Evans teenager drowns at lake
A Greenbrier High School student drowned Saturday while swimming with friends in Clarks Hill Lake.
"He just kind of went out above his head, and he panicked," Columbia County Deputy Coroner Bonnie Holloway said of Christopher Smith, 17, of Ventana Drive, Evans.
Smith, a rising senior and a member of the Greenbrier football team, was swimming with three friends at Wildwood Park in Appling, Holloway said.
Columbia County Emergency Management Agency's Dive Rescue Recovery Team found Smith's body about 4:15 p.m., dive team spokeswoman Honey Shore said.
Family visitation for Smith is scheduled for 5-8 p.m. today at Platt's Funeral Home, 337 N. Belair Road, Evans. Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Thursday, but a location had not been finalized Tuesday morning. Burial will follow at Bellevue Memorial Gardens.
Donations to the Chris Smith Memorial Fund will be accepted at any Georgia Bank & Trust location and will go to Smith's family, said Greenbrier Gridiron Club president Randy Griffin.
Jury acquits man in mother's slaying
A Columbia County jury on Friday acquitted a Martinez man convicted in the 2003 slaying of his mother.
During a five-day retrial, Tom Edwin Chumley denied killing his mother, though he had made two videotaped confessions to police.
In March 2005, a jury convicted Chumley, 59, of murder and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime. He was sentenced to life in prison.
The Georgia Supreme Court granted Chumley a new trial in January 2008 after ruling that a comment made by Chief Judge J. Carlisle Overstreet in the first trial was prejudicial to the jury.
Chumley was indicted on murder and weapons charges in April 2004 after, authorities said, he confessed to shooting Meredith "Pete" Guy, 74, who was found dead in her Twin Lakes Drive home Feb. 28, 2003. An autopsy revealed she died of two .22-caliber gunshot wounds to her upper back and head.
Chumley surrendered to police in April 2004 and made two videotaped statements confessing to the murder.
During the retrial, Pete Theodocion, Chumley's attorney, acknowledged the confessions were voluntarily made, but he said they were false.
On the witness stand, Chumley denied committing the crime. His attorney said the stress of being publicly named a suspect, marital and business problems, and acute bipolar disorder made him confess.
During the 2005 trial, Overstreet told the jury that the confessions were made voluntarily. The state Supreme Court concluded the confessions should have been presented without comment.
District Attorney Ashley Wright apologized to Guy's family after Friday's verdict.
Judge Overstreet, who presided over the retrial, wouldn't allow testimony from two of Wright's rebuttal witnesses, including one who claimed he was formerly incarcerated with Chumley.
The man was going to testify that Chumley admitted he shot his mother as a "mercy killing" because she was ill.
The judge said allowing the witness to testify would have been unfair.
Chumley was released from the Columbia County Detention Center on Friday afternoon.
The following accounts were taken from reports from the Columbia County Sheriff's Office. Reports are available at www.columbiacountyso.org:
Teen reports shots at apartments
An Evans teen told police Monday that someone shot at his vehicle at Westwood Club apartment complex in Evans.
The 19-year-old said that as he was leaving the complex on Washington Road with two friends he passed a silver vehicle. The driver, whom the teen believed he knew, fired a handgun at his vehicle.
The teen was talking to his mother on the phone when she heard him yell that somebody was shooting. His mother immediately called police at 12:02 a.m.
Police went to the suspect's apartment, where the 23-year-old said he was not involved and had no knowledge of the shooting.
Two people said they were at the entrance at the time but didn't hear gunshots.
Man arrested after shooting friend
A man was arrested early Sunday after, he said, he accidentally shot his friend at his Appling residence.
Stephen George Elliston, 31, of the 5000 block of Washington Road, was charged with aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during the commission of an attempted crime. He was released Monday from the Columbia County Detention Center on a $20,200 bond, according to a jailer.
Elliston told police that he shot his friend by accident with a .38-caliber handgun. The incident was reported at 12:17 a.m.
Mark Ryan Davies, 29, of Grovetown, was taken to Medical College of Georgia Hospital but was not listed in the patient registry, which is typical of patients involved in shootings, said MCG spokesperson Denise Parrish.
The bullet struck Davies on his back left shoulder and possibly exited on the left side of his chest.
Writing found on Evans home deck
An Evans woman notified police early Saturday after seeing a shadow outside her home, where deputies later noticed a strange writing on her back deck.
Police arrived at the High Point Way residence at 2:07 a.m. While in the house, they heard noises in the backyard and found the phrase "624 I know you" written in charcoal on her concrete deck. The deputies said the writing had not been there when they arrived.
The resident said that the gate in her backyard, which remains locked, was open.
She said that she remembered that on June 24 a man in a small black truck had tried to pull her out of her vehicle when she was at a traffic light on Washington Road in Lincoln County.
She told police that she drove away, and the man followed her to William Few Parkway but turned off as she continued driving.
Evans man accused of urinating in lot
An Evans man was charged with public drunkenness Saturday after he was reportedly seen urinating next to his vehicle in the Circle K parking lot on Columbia Road.
Langdon Kyle Roberts, 30, of the 1000 block of Cumberland Drive, was arrested about 11:45 p.m. He remained in the Columbia County Detention Center on Tuesday with his bond set at $500, according to a jailer.
Roberts' blood alcohol level registered at 0.288.
Martinez Columbia Fire Rescue report for July 12-18: Structure fires, three; wood/brush/grass fires, three; vehicle fire, one; controlled/unauthorized burn, one; activated fire alarms, seven; gas line ruptures, two; medical incidents, 23; vehicle accidents, 10; electrical incident, one; weather damage, one; investigate various incidents, six; assist residents, one; and mutual aid/public safety assistance, five.
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