Men suspected of burglarizing burned house
An Evans woman believes two men discovered at her burned-out home Sunday might have been trying to burglarize the residence.
The owner of a Bridlewood Trail home, which was heavily damaged by an Aug. 29 fire, went to the house with her husband and son Sunday. Her 19-year-old son said he thought he saw someone inside when they pulled up. The woman and her husband checked the house but didn’t find anyone, according to a Columbia County Sheriff’s Office incident report.
The woman said her son helped move a few items, then left. Later, two men approached her in the yard, claiming that they had asked her son to charge a cell phone inside the house. The 27-year-old man, who was with a 19-year-old, said the son charged the phone in the front room and he wanted to go and get it, according to the report. The woman said her son knew there was no power to the house, and her son confirmed by phone that he didn’t charge the man’s phone.
The men sat on the curb across from the house and kept asking if they could come inside and help. The woman told them they were not welcome.
In the home, the woman found the man’s phone under items in a front room that had been upstairs. The woman called the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office because she believed the man had been inside to steal things.
A deputy talked to the men. The older man said he knew the son from school and had asked him to charge his phone while they waited for a friend who lived across the street, according to the report. He said the woman’s son took the phone inside and left a short time later. They denied going inside. The older man identified the phone as his.
The men have not been charged, but can be if the woman pursues charges, according to sheriff’s Capt. Steve Morris.
Woman sentenced to prison in toddler’s death
A Columbia County jury convicted a Martinez woman Friday in the 2009 death of a toddler she was baby-sitting.
After four days of testimony and hours of deliberation, the jury found Lawanda Concettes Tripp, 41, guilty of involuntary manslaughter. Superior Court Judge Michael N. Annis sentenced her to 10 years in prison with credit for the nearly three years she’s served in the Columbia County Detention Center.
Tripp was charged with murder in the Nov. 15, 2009, death of 22-month-old Teaira Michele Hall, who was in Tripp’s care when she died of head injuries.
“I am innocent of any wrong-doing,” Tripp said before the sentence was imposed. “I would never hurt a child. I’m sorry Teaira is gone. I live with it every day. I’m sorry to the family of Teaira Hall.”
The trial is the second for Tripp. The first, held last month, was declared a mistrial by Annis after jurors announced they were deadlocked.
The following accounts were taken from reports from The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office.
Teen says godmother
stole money from her
A Grovetown teen told deputies Saturday that her godmother stole $1,800 from her.
The 18-year-old said her mother died in the spring and her godmother agreed to be her guardian until she finished school. She said between June 1 and Aug. 15 her godmother took $1,800 from her bank account without permission.
The teen said she set up the account to receive Social Security benefits. She has received about $650 a month since May. Other than some small clothing purchases in early June, the teen said she hadn’t used funds in the account. She gave the debit card and PIN number for the account to her godmother, who asked for it, for safe-keeping.
After moving in with another family, the teen said she discovered the account had a balance of a little over $1.
Harlem High student
receives drug charges
An Appling teen was arrested Friday after he was caught with drugs at Harlem High School.
Austin Myles Simpson, 17, was charged with possession of drugs with intent to distribute.
He was found with nine Xanax pills, a Schedule IV drug, and half an Adderall pill, a Schedule II drug.
He was released from the Columbia County Detention Center Friday evening after posting a $7,600 bond, according to jailers.
Teen says two men
beat him in his home
A Grovetown teen told deputies Saturday that two men came into his home and beat him.
The 17-year-old said he was washing dishes when two men he knew walked in uninvited and confronted him about an earlier incident. One of the men began kicking him and punching him in the torso.
The teen said he grabbed a frying pan and hit his attacker on the back of the head. The man then jumped on the teen and tried to choke him from behind.
The two men left when the teen’s girlfriend broke up the fight.
Martinez-Columbia Fire Rescue activity report for Sept. 2-8:
Medical calls, 26; activated fire alarms, 12; vehicle wrecks, 11; ruptured gas line, three; assist citizens, three; vehicle fires, two; wood/brush/grass fires, two; CPR in progress, one; controlled/unauthorized burn, one; and structure fire, one.