Across the area

House burns in blaze; man found dead inside

A man's body was found in the rubble of a house destroyed by fire Friday night.

Richmond County Fire Lt. Carlton Bradley said the body was found about 9:45 p.m. in the ashes of the home at 1748 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Neighbors reported the fire about 6:45 p.m.

The resident, Charles Gordon, had been seen earlier in the day, said Roosevelt Slaughter, a friend of Mr. Gordon's.

A cause of the fire has not been determined, Lt. Bradley said. The body will be sent to the GBI Crime Lab in Atlanta, he said.

Hearing set for couple accused in truck death

A bond hearing is scheduled Wednesday in Columbia County for a South Carolina couple accused of running over and killing an Augusta man in the path of their tow truck.

Michael Faron Brown, 27, and his wife, Victoria Nichole Brown, 20, both of Gaston, S.C., are charged with murder in the April 9 death of William Leslie Jacobs at the home of a friend in Martinez. The Browns were repossessing the friend's truck.

Hot-air balloon makes unexpected landing

A hot-air balloon giving an elementary school principal and a teacher a ride Friday morning ended up making a quick landing in an expected place: the parking lot of an Evans retirement community.

The Rising Star balloon, piloted by Manning Bowie, of Martinez, landed just after 9 a.m. in a narrow lot between two buildings at Washington Commons, off Washington Road.

The two passengers, South Columbia Elementary School Principal Lisa Reeder and third-grade teacher Carole Prescott, said they enjoyed the ride and the unexpected landing.

The balloon was launched from the school as a celebration for students who met their goal in the school's reading program.

Sergeant charged with pimping, pandering

Columbia County authorities have arrested a Fort Gordon sergeant on charges of pimping and pandering after a search of his home, a sheriff's office spokesman said Friday.

Staff Sgt. Patrick Campbell, 29, was arrested Thursday after four police agencies searched his home in the 600 block of Lory Lane in Grovetown, said Columbia County sheriff's Capt. Steve Morris. Officers seized computers, bank records and paperwork during their search.

Capt Morris said he was told by Army investigators that Sgt. Campbell's arrest is believed to be an isolated "sting."