South Carolina Archives:

MIAMI, FLORIDA (BNO NEWS) — Tropical Storm Alberto formed off the U.S. state of South Carolina on Saturday afternoon, prompting a tropical storm watch along the coast, forecasters said. It is the earliest tropical storm to form in the Atlantic basin in nearly a decade.

Forecasters at the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) have been following the weather system since Saturday when it emerged as a non-tropical area of low pressure southeast of Myrtle Beach in South Carolina. It quickly began to acquire tropical characteristics before becoming a tropical storm on late Saturday afternoon.

As of 11 p.m. EDT (0300 GMT Sunday), the center of Alberto was located about 110 miles (180 kilometers) southeast of Charleston, the county seat of Charleston County and the second-largest city in the state. It is moving toward the southwest at nearly 6 miles (9 kilometers) per hour.

Maximum sustained winds of Alberto are near 50 miles (85 kilometers) per hour, with higher gusts. Despite being over relatively warm waters, only modest if any intensification is expected due to the system being situated in a marginal thermodynamic environment for strengthening with a markedly dry continental airmass to its north and west over the eastern Carolinas.

“The intensity of Alberto has been difficult to decipher this evening,” said James Franklin, branch chief of the Hurricane Specialist Unit (HSU) at the NHC. “While an earlier SHIP (Statistical Hurricane Intensity Prediction Scheme) report suggested the storm was stronger, the satellite and radar representation has been on the decline since then, with a notable decrease in winds from the coastal doppler radars.”

Alberto is unlikely to make landfall in the United States, but its effect may result in tropical storm conditions along the coast of South Carolina on late Sunday or Monday. As a result, the National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a tropical storm watch from the Savannah River to south Santee River in South Carolina.

“Alberto appears to be moving southwestward at about 5 knots, as it is being steered primarily by a low- to mid-level ridge over the eastern United States,” Franklin explained. “This ridge is expected to break down in a day or so, with a complex steering flow probably causing the cyclone to turn toward the northeast in a couple of days. The guidance envelope has shifted somewhat to the southwest in this model cycle, though most of the reliable models still keep the storm offshore.”

Tropical Storm Alberto is the first tropical cyclone of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season, which officially does not begin until June 1. “Alberto is [the] earliest-forming tropical storm in the Atlantic basin since Ana in 2003,” said NHC senior hurricane specialist Michael Brennan. “This is also the first time that a tropical storm has formed before the official start of the hurricane season in both the Atlantic and East Pacific basins.”

Brennan was referring to Tropical Storm Aletta which formed far off Mexico’s Pacific coast on Monday evening, hours before the 2012 Eastern Pacific hurricane season officially began. NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is expected to release a detailed forecast for this year’s hurricane seasons next week.

An average Atlantic hurricane season produces eleven named storms, with six becoming hurricanes and two becoming major hurricanes. The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30, with peak activity in September.

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QUEENS, NEW YORK (BNO NEWS) — Malikah Shabazz, the youngest daughter of late activist Malcom X, on Tuesday was charged with fraud and stealing personal identification information in Queens, New York, prosecutors said.

Shabazz, 44, was accused of defrauding more than $55,000 from a 70-year-old woman who is the widow of one of her father’s bodyguards as well as stealing the woman’s personal identification information. The offenses took place between August 2006 and November 2007.

“The defendant is accused of stealing not only a substantial amount of money from a once close family friend but her personal identity, as well. The alleged theft represents a shameful betrayal of the friendship that existed between the two families,” said Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.

Shabazz was charged with grand larceny, criminal possession of stolen property, forgery, criminal possession of a forged instrument, identity theft, falsifying business records, scheme to defraud and unlawful possession of personal identification information.

The defendant was arrested in Mars Hills, North Carolina, last February 18. The arrest warrant was issued in New York on October 16, 2009. The defendant faces up to seven years in prison if convicted. She will appear at an extradition hearing in North Carolina this day.

According to the charges, Khaula Bakr, the widow of a bodyguard who was with Malcom X when he was assassinated at the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem on February 21, 1965, was a longtime family friend.

Bakr, a Queens resident, received a letter from Wells Fargo Bank informing her that she had a credit account with them that was past due in the amount of $28,789.38. However, Bakr never opened such an account nor authorized anyone else to do so in her name.

The bank reports listed her address in Columbia, South Carolina, the location of a residence allegedly belonging to Malikah Shabazz. Two additional credit card accounts were discovered in Bakr’s name with the same address.

Records allegedly listed amounts of a total of over $55,000 as well as a letter allegedly from Bakr with her signature, as well as Shabazz as a co-signer of the letter, requesting a re-issue of credit cards and checks with a new account and pin number.

Shabbaz allegedly obtained Bakr’s personal identification information from the widow herself under the pretext of needing the information for paperwork involving a child care power of attorney. Such child care documents were never received.

