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Three issue not-guilty pleas in Columbia County superior court

Posted: October 21, 2011 - 2:37pm

Three people pled not guilty to felony charges during an arraignment hearing in Columbia County on Friday.


Former Columbia County commissioner Scott Dean pled not guilty to child molestation charges for a second time.


Dean faces two charges of molesting his adopted daughter. She is one of five children that Dean and his wife adopted in 2008 from Guatemala.


He was originally indicted on the charges and he pleaded not guilty to those charges in February.


A Columbia County Grand Jury reindicted Dean on Sept. 28 on the same charges, but adjusted dates and the nature of one of the charges, according to court documents.


Dean is accused of exposing himself and inappropriately touching the girl.


The original indictment states the activity occurred between Sept. 1, 2008, and Sept. 11, 2010. The new indictment extends that time period to Oct. 11, 2010.


A trial date has not been set.


An Appling man accused of violently attacking women in three counties also pled not guilty at the hearing.


Michael Claude Maxwell, 46, of Ray Owens Road, pleaded not guilty to kidnapping with bodily injury and aggravated assault at the hearing in the courthouse in Evans. 


Maxwell is accused in attacks and abduction attempts on three women in Richmond, Columbia and Edgefield counties on the night of July 23.


Maxwell is charged in Columbia County with aggravated assault and kidnapping in the attack of an Evans woman in her driveway. He followed the 31-year-old to her Blair Street home, blocked her in with his truck and attacked her.


The woman, who sustained numerous injuries in the attack, said Maxwell tried to force her into his truck, beat her and threatened to shoot her for screaming. She eventually got away and locked herself inside her car. Maxwell left when a neighbor came outside.


Less than an hour earlier, police believe Maxwell attacked a woman in the Augusta Mall parking lot. She, too, fought back and got away.


Police then believe Maxwell left Columbia County for Edgefield County, where he broke into a home, cut the power and beat a man unconscious before kidnapping the man’s wife. She escaped in Aiken County.


A Martinez man accused of assaulting and robbing an armored truck driver in August pled not guilty to armed robbery at the hearing.


A Columbia County Grand Jury indicted Christopher Wellington Saunders, 28, of Crawford Court, for armed robbery on Sept. 28.


He is accused of hitting an armored truck driver attempting to service at ATM machine at Martinez bank. Police say he stole a bag of cash and ran away.


Witnesses saw a Ford Explorer, registered to Saunders, leaving a nearby neighborhood. He was arrested Aug. 15.


Saunders is being held in the Columbia County Detention Center without bond, according to jail records.

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