Week of Feb. 18, 2004
attorney hired, non-local jury to hear case Turner assault case
Williamston Municipal Judge James M. Cox decided Monday that an out-of-town jury will hear proceedings on a misdemeanor assault and battery case against former Williamston Police Chief Richard Turner.
Cox said the case should be moved to another venue because of the publicity it has received. The town consented to a change of venue motion and a speedy trial motion which was requested by Turners attorney Bruce Byrholt in December.
According to Cox, when a speedy trial is requested, a case is usually tried within six months of the date of order.
Williamston Mayor and Council called a special meeting last Thursday to discuss hiring an attorney to represent the case for the town.
Councilman Wade Pepper was not present for the meeting.
After going into executive session to discuss retaining an attorney, council unanimously agreed to hire attorney Bill Mayer of the Mayer Law Firm in Laurens.
Councilman David Harvell made the motion which was seconded by Councilman Cecil Cothran.
Williamston Mayor Phillip Clardy said Mayer will represent the town, prosecuting the case for a fee of $2,000. Any additional expense that may be incurred will be brought back before Council, Clardy said after the vote.
Mayer is a graduate of the South Carolina School of Law and has served as Assistant Solicitor for the 8th Circuit Solicitors Office.
The Thompson and King Law Firm which normally represents the town recused themselves from the prosecution and trial of Turner due to working with him in the past.
The firm agreed to give up fees to help with the expenses resulting from hiring another attorney, Mayor Clardy said.
Turner was charged with assault and battery after an alleged shoving incident that developed at the police department between the former chief and police Sgt. Zack Gregory.
The alleged incident occurred June 23 after Turners son Steven was told by Williamstons new Police Chief Troy Martin that his employment with the town had been terminated.
At the time, Mayor Clardy and Chief Martin said that Turner was treated as any other person would have been treated in that situation.
Turner maintained that he assaulted no one and is innocent of the charge.
Mayor Clardy said the town is committed to following through on the charges.
Saluda Valley Country Club held Brandi Jackson Appreciation Night Friday night, and many unofficial members of the Jackson fan club were on hand to show their support for the young golfer.
After a barbecue meal, friends, family and fellow golfers moved to a reception room filled with Jackson tributes.
An elaborate display featured many of the major trophies collected by the young athlete. We just couldnt bring all of the awards, Jacksons mother Kay commented.
Copies of newspaper articles and pictures detailing Jacksons golf career filled walls and tables. Even an autograph table was set up so that guests could get a signed picture from the promising pro.
Saluda Valley General Manager Eddie Martin added to the honors by naming Jackson an honorary board member at the club.
Representing the Saluda Valley Ladies Golf Association, Beth Wilson presented Jackson with a check for $10,575 collected from a donation drive conducted by the ladies. We want her to think about golf and not have to worry about money, Wilson said.
Jackson admits that she will use most of the money the ladies collected to cover her expenses during her first year on the LPGA Tour.
Beginning golf at the age of eight, Jackson decided she wanted to play golf at Furman University after she visited the campus with Nancy Thompson, a golf professional at Cobbs Glen Country Club. Her ultimate goal was to turn professional and play on the Ladies Professional Golf Association Tour.
That goal becomes a reality as Jackson leaves March 7 to begin her rookie season on the LPGA Tour with the Welchs/Frys Championship which gets underway March 11 in Tucson, Arizona.
Jacksons traveling companion will be none other than her father Terry who will serve as her caddie.
Admitting that it was huge financial decision, Jackson resigned from his job Friday at Darby Electric in order to spend the first year on the road with his daughter. Otherwise, his daughter would have to get a local caddie at each event, Jackson said.
According to Jackson, some people frown on family and emotional involvement on the tour.
Brandi asked me to do this since she felt she would be more comfortable having family around, Jackson explained.
Sponsors for the young golfer have helped defray expenses by providing products for her use on the tour. Land Rover of Greenville will furnish Jackson with a Discovery vehicle while Adidas will furnish clothing and Taylor Made will furnish golf clubs.
An Atlanta businessman has created an investment entity known as Divot which will also provide some financial support. Otherwise, I would not have been able to quit my job, Terry Jackson admits.
OMG Sports, a sports agent in Greenville, has also taken on Jackson as their first golf client.
As an amateur player, Jackson was the Southern Conference Player of the Year in 2002-03 while at Furman University. In 2002, she was the runner-up at the U.S. Womens Amateur Championship and won the Southern Conference Championship.
In 2003, she won the NCAA East Regional Championship and was a Second-Team All-American. She was an All-Southern Conference Team member from 2000-03.
In 2003, Jackson tied for 17th at the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament to earn exempt status for the 2004 season. She competed on the Futures Tour where her best finish was a tie for 38th. Jackson turned professional in July.
As one of 138 exempt players in the LPGA, Jackson will visit 18 states as well as France and England on the 8-month tour.
Williamston police officers recovered a stolen vehicle Sunday and investigated other incidents recently.