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COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA (BNO NEW) — A 78-year-old U.S. veteran from South Carolina was arrested for threatening to kill President Barack Obama, authorities said Friday.

Michael Stephen Bowden, of Spartanburg, South Carolina, was arrested earlier in the month following repeated threats of killing Obama. According to reports, over a dozen weapons were found in his possession.

Bowden told a nurse at a Veterans Affair clinic in the northwestern region of South Carolina that he was “thinking of traveling to Washington, D.C., to shoot the president because he was not doing enough to help African Americans.”

During the operation, police found three handguns and a rifle under Bowden’s bed and a dozen more throughout his house, including nine rifles, two shotguns, and a handgun. Police went on to arrest him as he had also tested positive for suicidal tendencies.

Bowden, a former member of the U.S. Navy, New York City Police Department and firefighter, was arrested on November 18 on charges of threatening the President.

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CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA (BNO NEWS) — Former National Football League (NFL) player David Meggett on Wednesday was sentenced to 30 years in prison after being found guilty in a rape and burglary case.

Meggettt, 42, was found guilty of 1st degree criminal sexual conduct and 1st degree burglary and was sentenced to 30 years of imprisonment on both charges to be served concurrently. He will not be eligible for parole for at least 25 years.

The former NFL all star was accused of raping a 21-year-old college student at her Charleston, South Carolina residence in January 2009. Prosecutors said Meggett entered the residence without permission and argued with the victim before choking her and forcing her to have sex with him.

Meggett’s attorneys alleged that the two were friends and had consensual sex as she allegedly agreed to have sex in order to repay a debt she had with the ex-football player. Attorneys for the defense, however, argued that Meggett asked for condoms and, after the sexual encounter, asked for forgiveness, something that rapists they said ‘do not do.’

The victim testified on Monday for over one hour and disclosed more alleged details of the assault, including the use of physical violence on her by Meggett. However, he was not charged with assault and battery.

Meggett declined to testify and passed up his last chance to speak during the three-week trial before the sentence was read. His sister asked the judge to have leniency for her brother.

The former NFL’s career punt returner also faces charges relating to an incident with a teenager who alleges that Meggett forced her have sex at a home after inviting her to have breakfast.

However, prosecutors are not sure if they can pursue the case, which allegedly occurred in September 2008, as it is weaker than the rape and burglary case.

Meggett is a former professional NFL running back who played from 1989 to 1998 for the New York Giants, New England Patriots, and the New York Jets.

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FORT MILL, SOUTH CAROLINA (BNO NEWS) – Nation Express (NEI), a global transportation company based in Fort Mill, South Carolina, on Wednesday announced a strategic alliance with AirNet Systems Inc.

AirNet is the third largest air cargo airline in the United States. IT is based in Columbus, Ohio and was founded in 1974. AirNet is the leading provider of expedited and specialized transportation solutions.

The alliance is intended to explore business opportunities that leverage both companies’ respective strengths in the expedited and specialized air and ground transportation segments.

“This alliance will provide NEI’s customers with the most efficient combination of ground and air solutions for their logistics requirements. The combination of NEI and AirNet is a winning combination for expedited air and ground transportation services,” said Bill Frazier, President and CEO of NEI.

Nations Express will have access to AirNet’s fleet of specialized aircraft and customized products. This will provide customers with service any day of the year at any hour anywhere in the United States.

On the other hand, AirNet will have access to Nation Express’ nationwide expedited pick-up and delivery services with its specialized fleet of vehicles.

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ORANGEBURG, SOUTH CAROLINA (BNO NEWS) – A South Carolinian woman admitted on Tuesday to have suffocated his children before driving the car into the river in an effort to stage an accident scene, Orangeburg County Sheriff Larry Williams said in a press conference.

On Monday, two children were found dead inside a submerged car in a river and authorities have arrested the mother. The bodies were recovered from the North Edisto River after the car was found near a boat landing.

At 6:15 a.m. local time, the South Carolina State Patrol received a call regarding an accident that caused the car to be sinking in the middle of the river while a woman was trying to get her children out of the vehicle.

Forty-five minutes later, thanks to the aid by divers, the car was lifted and the two infants were found drowned and still trapped in their child seats; Devean Dudley, two-years old, and Javan Dudley, 18-months-year old.

Shaquan Dudley, a 29-year-old mother, said that she went off the road and fell into the river. However, police investigators did not find any physical evidence that the car had skidded off the road and fell into the river. Instead it was revealed that the car entered the river through a boat ramp.

“My staff were out and they looked at what was there, they felt it wasn’t an accident either. They are giving broad thoughts to other issues. They didn’t have any evidence of a vehicle accident,” Williams said.

The woman left the scene and walked a mile before stopping a passing motorist and called the police. She was arrested on a charge of leaving the scene of an accident but the charge was dropped.

However, after further questioning, she admitted having placed her hands over the mouths of her toddlers until they stopped breathing. Then she drove the car into the river in an effort to conceal her crime.

