Deputies investigate killing, robbery

A 34-year-old employee was found dead in his car outside a Northeast Richland restaurant, the Richland County Sheriff’s Department said Friday.

Steven A. Fowler of Irmo died at the scene from complications of a gunshot wound to the chest, Richland County Coroner Gary Watts said.

Deputies responded to a shots-fired call at the Papa John’s Pizza restaurant at 10008 Two Notch Road around 12:30 a.m. Friday. They found Fowler shot in his car.

Deputies are trying to determine whether the case is related to a robbery a day earlier at a nearby Northeast Richland hotel.

In that incident, around 4:38 a.m. Thursday, a man walked into the Comfort Inn and Suites at 1540 Daulton Drive and demanded money from the clerk at gunpoint, according to reports. The clerk handed over an undisclosed amount, and the man fled.

The suspect in the hotel robbery is described as a black male, 5-foot-9 with slim build, weighing about 150 pounds, wearing a with baggy t-shirt, black gym shorts, a dark bandana around his neck and black shoes, reports said.

Investigations into both incidents are continuing.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at (888) 274-6372.

– From Staff Reports

Heroin trafficking charges filed – Two people are facing charges for allegedly trafficking in heroin, Columbia Police announced Friday.

A community tip about possible drug activities led to the arrests of Kimberly Jewel Clark, 26, and Jason Tyrone Sanders, 32, both of whom are charged with trafficking heroin, police said.

According to police, the Department’s Organized Crime and Narcotics Unit was alerted to possible drug activities in a parked car around the 5900 block of North Main Street. Officers approached the car and saw the suspects allegedly using heroin, reports said. Officers a “trafficking quantity of heroin” in the car’s back seat, though the exact amount was not known.

Clark faces an additional charge of unlawful conduct toward a child. Her 2-year-old daughter was in the car at the time of the arrest and was taken temporarily into protective custody, police said. The child later was released to the custody of her father.

Clark and Sanders are currently being held at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center.

– From Staff Reports

Four charged with setting fires – Three adults and one juvenile from the Lugoff-Elgin area are facing charges following an arson investigation into suspicious wildfires, according to a S.C. Forestry Commission news release.

Law enforcement agents with the commission made the arrests.

The adults were identified by the SCFC as Charlene Arrington, 38, Mark Branham, 19, and Jacob Eddings, 18, the release said.

The unidentified juvenile is a member of the Blaney fire station’s Explorer youth program, according to the release.

The commission was asked by the Kershaw County Fire Service to investigate, according to reports, when firefighters became suspicious of the juvenile suspect’s readiness level when the fires were reported.

The four suspects are charged with “willfully burning lands of another” under the S.C. Code of Laws.

Forestry Commission investigators say the three adults are accused of assisting in the setting of three fires along Bookman and White Pond roads between May 30 and June 3. The adults are accused of helping the juvenile so he could participate in the fire department’s efforts to extinguish them, according to investigators.

– Gary Ward

Robbery suspects sought – Richland County deputies are looking for two suspects in connection with a robbery at a Northeast Richland apartment complex.

According to the Sheriff’s Department, around 1:15 p.m. Thursday, the victim answered a knock at his door at Greenbrier Apartments on Willow Oak Drive, when two suspects with guns demanded money. The two then assaulted the victim in his upper body and fled with an undisclosed amount of money and a wallet.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (888) 274-6372.

– From Staff Reports

Blowfish honor the military – The Columbia Blowfish baseball team and the Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce will honor the military tonight during a game with the Wilmington Sharks.

The Blowfish will host about 3,000 soldiers from Fort Jackson at the ballpark on Assembly Street. First pitch is at 7:05 p.m.

Prior to the game, the mayors of Columbia, West Columbia, Cayce, Lexington and Camden, and the chairman of the Richland County Council, will be among those renewing a 2008 covenant pledging the area’s support for the military. There will be a ceremonial cake cutting prior in the middle of the 5th inning to commemorate the June 14 birthday of the U.S. Army. A fireworks display will follow the game.

Tickets are $7 for lower level, $6 for general admission and $5 for anyone with a military ID.

Call the ticket office at (803) 254-FISH or visit

– Jeff Wilkinson

Grand jury asked to probe ex-mayor’s slaying – A South Carolina prosecutor wants the federal grand jury to investigate the slaying of a former small-town mayor shot to death by a police officer.

Prosecutor Duffie Stone on Thursday sent a letter to U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles informing him he would ask federal authorities to take over the investigation into the shooting of Bert Reeves.

The 40-year-old former Cottageville mayor was shot once in the chest on May 16 with a service revolver belonging to Officer Randall Price. No details of the shooting have been released, and investigators have said they weren’t clear why the two ended up on the dirt road near where Reeves lived.

No working number could be found for Price, who was hired as a Cottageville officer in 2008. He has been placed on leave during the investigation.

– The Associated Press

Skateboarder hit, killed by truck – GAFFNEY – A 22-year-old man riding a skateboard down a rural two-lane South Carolina highway south of Gaffney has been struck and killed by a pickup truck.

Cherokee County Coroner Dennis Fowler says Jeffery Todd McAbee was heading north on Highway 18 just before 6 a.m. Thursday when he was hit by the pickup about three miles south of Gaffney.

The coroner says McAbee died Friday morning at a Spartanburg hospital from head injuries.

Fowler says the pickup driver likely couldn’t see McAbee in the dark and ruled the death an accident. Troopers are still investigating.

– The Associated Press

New trial denied in slayings – ORANGEBURG – A judge has denied a new trial for a 62-year-old Elloree man sentenced to death for killing his ex-girlfriend, her daughter and mother in September 1999.

The (Orangeburg) Times and Democratreports that Circuit Judge Casey Manning wrote in an order filed Thursday that Charles Shuler had no basis for a new sentencing or trial and that his trial team had been effective.

Shuler has been on South Carolina’s Death Row since 2001, when he was convicted of killing his ex-girlfriend Linda Williams; her mother, Dorothy Gates; and Williams’ 13-year-old daughter, Stacey.

Shuler has several more state and federal appeals remaining. The state Supreme Court upheld Shuler’s death sentence in 2003.

June 5, 2011  State (published as The State)  
Columbia, South Carolina
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