Second woman in chase sentenced to life in prison
The second of two women indicted in a fatal 2006 crash will spend life in prison after being found guilty by a Columbia County jury Thursday.
The jury convicted Nebula Denise McNeely, 45, of Augusta, a passenger in the vehicle, on two counts of murder, feticide, two counts of serious injury by vehicle, cruelty to children, fleeing and attempting to elude police, and misdemeanor shoplifting.
Superior Court Judge Duncan Wheale sentenced McNeely to three consecutive life sentences, one without the possibility of parole, plus 26 years in prison.
McNeely and her co-defendant, Tiara Maria Smith, 22, fled the Marshall's store in Mullins Crossing shopping center after shoplifting. Smith was driving her sport utility vehicle and ran the red light at Washington Road and Bobby Jones Expressway and struck a Chrysler Cirrus.
Margaret Patricia Branton, 63, and her son, Lonnie D. Turner, 37, both of Martinez, were killed. Turner's pregnant wife, Mary, was in the back seat with the couple's 4-year-old son. Turner's fetus died as a result of the wreck.
Her son received minor injuries.
Smith was sentenced to life in prison plus 10 years after pleading guilty in September.
The following accounts were taken from reports from the Columbia County Sheriff's Office. More reports are available at www.columbiacountyso.org:
Burglar frightens Appling woman, then runs away
An Appling woman interrupted a burglary at her home Monday.
After hearing a noise, the woman said, she looked out a window of her front door and saw a porch door open. She opened the door and a wooden bench had been moved to block her doorway.
At that time, a man jumped from the right side of her porch and yelled. The woman screamed, closed her door and watched the man run away.
Boy is caught riding stolen bicycle in Martinez
A sheriff's deputy helped a boy find his stolen bike when they discovered the thief riding it.
A Martinez man told the deputy Tuesday that someone had stolen his son's bicycle but that his son had seen it at another address.
The deputy drove the man and his son down Dent Street and found a boy riding the bike.
The boy told the officer that a friend had given him the bike, but he didn't know his friend's name. He then changed his story to say that he had found the bike on the side of the road and took it.
Police charged the boy with theft by receiving stolen property and turned him over to his mother.
Mail-order ring stolen after delivery in Evans
A mail-order ring recently made it to the Evans address of the buyer, but not to the buyer.
A resident of Connemara Trail told police Tuesday that he found a package in his mailbox that was supposed to have contained a ring he ordered. The package was partially opened, he said, and the ring he intended to give his wife was gone.
Errant golf ball slams into vehicle near fire station
A Martinez woman's car was hit by a golf ball coming from a fire station Tuesday.
As she was driving south on Old Evans Road in her 2005 Ford Mustang, she said, a golf ball flew toward her from the Desoto Drive fire station and hit the passenger-side quarter panel.
The man who hit the ball immediately approached the woman and told her and a deputy that he would pay for the damage.
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