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Guilty verdict in brutal assault

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Fri, 08/21/2015 - 2:42pm

It took a Richmond County jury only minutes Friday to convict Ronnie Lee Jones of aggravated battery and rape in a brutal assault on a woman a year ago today.

On the anniversary of perhaps the most horrible day of her life, the woman who still bears the scars from being dosed with gasoline and set on fire saw justice done to the man who assaulted her.

Jones, 31, had tried to convince the Richmond County Superior Court jury that what happened in the early morning hours of Aug. 22, 2014, at his father’s garage was an accident that the victim caused.

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Aiken jailer charged in wife's death did not appear in court

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Fri, 08/21/2015 - 12:43pm

AIKEN — Matthew Jordan Blakley, a former Aiken County jailer arrested in June and charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of his wife, did not appear in an Aiken County courtroom Friday and might be excused again for a second scheduled appearance Oct. 2.

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Sego Middle School locked down after report of gun on campus

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Fri, 08/21/2015 - 12:35pm

A prank call by a Sego Middle School student about a gun on campus led police to lockdown the school earlier today.

Communications Specialist Israel Butler said the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office received a call stating a gun was on the campus. The school was immediately put on lockdown while police searched for possible weapons.

After an investigation, police determined the call came from a student’s cellphone. That student has been identified and will be punished, Butler said.

The school remained on a soft lockdown for the rest of the day as a precaution.

Shark bites boy off SC coast

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Fri, 08/21/2015 - 11:41am



MURRELLS INLET, S.C. — Officials say a 15-year-old boy is being treated for injuries to his hand and leg after being bitten by a shark on the South Carolina coast near Myrtle Beach.


Assistant Chief J.R. Haney of the Murrells Inlet-Garden City Fire District says the youth was bitten off Garden City Beach on Thursday and taken to a hospital.


In a statement, the hospital says an emergency room physician confirmed that the injuries were shark bites. The boy was expected to be released from the emergency room later Thursday.

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Coyote with rabies found in Columbia County

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Fri, 08/21/2015 - 11:08am

A coyote found Thursday in the Knob Hill Farm Road area of Columbia County has tested positive for rabies, the county Health Department said.

Because this area consists of both rural pasture land with livestock and suburban communities, the health department will be distributing a letter to homes in the area alerting residents of possible warning signs.

The neighborhoods include homes on Knob Hill Farm, Pryor Drive and Bryant Cove.

Private road paved, Ga. mayor arrested

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Fri, 08/21/2015 - 9:55am



JEFFERSON, Ga. -- The mayor of Nicholson was released from the Jackson County Jail Wednesday after posting a $10,000 bond on a felony theft charge alleging he used tax money to pave a private road.

But the investigation into Mayor Ronnie Maxwell’s spending habits isn’t over, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

After Maxwell was charged with theft, the GBI announced agents are continuing to examine the “financial expenditures of Maxwell.”

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Marijuana prices vary across US

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Fri, 08/21/2015 - 7:27am


ATHENS, Ga. -- If you’re looking for low-cost marijuana, head west.

But the far north is where you’ll find the highest prices, University of Georgia graduate student Mingshu Wang found after he set out to learn how cannabis prices vary across the United States.

Wang is from China, where pot is strictly illegal, even for medical use, and he’s been fascinated by the changing legal landscape he’s seen in the United States over the past few years, he said.

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UGA chaplain program under fire

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Fri, 08/21/2015 - 7:17am


ATHENS, Ga. -- A group that advocates the separation of church and government has called on University of Georgia President Jere Morehead to abolish the position of UGA football team chaplain, now held by UGA football coach Mark Richt’s brother-in-law.

The Freedom from Religion Foundation also accused Richt of using his “public office” to raise money for a Christian ministry.

Richt raised funds in 2014 for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes at a gala event in the Butts-Mehre Building, the headquarters of the UGA Athletic Association, the group charged.

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