Shaquan Dudley killed her sons at a motel room because she just wanted to get rid of the responsibility. She was unemployed and did not attend college. Dudley lived with her mother whom constantly reminded her that she was a bad mother for not being able to take care of them properly.

Sheriff Williams said there was no evidence of any kind of psychological damage or issue. He also said that she was very calm during the whole process. Dudley’s older son fortunately stayed with his grandmother. It is believed that the defendant had a heated argument with her mother the night before the crime.

“There was an emotional rush, and the opportunity presented itself, and she reacted to whatever condition presented itself,” William said during his televised conference.

Shaquan Dudley was subsequently charged on two counts of murder and she will be arraigned on Wednesday at 2 p.m. local time.

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ORANGEBURG, SOUTH CAROLINA (BNO NEWS) – Two children were found dead inside a submerged car in a South Carolina river on Monday morning and authorities have arrested the mother, ABC News reported.

The bodies were recovered from the North Edisto River after the car was found near a boat landing. The children, aged 1 and 2 years old, died from drowning.

At 6:15 a.m. local time, the South Carolina State Patrol received a call regarding an accident that caused the car to be sinking in the middle of the river while a woman was trying to get her children out of the vehicle.

Forty-five minutes later, thanks to the aid by divers, the car was lifted and the two infants were found drowned and still trapped in their child seats.

The 29-year-old mother said that she went off the road and fell into the river. However, law enforcement agents did not find any signs that the car had skidded off the road but instead it was revealed that the car entered the river through a boat ramp.

“My staff were out and they looked at what was there, they felt it wasn’t an accident either. They are giving broad thoughts to other issues. They didn’t have any evidence of a vehicle accident,” Sheriff Larry Williams said.

The woman left the scene and walked a mile before stopping a passing motorist and called the police. She was arrested and is being held on a charge of leaving the scene of an accident but depending on the development of the investigation, further charges may be filed against her.

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RICHLAND COUNTY, SOUTH CAROLINA (BNO NEWS) — U.S. Senate candidate Alvin Greene on Friday was indicted on pornography related charges, local officials said.

According to allegations, Greene, 32, showed pornographic material to a college student from the University of South Carolina on a dormitory computer.

Greene was indicted on two charges by the Richland County grand jury, a felony charge for disseminating, producing or promoting obscenity, in addition to a misdemeanor charge of communicating obscene materials to a person without consent. He first gathered media attention after surprisingly winning a position on South Carolina’s U.S. Senate as a Republican candidate, defeating former state lawmaker Vic Raw.

If convicted, Greene will be facing a maximum prison term of three years for the misdemeanor charge and up to five years for the felony.

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COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA (BNO NEWS) – A former South Carolina Representative was convicted on Wednesday of mail fraud related to an insurance premium fraud, prosecutors announced.

Robert A. Kohn, 65, of Charleston, South Carolina, was an insurance consultant who periodically assisted companies with workers’ compensation matters. Among Kohn’s clients were Knight’s Services, a Charleston-based company overseen by Roy Knight which performed pipe fitting and welding jobs at Detyens Shipyards.

Between 2002 and 2004, Kohn helped to prepare Knight’s annual insurance submissions to Companion Property & Casualty Insurance Company. The premiums charged to Knight’s Services for this coverage were based on the company’s payroll.

Kohn and Knight modified the payroll figures to obtain lower premiums for the company. Knight has previously pleaded guilty to similar charges. Over three years, Kohn saved Knight approximately $370,000 in premiums.

The fraud was discovered when a Knight’s Services worker, Matthew Williamson, died while performing work at the shipyard. The following worker’s compensation claim and scrutiny of the policy led to the criminal charges against Kohn and Knight.

Kohn’s sentence will be imposed at a later date yet to be determined. The maximum penalty he could receive is 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

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COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA (BNO NEWS) — South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford signed the legislation S.1172 on Tuesday, a bill which focuses in speeding up and improving the process transitioning children in foster care into permanent adoptive homes, the Office of the Governor announced.

The bill is a result of direct recommendation by the Governor’s Children in Foster Care and Adoption Services Task Force, a group created in 2007. This organization identifies ways to improve the efficiency and quality of the state’s foster care and adoption processes.

“This administration has consistently advocated for making the adoption process easier for South Carolinians trying to adopt, and this bill represents a small but meaningful step in that direction,” Sanford said.

“Whether it’s fully restoring the adoption incentive benefit, or allowing more in the way of flexibility for state employees to become foster parents, we’ve always tried to encourage adoption and quality foster care in South Carolina,” he added.

Governor Sanford, through the Department of Social Services, enacted a number of reforms to streamline and expedite the adoption process during his first term. Over the last seven years, finalized adoptions have steadily increased in South Carolina. In the last two years, the average time a child in South Carolina waits to be adopted has been reduced to six months from 39 to 45 months before.

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