Threats that Mama will Beat Your A**!

Clinton Public Safety yesterday arrested a local man from a Saturday incident at his residence. 18-year-old Phillip Anthony Copeland of 300 Bailey Street, Clinton is charged with Malicious Damage and with Assault and Battery 3rd Degree. Officer Peay states that on February 11th the defendant intentionally damaged an HP notebook computer that belongs to someone else and that he threatened the life of the victim, allegedly telling the victim his mother was going to come home and “Beat her A**.” Phillip Anthony Copeland remained in custody this morning, pending a bond hearing.

January Forgery Alleged

Clinton Public Safety arrested a local man Friday on Forgery charges from January. 45-year-old Larry Eddie Hallback of 24 Walden Street, Clinton is accused of issuing a forged check for $315 on Jacobs Highway January 24th.

Hallback remained in the Johnson Detention Center this morning with a cash or surety bond set at $3,000.

Damage to Property

Laurens Police arrested a man late yesterday on charging of damaging property. 29-year-old Antonio Marquiese “Tony” Hunter of 201 Garlington Street, Laurens was issued a ticket by Officer Sellers charging Malicious Damage to Property at 6:49 last evening at or near the intersection of McGowan and Garlington Streets. Tony Hunter was being held overnight, pending arraignment.

Behind in Child Support to Three Women

A Union man was booked in Laurens County yesterday on Bench Warrants from Family Court. 36-year-old Melvin Lemond “Mon” Thompson of 720Lakeside Drive, Union was served with three cases of Non-Support. The bench warrants cite him with failure to appear in court last September 27th and with failure to pay child support in cases with three women as plaintiff.  R. Thompson remained in the Laurens County Detention Center this morning.

Fatal Wreck Saturday Night

Laurens County’s high death toll for 2017 continued to grow this weekend with a fatal crash south of Hickory Tavern late Saturday night.

South Carolina Highway Patrol Trooper Joe Hovis said the wreck occurred at 11:17 Saturday night when the victim was driving her 1997 Toyota southbound on Boyd’s Mill Creek Road. Hovis said the Toyota crossed the center line of the road and that the driver apparently over-corrected, causing the car to run off the right side of the road and strike a tree. She was trapped inside her car, and her body had to be extricated from the vehicle.

Laurens County Chief Deputy Coroner Vickie Cheek identified the deceased as 32-year-old Davionica Brownlee of 111 Cambridge Street, Abbeville. Ms. Cheek said Ms. Brownlee died at the scene of the wreck from blunt force trauma to her abdomen. Time of death was estimated to have occurred at time of impact Saturday night.

Flames from 2nd Floor Hotel Room

Firefighters from Clinton Public Safety were dispatched to the Days Inn on Highway 56 around 7:30 last night. On arrival flames and smoke could be seen from outside the building. DPS Director Robin Morse said the fire was contained to one upstairs room on the end of the building. He praised Firefighters for quickly putting the blaze out, by 8:00 pm. There was indication that an electrical matter started the fire, as it seems to have begun around a microwave in the room, which was not rented. Morse said fire damage was limited to the one room, while a 1st floor room under it also sustained water damage. Smoke damage included the room next door and in the upstairs hallway.

Clinton Woman Charged in Night-Time Home Burglary

The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office yesterday arrested a Clinton woman on charges she committed a night-time Burglary of a Joanna residence last Saturday. 20-year-old Lakisha Renee Barksdale of 724 Carolyn Drive, Clinton was charged with Burglary 1st Degree.

A warrant states that an investigation by Deputy McLain indicates that on February 4th one Lakisha Barksdale entered a dwelling at night in the 800 block of Milton Road, Joanna without consent and with intent to commit a crime therein.

Kakisha Renee Barksdale was being held overnight, pending arraignment.

PTC Program Seeks to Help Black Males Complete College

Thru a new program at Piedmont Technical College, called MODELS Academy, PTC is taking action to address a problem of national proportions.“There continues to be a crisis among African-American males in education,” said Steve Coleman, director of Genesis Initiatives. He referred to statistics indicating that more than two-thirds of African-American men who start college do not graduate within six years, which is the lowest college completion rate among both sexes and all racial/ethnic groups in higher education. “Our work with Project Genesis proved to be very successful with a large group of African-American men on campus at PTC,” Coleman said. “I saw how that consistent interaction made a difference in their academic lives, their social lives and their existence here at our college. I thought that work would translate to a community initiative focused on early intervention and mentoring.” MODELS stands for “Men Of Distinction, Elite Leaders and community Servants.” The Academy was based on several organizations around the country including “Call Me MISTER,” and “100 Black Men.”

The program is targeted to young men in grades 8-12 who have already exhibited potential. Currently, 53 students are participating in the program from Abbeville, Greenwood and Newberry counties. Students are recommended by guidance counselors or community members.

