Judge to rule on new trial request
Superior Court Judge James G. Blanchard Jr. is considering a request by an Augusta man, convicted in a 2008 home invasion that resulted in the death of a Grovetown man, for a new trial after a Monday hearing.
A jury found Patrick Antwon Booker, 23, guilty in October 2009 of burglary, armed robbery, two counts of aggravated assault, kidnapping, two counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime and possession of a firearm by a First Offender probationer. The jury acquitted Booker of malice murder and did not reach a verdict on a felony murder charge.
Booker and four others were accused of killing Rickey Gibson, 33.
Authorities say the men broke into the home Gibson shared with his girlfriend and their infant son. The girlfriend told authorities the men held them at gunpoint, put a gun in the baby’s mouth, threatened them and shot at her before fatally shooting Gibson.
Booker’s attorney, Charles Jones Jr., argued at the hearing that it was improper for Judge Blanchard to sentence Booker to life in prison, the maximum sentence for armed robbery, because a life was taken during the commission of the crime.
“We have to respect a not guilty verdict,” Jones said. “It was potentially improper of the court to sentence him to something the jury found him not guilty of.”
Assistant District Attorney Randy Sheppard said the sentence was fair and Gibson’s death was an “aggravated circumstance” of the armed robbery.
Jones also questioned Amanda Grantham, Booker’s trial attorney, about the effects of her taking a narcotic for an abscessed tooth during the trial and why she didn’t object to other statements by the judge that Jones considered prejudicial.
Blanchard said he would review the transcripts before ruling.
The following accounts were taken from reports from The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office.
Man pulls gun in drive-through
A motorist pointed a gun at an employee working in the window of a Martinez fast-food restaurant Friday but later called to apologize.
An employee of Sonic Drive-In on North Belair Road said he was taking a drive-through order at about 7:30 p.m. when he couldn’t understand the customer on the intercom and had to ask him to repeat it several times.
When the customer pulled up to the window, the employee asked him to repeat his order again.
At the time, the employee was laughing at something in the restaurant, which caused the customer to get upset. The man pulled out a silver gun, pointed it at the employee and asked him, “Do you think it’s still funny?”
The man then drove off.
According to a witness, the man said he “wouldn’t really shoot the young boy” and was just “messing with him.”
By the time deputies arrived, the man had called and apologized.
Several minors cited for alcohol
Several people were cited for being minors in possession of alcohol during the weekend.
At about 12:30 a.m. Saturday, deputies pulled over a vehicle with a broken tail light on Settlement Road near Bobby Jones Expressway.
The deputy could smell liquor inside the vehicle, but the two occupants initially denied they had been drinking or that there was alcohol in the vehicle. The driver later admitted there was a bottle of bourbon in his backpack.
A cup containing whiskey and Coke also was sitting in the center console.
The driver, Hunter Raworth Williamson, 20, of Augusta, was issued citations for minor in possession, driving with a suspended license and having an open container. Michael Henry Francis Jr., 20, of Augusta was cited for minor in possession.
At about 2 a.m. Saturday, authorities responded to a noise complaint in the 4700 block of Brookgreen Road in Martinez.
Deyonte Xavier Daniels, 18, of Grovetown; Evan Patney Jones, 19, of Evans, and a 16-year-old male were given citations for minor in possession.
At about 12:30 a.m. Sunday, deputies responding to a loud party in the 4600 block of Millhaven Road in Martinez issued four people with minor in possession of alcohol citations. Field alcohol tests showed that the four had been drinking.
They are Alexa Rae Cheek, 20, of Martinez; Fahad Magdi Idries, 20, of Grovetown; Brandon Joseph Green, 20, of Augusta; and Kelsey Johnson, 17, of Martinez.
Thief enters shop through fan
A burglar broke into a Martinez auto repair shop overnight Wednesday by going through an exhaust fan at the back of the building.
The burglary, reported Thursday, occurred at Martinez Auto Repair on Wheeler Road.
A ladder from a neighboring store was used to enter through the fan.
The thief rummaged through glove boxes of vehicles inside the shop and used a prying tool to steal money out of a vending machine.
The ladder was found near a barbed wire fence along Interstate 20.
Dozen mailboxes get damaged
More than a dozen mailboxes were reported damaged Sunday near Appling.
Columbia County deputies found that 13 mailboxes on Morris Callaway and Mill Dorn roads had been damaged between 5 p.m. Saturday and about 10 a.m. Sunday.
In many cases, a large rock was found near the mailboxes.
Martinez-Columbia Fire Rescue activity report for July 22-28:
Medical calls, 17; activated fire alarms, 13; damage from inclement weather, eight; vehicle wrecks, seven; structure fire, seven; wood/brush/grass fires, five; controlled/unauthorized burns, three; vehicle fires, two; investigations, two; ruptured
gas lines, two; CPR in progress, two; activated carbon monoxide detectors, two; mutual aid/
public safety assistance, one; and assist citizens, one.