Feb. 15 - Desmond Equan Smith, 18, 6 Planifield Circle, Greenville, was arrested for possession of a stolen vehicle after a 1995 Jeep Cherokee was observed at 416 Belton Dr., Apt. D-3, Williamston. The vehicle, valued at $10,000, was reported stolen in Greenville County. K. P. Evatt investigated.
Feb. 14 - Shane Todd Jackson, 33, 203 Williams St., Williamston was arrested for open container in a vehicle, possession of crank, ice, or crack cocaine and possession of a controlled substance after a pick up truck was observed on Anderson Dr. with the tag light not working. The driver of the vehicle was issued a written warning for the tag light not in working order. J. L Barnes investigated.
Feb. 8 - Dolly Fay Kay, 63, 10 Dacus St., Williamston was arrested for simple assault and battery in connection with an incident at 1209 Dickens Ave. Williamston. Sgt. D. Munger, D. W. Alexander investigated.
Feb. 15 - Scott Vaughn Goranson, 27, 118 Kingsley Dr., Mauldin, was arrested for no vehicle license and violation of habitual offender act - suspended drivers license, after a Mercury Cougar was observed on South Hamilton St. with no license displayed. Sgt. D. Munger investigated.
Feb. 10 - James Dean Spearman, 76, 14 Green St., Pelzer, was arrested for possession of stolen goods and operating an uninsured vehicle after a 1996 Dodge Neon was observed on Hamilton St. with a tag light out. The tag on the vehicle was reported stolen. J. L. Barnes investigated.
Two 16-year-old females and a 17 year-old female were suspended from Palmetto High School and will be facing expulsion after the 17 year old allegedly sold a controlled substance to them. Reports state one of the 16-year-olds was extremely drunk in a class after allegedly taking a pill she had purchased from the 17-year-old. The 16-year-olds were referred to family court. A warrant is pending on the 17-year-old.
Feb. 13 - Joel Pichardo Santamaria, 34, 808 Boiter Rd., Williamston, was arrested for driving under suspension, speeding and no vehicle license validation after a 1993 Ford pickup was observed on Hwy. 20. M. Abramson investigated.
Feb. 6 - Michael Chapman, 306 Academy St., Williamston, reported damage to a plastic mailbox valued at $40. He also reported another mailbox at the location damaged on Feb. 14. J. T. Motes investigated.
Feb. 9 - A 14-year-old student at Palmetto High School was charged with petit larceny and destruction of personal property after allegedly stealing a pocketbook, $133 in cash and cutting up a credit card, drivers license and pictures. Reports state the student was suspended and the case was referred to family court. D. W. Bryant investigated.
Feb. 10 - Linda N. Jones, 48, 17 Courtney St., Pelzer, was arrested for simple assault and battery in connection with an incident at Pecan Terrace Apts., 110 Gossett Dr., Williamston. Z. E. Gregory investiagted.
Feb. 11 - Pamela M. Henderson, 36, 228 Prince St., Williamston, reported a bike valued at $120 taken from Calvary Baptist Church, 10 Academy St., Williamton. B. L. Wilson investigated.
Feb. 6 - Dwayne Correll Beddingfield, 31, 9 West Fourth St., Williamston, reported power tools valued at $120 missing. The tools were recovered at Foothills Gun and Pawn Inc. and returned. M. Abramson investigated.
Feb. 7 - Rosevelt McDaniel, 109 East Carolina St., Williamston, reported $150 in damage done to a vehicle on Jehue St. by a red S-10 truck which struck his vehicle. D. W. Alexander investigated.
Feb. 5 - Robert Anthony Stoffel, 27, 430 B. McAlister Rd., Williamston, was arrested for driving under suspension, suspended drivers license and operating an uninsured vehicle after a 1996 Mitsubishi was observed on Main St. with an expired tag. The owner of the vehicle, Tammy L. Uvibe, 23, 430 B. McAlister Rd., Williamston, was issued a traffic citation for allowing operation of an uninsured vehicle. J. L. Barnes investigated.
Feb. 3 - Sav-Way, 309 E. Main St. reported a gas drive-off in which a black van left with out paying for $19.45 in gas. D. W. Alexander investigated.
Feb. 3 - Maxwell Wayne Hampton, 18, 132 Harper St., Williamston, was arrested for improper turn signal, operating an uninsured motor vehicle, failure to stop for blue lights, no S. C. drivers license and improper tag after an Oldsmobile was observed on E. Main St. with sparks coming from underneath. B. L. Wilson investigated.
Anderson County Council member Cindy Wilson continued her campaign to receive more information on county finances at the regular meeting of the council Tuesday night.
Wilson presented a resolution to require County Administrator Joey Preston to provide monthly reports on finances and administrative activities of the county as laid out in the South Carolina Code. The resolution further stated that the county would neither create nor fund any new position without the knowledge of the council.
Have we not been adhering to state code? Council member Bill Dees asked of county officials.
