files, the officers on the scene when the man was shot, were placed on administrative leave.

Trucks stolen from fire department found

ST. MATTHEWS - The latest hot vehicles in Calhoun County were two tanker trucks stolen from a volunteer fire department.

Both have been recovered, officials said.

A fire-engine-red tanker was found Thursday afternoon, hours after it went missing when someone kicked in the back door of the station, said Randy Stabler, the chairman of the fire department board. Its front end was smashed, with the fender in a pine tree, Mr. Stabler said.

The second tanker, a white 1971 model, was found Friday in heavy woods about two miles from the station.

The second tanker doesn't appear to be damaged but will be inspected before it is returned to the fleet, authorities said.


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