More information is available from Steve Coleman (864) 941-8603 or

Gunshot Grazes Victim’s Forehead

Fountain Inn Police have charged a local resident with shooting another man in town last month. 25-year-old Richard Michael Gilliam of Apartment 7 at 113 Woodland Drive, Fountain Inn was charged with Assault and Battery 1st Degree, Unlawful Discharge of a Firearm and Possession of a Firearm or Ammunition by a Person Convicted of a Violent Felony.

In warrants, Fountain Inn Officer Michael Jackson states that Mr. Gilliam intentionally committed a battery on another man January 17th 2017, shooting a firearm directly at the victim that grazed his forehead.

Officer Jackson further alleged that Mr. Gilliam unlawfully discharged a firearm at the victim during commission of a violent crime. Gilliam is further alleged to have had possession of a firearm on January 17th during a violent crime, with the notation that as a person convicted of a violent crime, he is prohibited from possessing any firearm or ammunition.

Richard Michael Gilliam was transferred to the Laurens County Detention Center yesterday and was released later in the day after posting $40,000 in cash or surety bonds.

Calls about Eviction Lead to Resident’s Arrest

Laurens Police were dispatched to an apartment on Independence Avenue twice Wednesday. The initial call reportedly involved a disturbance over an eviction. A woman had indicated she was being evicted from the apartment, and she alleged the eviction was illegal. She was advised her that she would have to follow the proper eviction procedure, and officers left the premises.

In a second call from the apartment, Officer Robert Napier was dispatched at 9:18 Wednesday night and reported that on arrival the woman was in a fight with her boyfriend, who also listed the apartment as his residence.

After checking the boyfriend’s identification, the officer determined that he had an outstanding bench warrant from Family Court. While he was being patted down while being arrested for that bench warrant, he allegedly indicated that he had a “pipe” in his pocket, and wanted to give his pack of cigarettes to his girlfriend before he went to jail. As he tried to pass the cigarette package to his girlfriend, police report observing that a bag of marijuana was taped to the cigarette pack.

31-year-old Joseph Bernard Harris of that apartment at 219 Independence Avenue was taken to the Johnson Detention Center. He has been charged with Simple Possession of Marijuana, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and he was served with a Family Court Bench warrant on a Non Support case.

Joseph Benard Harris remained in the Laurens County Detention Center this morning.

Arrest Alleges Forged Prescription & Marijuana Possession

A report of a man attempting to obtain a controlled substance with a fake prescription dispatched Laurens Police Officer Robert Van Pelt III to the Rite Aid at 501 North Harper at 8:51 Wednesday night. A store employee reported that the prescription was dropped off earlier that evening, and when the subject came to pick it up, he was given a fake substance so he would not become suspicious while police were on their way.

Officer Van Pelt reported that when the subject saw him, he ran out of the rear emergency exit of the pharmacy. The suspect was reportedly found lying in the brush, attempting to hide.

54-year-old William Lewis Tucker was booked Wednesday night with an address of 4471 Jackie Bell Trace, Decatur, GA. Yesterday, he was charged with Obtaining Prescription by Fraud and Flight Upon Sight.

Tucker is accused of fleeing upon sight of law enforcement while he was engaging in illegal drug activity on February 8th at 501 North Harper Street. A second warrant states he successfully obtained a prescription drug by fraud, allegedly completing this act by falsifying a prescription and getting it filled at Rite Aid, 501 North bonds of $2,000.Wednesday.

William Lewis Tucker remained in the Laurens County Detention Center this morning.

District 55 Concerned About Rumors

Extra law enforcement was to be on hand for the start of school this morning at Laurens District 55 High School. District Spokesperson Ed Murry said after 9:00 last night that at that point there was an unsubstantiated rumor, apparently being spread through social media, that a student or students were planning on bringing a gun to school today. Murry said the school district was requesting additional sheriff’s deputies at the school this morning. District office staff was to also be on hand. Superintendent, Stephen Peters was to do a call alert to parents, advising them of the situation.

Death Yesterday from January 22nd Laurens Wreck

Laurens County had another traffic fatality Wednesday. Laurens County Coroner Nick Nichols said that 44-year-old Gary Stapleton of 1255 Saluda Street, Ninety Six died at 1:35 Wednesday afternoon in Greenville Memorial Hospital. Stapleton was fatally injured in Laurens at or near the intersection of US Highway 76 and Stagecoach Road in a wreck that occurred on January 22nd.

Laurens Police investigated the wreck. Details on the wreck were not available this morning.

1st Degree Assault and Battery

A man was arrested yesterday and charged with a 1st degree assault on a woman a week ago. The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office charged 29-year-old Marion Hampton Mims of 111 Mockingbird Lane, Laurens with Assault and Battery in the 1st Degree. Sheriff’s Officer Michael Polson states that on February 2nd Mr. Mims intentionally committed battery upon the victim by holding her down against her will, placing both of his hands around her neck, applying pressure to her neck, stopping her air flow. Then he allegedly beat her with a closed fist and kicked her all over her body, causing injury to her body. Marion Hampton Mims was being held overnight, awaiting arraignment today on the 1st Degree Assault and Battery charge.