County Attorney Tom Martin responded that the code requires certain reports but does not state if the reports are to be furnished monthly or annually. Martin further stated that if anyone felt the county was not adhering to state law, the appropriate action would be a criminal action.
Calling Wilsons resolution more negative junk, Council member Mike Holden stated that in his 16 years on the council he had never had a problem with any administrator to get the information he needed.
Wilson contended that she had been requesting certain documents for three years. How is it that I am denied information you seem to have no problem in getting? she questioned.
No council member offered a second to Wilsons resolution, and the resolution died for lack of support.
Wilson had presented a formal freedom of information request for legal expense vendor files from the county administrator at the January 20 council meeting. The deadline for Wilson to receive that information was February 9.
In a letter dated February 9 and delivered by courier to Wilson, Preston again stated that the narrative detail contained in those files is protected by attorney-client privilege.
According to Preston, the entire county council would need to release the attorney-client privilege to allow the narrative detail of the invoices to be released.
In a written response to Prestons letter, Wilson contended that County Council does not have to pass approval on any request to review documents that I make or that any other council member makes.
If you continue to defend your position on my ability to review expense files or any other files I choose to review, be prepared to defend you assertion in a judicial forum, Wilsons letter concluded.
The Board of Commissioners of the Piedmont Public Service District met for a regular meeting for the first time in almost two months on February 16. The board normally does not meet in December, and the January meeting was cancelled due to weather conditions.
Commissioner Al McAbee reported a total of 42 calls to the fire department in January which included: 3 structure fires, 2 grass fires, 1 vehicle fire, 5 vehicle accidents, 26 medical calls, 2 electrical calls, 1 sewer call, and 2 street light calls.
The sewer call involved a sunken pipe on Dill Drive which required extensive work. The fires involved a very small fire at the Piedmont Community Building as well as an extensive house fire on Bessie Road, McAbee said.
Chairperson Marsha Rogers reported that Anderson County had taken down the four dead trees at Pack Park at no cost to the district.
She also reported that she had met with Gloria Morris of Foothill Alliance and representatives from Bonnes Amies, Mothers Club, and Pride in Piedmont to form a committee to work on possible projects through the National Heritage Corridor.
According to Rogers, Rusty Burns reports that a $2,000 PARD grant has been approved for the district.
Chief Administrator Butch Nichols reported that work is being done on upgrading fire plans according to ISO requirements for all major structures in the district including 28 churches.
Nichols also expressed his ongoing concern about dealing with any fires that might occur on Park Row. The design of the area as well as cars parked on the streets create problems for department vehicles, Nichols said.
Nichols reported that the fire department recently purchased three sets of tire chains for the trucks at a cost of approximately $95 each.
Plans are to proceed with spray painting the ceiling in the fire house, Nichols said. Paint has already been purchased by the district, and Mike Eaton would perform the work at a cost of $700.
Nichols added that he would get quotes on painting and gutter work that will need to be done on the substation in the spring.
The drive for needy families had one of the best years ever according to Nichols. Several large donations were received from areas as far away as Greenwood and Hendersonville. Personnel worked non-stop on Christmas Eve to get everything distributed, Nichols reported.
The board moved into executive session to discuss budget matters and then reconvened.
The next meeting was scheduled for March 15, and the board adjourned.
The Williamston Heritage Players will present their latest production, Rodgers & Hammersteins Cinderella, at the Pelzer Auditorium this Friday, Feb. 20.
Cast members in Cinderella include: Cinderella, Rebecca Edens; Prince, Thomas Fellows; King, Joe Allen; Queen, Jana Jennings; Stepmother, Stephanie Summerlin; Portia, Hayley Meade; Joy, Emily Uldrick; Godmother, Connie Fellows; Herald, Carroll Suttles; Chef, Amy Roberts; Coachman, Bobby Francis; Steward, Walter Dyal; Guard, Bobby Francis; Footman, Jared Fricks.
Singers and dancers include Lindsey Cooley, Linda Allen, Nancy Bannister, Aubrey Terrell, Elizabeth Rogers, Diane Pakkala, Amy Roberts, and Lee Fellows.
Others involved in the production are Alesha Martin, Kelly Martin, Morgan Jennings and Natasha Bass, who will portray Royal Steeds.
Children will include: Lyla Allen, April ODonnell, Chloe ODonnell, Kaylee Summerlin and Logan Jennings.
Behind the scenes workers include: Set workers, John Sherard and Danny Owens. Costumes Anita Fricks and Ann Cothran; Scenery, Wanda Fricks; Sound and lights, Barry Speer and Adam Cooley.
Debbie Blume is the musical director. Erika Young is the choreographer, and Lynn King is assistant director.
Dates for the Heritage Players production of Cinderella are Feb. 20, 21, 27 & 28 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 22 and 29 at 2:30 p. m. Tickets will be available at the door for each performance and are $10 for adults, $7 for students and seniors. For more information call 847-4886.