Widow wins award in wrongful death suit
A jury last week awarded the widow of an Augusta man more than $2.5 million in a wrongful death suit.
The Columbia County civil jury awarded the sum Thursday to Pamela Jacobs.
Jacobs filed a lawsuit in May 2010 against tow truck driver Michael Faron Brown, Renevo Services LLC and Nuvell National Auto Finance LLC.
Jacobs’ husband. Bill Jacobs, died April 9, 2009, after being run over by a tow truck driven by Brown. As a Renovo contractor, the Gaston, S.C., man was attempting to repossess a truck from the Jacobs’ friend Joe Clements in Martinez.
Brown, 30, was charged with murder, aggravated assault and second degree criminal damage to property. His wife, Victoria Nichole Brown, faced the same charges, plus a simple battery charge.
Michael Brown pled guilty last year to vehicular homicide and criminal damage to property. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Victoria Brown pled guilty to simple battery and criminal damage to property and was sentenced to two years in prison.
Two suspects arrested for robbery in home
Authorities arrested two men last week suspected of robbing three people at gunpoint during a home invasion in Evans.
Finas Aaron Goodwin III, 17, and Scott LaMont Farley Jr., 18, both of Evans, were charged with armed robbery Thursday. Farley, who lived in the same Westwood Club apartment complex as the victims, also was charged with two more counts of armed robbery, three counts of possession of a firearm or knife during the commission of a crime, and a count of burglary.
Two men in their early 20s and a 19-year-old woman told Columbia County sheriff’s deputies that two men forced their way into their apartment on the 200 block of Lariat Circle at about 3 p.m. Nov. 29.
All three were forced to lay on the floor while the robbers took cell phones, an Ipad, an X-Box and cash. Then, they ran from the home, according to a sheriff’s office report.
Goodwin and Farley are being held in the Columbia County Detention Center without bond.
Bradford murder trial set for February
The case against a Hephzibah man accused of shooting a Columbia County wastewater treatment plant employee is expected to go to trial in February.
The time for the jury trial against Thomas Eugene Bradford, 43, was set during a Friday hearing in Evans.
Bradford is accused of fatally shooting Raymond V. Lee, 38, of Grovetown.
Authorities say Bradford, a driver for Thomson-based Hudsons Grassing Co. Inc., and Lee argued at the Reed Creek Water Pollution Control Plant in Martinez on April 1. Witnesses said that during the argument and fight between the men, Bradford brandished a pistol and shot Lee.
Bradford called 911 and waited at the scene until he was arrested.
In May, Bradford was indicted for murder and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime. He pled not guilty to those charges in June.
Bradford is being held in the Columbia County Detention Center without bond, according to jailers.
Mother, daughter plead not guilty to murder
A Martinez mother and daughter pled not guilty Friday to murder and cruelty charges in connection to the death of an 85-year-old woman in their care.
Deborah Yvonne Hill, 48, and her daughter Brittany Michelle Hurst, 19, pled not guilty to charges of murder and cruelty to persons 65 years and older at an arraignment hearing held in Evans.
They are charged in the death of 85-year-old Blanche Aline Carpenter, a friend of Hill’s grandmother. Hill and Hurst were acting as Carpenter’s caregivers at their Locks Hill home when they reported her death to police Aug. 25.
According to authorities, Carpenter had been dead about two days. An autopsy revealed she died from medical complications of neglect.
Hill also faces three counts of cruelty to children and two counts of misdemeanor failure to educate. Authorities say her children, then ages 16, 11, and 9, lived in unsanitary conditions and that two had not been sent to school.
The oldest child is with his father. The two others are in the custody of the Department of Family and Children Services.
Hill’s grandmother and her disabled husband, who is under the supervision of Adult Protective Services, are in assisted living facilities.
Hill and Hurst are being held in the Columbia County Detention Center without bond.
Teens plead not guilty in home invasion
Two teens involved in a Grovetown home invasion pled not guilty Friday during an arraignment hearing.
A Columbia County grand jury last month indicted Mario Levache Jones Jr., 17, of Augusta, and Nicholas Dwight Blodgett, 17, of Grovetown, for burglary, aggravated assault, false imprisonment, criminal attempt to commit armed robbery and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime.
Mario Jones and Blodgett are accused of an armed home invasion on Lake Royal Drive along with Jermaine Marcell Jones Jr., 14, Antonio Marquette Davis, 15, and Zion Howard, 11, all of Augusta. They were charged with the same crimes as Mario Jones and Blodgett.
At about 2 p.m. Oct. 31, a woman called authorities claiming four young men threatened her at gunpoint. She answered the door of her boyfriend’s home off South Old Belair Road and four boys forced her to the floor at gunpoint.
The assailants woke up her boyfriend, who was asleep upstairs. He cocked a weapon and scared away the assailants.
The boys were caught and arrested as they ran away. Blodgett, who is believed to have been driving the truck, was arrested later after the teens claimed he was the mastermind of the home invasion.
Jermaine Jones and Davis, who also faced a charge of theft by receiving stolen property, were sentenced to five years in confinement by Columbia County Juvenile Court Judge Doug Flanagan. He remanded Howard to the custody of the state Department of Juvenile Justice.
Blodgett is being held in the Columbia County Detention Center on a $90,200 bond and Mario Jones is being held on a $85,300 bond, according to jail records.
The following account was taken from a report from The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office. Additional reports are available at www.columbiacountyso.org:
Woman reports brother cooking meth
An Evans woman called authorities Sunday to say she suspected her brother of manufacturing methamphetamine on her property.
The 44-year-old said her brother was in a shed behind her home at about midnight when she smelled an odd odor. When she tried to look inside the shed, the woman said her brother shoved her. The woman called deputies and her brother left.
The woman told deputies she believed her brother was manufacturing drugs in the shed and requested they check it.
The shed was locked, but the woman gave permission for deputies to break into it. Inside, deputies found items used to manufacture methamphetamine.
Martinez-Columbia Fire Rescue report for Nov. 27-Dec. 4:
Medical calls, 25; activated fire alarms, 18; vehicle wrecks, 10; investigations, eight; structure fires, five; controlled/unauthorized burns, four; assist citizens, four; CPR in progress, two; vehicle fire, two; activated carbon monoxide detector, one; and wood/brush/grass fire, one.