Trial in water-plant shooting continues
The murder trial of Thomas Eugene Bradford of Hephzibah continued into a fifth day Friday.
Jurors heard closing arguments before beginning deliberations in the case, with prosecutors calling Bradford a “hothead” who shot Columbia County Water Utility worker Raymond Lee after a fight over an overloaded sludge trailer. Defense attorneys characterized the shooting as an accident.
The jurors visited the Reed Creek Water Pollution Control plant on Stevens Creek Road in Martinez Friday morning before closing arguments to see where the shooting took place on April 1, 2011.
For updates on the trial, go to www.newstimesonline.com.
Lakeside Middle pupils punished for ‘rape gang’
A group of Lakeside Middle School students calling themselves The Charlie Rape Gang recently were punished for simulating sex acts with unwilling classmates.
A teacher overheard some pupils on Feb. 14 in class discussing something with the initials CRG and reported it to the office, said Principal Felicia Turner.
After meeting with the boys’ parents on Feb. 15, the pupils were suspended for the remainder of the week.
The acts, Turner said, consisted of the boys sneaking up on classmates and “dry humping” them.
Victims said they didn’t report the incidents to school officials because they told the boys to stop and they complied.
However, at least two parents reported inappropriate contact at the school to the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office.
The first incident report, dated Feb. 18, is from a parent whose son told her the boys were “knocking down both males and females and jumping on top of them and humping them.”
A second report dated Tuesday, the same day Turner sent a letter home to parents explaining the situation, is from a parent claiming her son was attacked at the school by a 13-year-old classmate.
The boy told his mother that his attacker belonged to the Charlie Rape Gang.
Turner said the boys communicated their acts on Facebook and got the idea from someone saying the same kinds of gangs existed in South Carolina schools.
Sheriff’s Capt. Steve Morris said the incidents are being investigated, but no charges had been filed as of Thursday.
Student arrested for bomb threat
Columbia County authorities arrested a Grovetown High School student Thursday for making a bomb threat.
School officials discovered the threat written in a bathroom stall about 8 a.m., forcing them to evacuate the school for about an hour.
Deputies arrested a 16-year-old girl for writing the threat, Morris said. She was charged with terroristic threats and acts, and disruption/interference with the operation of a public school.
The girl was booked into the Columbia County Detention Center before being transferred to the Regional Youth Detention Center in Sandersville, Ga.
The following accounts were taken from reports from The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office. Additional reports are available at www.columbiacountyso.org:
Teen threatens mother
An Evans teen upset that her laptop had been taken away from her threatened her mother Monday with a knife.
The 16-year-old was angry with her father because he took the computer away as punishment and left the house without permission in her mother’s vehicle.
Minutes later, the teen returned and her mother took the keys out of her hand and threw her purse behind a chair.
The girl took a knife from the kitchen and held it above her head. She stabbed the knife into the kitchen wall before walking outside.
Her mother locked the door, and when the teen realized she had been locked out of the house, she carved a profane word into the side of the house.
She also kicked the door, causing significant damage to the door frame.
When authorities arrived, the teen had calmed down and was sitting on the couch.
She was charged with aggravated assault, possession of a knife during the commission of a crime and criminal damage to property in the second degree. She was booked in the Columbia County Detention Center before being taken to a juvenile detention hearing, Morris said.
Three Augustans arrested for drugs
Three Augusta residents were arrested Tuesday after deputies found illegal drugs on them while stopped at Washington and Pleasant Home roads.
Sade Kelona Berry Smith, 25, of the 2400 block of Antebellum Drive, was carrying about 1.7 grams of marijuana, 0.4 grams of cocaine, a marijuana grinder, rolling papers and other drug paraphernalia. She was charged with possession of marijuana, possession of cocaine, unregistered vehicle, driving on a suspended license and other traffic charges.
Angel Shawn Wimberly, 34, of the 2300 block of Prague Court, had about 1.1 grams of marijuana, seven Xanax pills and a schedule IV drug. She was charged with possession of marijuana and possession of schedule IV drugs.
Damien Wimberly, 32, also of Prague Court, was found with about 1.1 grams of marijuana, and was charged with possession of marijuana and giving false name to a police officer.
Damien Wimberly left the jail Tuesday after posting a $2,200 bond. Angel Wimberly was released Wednesday with bond set at $6,200.
Smith remained in jail Thursday on a $13,100 bond.
Fire set in yard
A grass fire started Wednesday night in the yard of a Martinez couple appeared to have been deliberately set.
A passerby notified the homeowners at about 11:30 p.m. that a grass fire was moving near the side of their home on the 400 block of Flintrock Way.
The 65-year-old man who lived inside the house extinguished the flames with a garden hose.
Firefighters with Martinez-Columbia Fire Rescue immediately smelled the odor of an accelerant when they arrived on the scene.