The Carolinas | Man gets 25 years in brutal attack

September 23, 2012 

South Carolina

Columbia

S.C. counties dry along Savannah River

Counties along the Savannah River remain seriously dry, despite summer rains that improved drought conditions elsewhere in the state.

The State newspaper of Columbia reports Sunday that the three major lakes along the Savannah River basin remain well below their long-term average levels for late September. Jocassee Lake is the lowest at 14 feet below average.

The official drought status is severe for five counties. Nine counties in the state’s northwestern portion are in moderate drought. The rest is in incipient drought, which is less severe.

Fort Mill

Underage alcohol sting nets arrests

Clerks at Bi-Lo and Food Lion were among those cited for selling alcohol to minors during a undercover weekend buy operation by York County drug agents.

On Saturday, a 19-year-old undercover buyer was able to purchase beer from clerks at four stores in the Fort Mill/Tega Cay area, said Walter Beck, Fort Mill unit commander for the York County Multijurisdictional Drug Enforcement Unit.

Orangeburg

Man gets 25 years in brutal attack

A Calhoun County man has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for attacking a woman with a pocketknife and broken bottles during a robbery.

The Times and Democrat of Orangeburg reports that 51-year-old Joseph Starks of St. Matthews pleaded guilty to attempted murder in the brutal robbery at an Orangeburg motel. Authorities say officers responding to a 911 call May 25 found a 48-year-old woman lying in a pool of blood.

She had received cuts to her head, face, arms, legs and forearms.

The woman was able to give investigators her attacker’s nickname. She says he hit her in the head with a bottle when she opened the door. She was continually struck with glass from at least two broken bottles.

Police found bloody money inside Starks’ home.

Saluda

Secret shrouds convicted sheriff’s case

Details about what led prosecutors to accept a plea deal from a former Saluda County sheriff will be kept secret from the taxpayers who paid his salary for a decade.

Jason Booth pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor and paid only a $900 fine for using inmate labor to build a party shed on his land.

S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson’s office refuses to release the report from the State Law Enforcement Division agent that investigated Booth. The agency says it must be kept secret because the case went before the state grand jury.

First Amendment attorney Jay Bender says SLED reports are almost always made public after an investigation ends and this one should be no different. He says the report was a public document the moment it was created.

North Carolina

Bermuda Run

Marine shoots wife, kills himself

Authorities say a U.S. Marine based at Camp LeJeune shot and critically injured his wife before killing himself in front of his parents’ home.

Davie County Sheriff Andy Stokes says the body of 26-year-old Kirk Harris of Jacksonville was found in his parents’ driveway about 6:30 a.m. Sunday. Deputies found his wife across the street with gunshot wounds. She was in intensive care Sunday afternoon at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

Stokes says the two had been arguing before the shooting. Harris’ parents were not home. The couple had been staying there over the weekend. Deputies say they met there when he was on leave.

Authorities say Harris had recently returned from Afghanistan. The couple had been married for about a year.

Graham

Teen gets probation for punching cop at prom

A 17-year-old Hillsborough teen who punched a sheriff’s deputy in the face during a high school prom has been sentenced to probation and must apologize.

The Times-News of Burlington reports that the teen pleaded guilty last week to inflicting serious injury to a law enforcement officer, a felony.

The teen punched Alamance County Sheriff’s Sgt. Bobby Baldwin in April. The officer had responded to The Hawbridge School’s prom about a disturbance involving the teen. The punch broke Baldwin’s glasses and knocked him to the ground.

A judge suspended the juvenile’s six- to 17-month sentence to 24 months of probation. The teen must pay $1,410 in court costs and restitution. He must complete 75 hours of community service, continue mental health therapy and write an apology letter to the officer.

Winston-Salem

Fall from mountain kills Scout

Authorities say a 16-year-old Boy Scout has died after falling off a cliff at Stone Mountain State Park.

The Winston-Salem Journal reports that Christopher Overcash of Kannapolis died Saturday.

State parks spokesman Charlie Peek says the teen was with a group of Boy Scouts that had camped overnight at the park. Overcash was about 100 yards off the marked trail on the mountain’s summit when he fell.

The mountain is a 600-foot-tall granite dome.

Wilkes County emergency director Greg Hendren says the call for help came around noon Saturday. The teen died at the scene.

The state park consists of more than 14,000 acres, bordering the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Thurmond Chatham Game Lands.

From wire reports

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