2008 Forgery & Fraudulent Check Charges

The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office yesterday charged a woman in connection with an alleged forgery eight years ago. 44-year-old Sharon Laverne Rivers of 113 Chris Road, Aiken was transported to Laurens County yesterday from another detention facility and was charged with Forgery and with a Fraudulent Check violation. In the forgery warrant, she is accused of counterfeiting a check and public it as true at a Laurens area check cashing store. This was allegedly done with fraudulent intent between February 29th and March 5th of 2008. A second warrant charging Fraudulent Check alleges she uttered a check in the amount of $476 at a Laurens Grocery store and the check was returned as from a closed account. Sharon Laverne Rivers of Aiken remained in the Laurens County Detention Center this morning, with a hold for her to be transferred to Dorchester County.

Kidnapping and Assault

A Kidnapping and an Assault last weekend were alleged yesterday with the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office arrest of a Clinton area woman. 34-year-old Amanda Kay Clark of 22628 Highway 72 East, Clinton was charged with Kidnapping and with Domestic Violence 3rd Degree from last Saturday.

Officer Barak McLain states that on February 4th in Laurens County Ms. Clark did unlawfully confine a victim in the bedroom of the house, refusing to let him leave, and that she did this without authority of law. In a second warrant, Officer McLain states that also on February 4th she ripped the shirt off her husband and slammed his fingers in a door, putting him in immediate danger of imminent peril.

Amanda Kay Clark was being held overnight, pending a bond hearing today.

False Reports of Two Felonies

An Upper Laurens County man was charged yesterday with filing false reports of auto thefts over the past two months. 67-year-old Ronald Clark Ayers Jr. of 2424 South Frontage Road, Gray Court is facing two counts of Giving False Report of a Felony.

Sgt. Farrah Cook states that on December 28th 2016 Mr. Ayers did knowingly and willingly file a false police report to the Laurens County Sherriff’s Office in reference to Breach of Trust of a 2000 Chevy 1500 pickup. The same officer states that on January 13th, 2017 Ayers did knowingly and willingly file a false police report to the Sheriff’s Office in reference to the theft of a 2003 Ford Explorer which was involved in an auto accident in Greenville County.

Ronald Clark Ayers Jr. was being held overnight, pending arraignment today.

Prioritizing Repairs to Clinton Streets

The City of Clinton has five city-owned streets determined as most in need of repairs. The estimated cost for fixing them all is over $241,000, but the City only has $90,000 available to make the repairs with.

At this week’s City Council meeting, City Manager Frank Stovall reviewed the results of an engineering company’s 2015 evaluation of city-owned streets in most need of being paved. The engineering analysis from A.E. COM prioritized streets on the condition of the roadway, on what the principal problem is with each and on what resources are required to make the needed repairs.

Stovall said the five streets determined as topping the list include Mary Street, projected to cost $53,466…..Forrest Street at $50,328….Baldwin Extension at $26,790……Copeland Street, expected to cost $71,258…. And Buice Street, estimated to cost $39,800.

Stovall then said the most costly repairs needed, to Copeland Street, will be covered thru a grant acquired to replace a collapsed sewer line, moving the sewer service from the middle to the side of that street. He said that grant will cover the cost of repaving this street.

That leaves four streets on the list, with total costs projected as $170,384. The $90,000 available for repairs includes $40,000 from the city’s budget and $50,000 from the County Transportation Committee. After discussion, council decided that each council member will independently inspect the streets and bring recommendations to the March meeting of City Council.

Cotton Mills and Cowboy Music Tonight

Laurens musician and music historian Hunter Holmes presented a program showcasing “Mill Hill Music” of the early 20th century. In the program at the Laurens County Library, he included comments of musicians in our local area and others from mill villages in neighboring states.

Tonight, Holmes is back in action and joined by another performer as they add a look at Cowboy music. The Fountain Inn Museum features Hunter Holmes and Bob Bovee in a presentation called “Cotton Mills and Cowboys.” It’s part of the museum’s “Hooked on History” speaker series. Doors open at 7:00 this evening for this event at the Fountain Inn Museum at 102 Depot Street, Downtown Fountain Inn. Admission is free.

Sex Offender Violation

The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office yesterday booked 55-year-old Michael Earl Ruff of 705 Fleming Street, Laurens on a Charge of a Sex Offender Registry violation from the first of this year. Lt. Marty Crain Jr. states that on January 3rd one Michael Earl Ruff failed to contact the Sheriff’s Office to register as a sex offender, as required by law, and that the defendant has a prior conviction for this offense. Michael Earl Ruff was released on a $2,500 personal recognizance bond.