Saturday, December 31, 2011

Tips to Avoid a DUI Arrest

As you prepare to celebrate the new year, The Jail Report wants you to be happy. But not THIS happy.

This is 37-year-old Christina Kurdziel of North Augusta, arrested Thursday for drunk driving in Richmond County. She was stopped when an officer saw her failing to maintain her lane and pulled her over, according to jail records.

Tonight, we want you to take lots of pictures of your festivities. Just don't make it necessary to have your picture taken by a jailer.

Remember these tips:

1. Set your limit before you start drinking.

2. Eat something before you start drinking.

3. Drink plenty of water – if you have a beer and then a water and then a beer and then a water... you'll be drinking less beer. But remember, the only way to completely avoid a DUI charge is to abstain from drinking alcohol.

4. Wait until you get to the party. If you're already drunk by the time you get to the party, what kind of shape will you be in when you leave?

5. Eat dinner before you leave home. You need a full meal in your stomach to help keep you alert and slow down the effects of the alcohol.

6. Designate a driver. If you can't find someone who's willing to stay sober, then plan on spending the night wherever you're going. And don't plan to sleep in your car! A sleeping drunk behind the wheel of a car is STILL, in the eyes of the law, a DRUNK behind the wheel of a car.

Think! Every year thousands of people are killed by drunk drivers over the New Year's holiday.
And in this area, it doesn't even have to be a holiday. And the person doing the drinking never, ever leaves the party with the intention of going out and killing someone. But it happens. And it could happen to you. And it could be one of your own family members that gets killed.

Have a safe and happy new year!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

EXCLUSIVE: Augusta Attorney Accused of Sexual Incident with Teen

Authorities are investigating a report by an 18-year-old female that she was provided alcohol and marijuana by Augusta Attorney Joseph R. Neal Jr. before he "had carnal knowledge of her without her consent and against her will."

The Jail Report has obtained the incident report, which is labeled "rape" at the top and has the victim's name blacked out. (Report is pictured above - click on it to see it closer).

The teen told authorities that she was visiting Neal's home on 2240 Kings Way on the evening of Dec. 16 when "she was given 4 to 5 alcohol drinks and marijuana, causing her to become intoxicated," the report says.

The woman then claims Neal sexually assaulted her during her intoxicated state. The woman described Neal as an "acquaintance."

After being questioned about the allegations by The Jail Report, sheriff's Capt. Scott Peebles confirmed the investigation today and provided the report. "The case is being investigated and will be forwarded to the District Attorney for review," Capt. Peebles said in an email that contained the report.

The Jail Report left messages for Neal on two phones today and did not receive an immediate response from the 43-year-old attorney.

The allegations were made just before Neal's wife, Caroline, 23, was arrested for a domestic assault at the same house on Dec. 21. In that case, Mr. Neal told authorities his wife accidentally closed the door on his head after an argument, a report says. Mr. Neal then claims the argument escalated and Mrs. Neal "hit and scratched" him repeatedly in front of Mr. Neal's 13-year-old son. She also allegedly punched her glass French door and kicked in the plate glass window on the front door, causing deep cuts to her own leg.

A deputy observed scratches to Mr. Neal's right forearm and left bicep as well as a red mark on his chest and back.

Mrs. Neal was treated for her cuts at Trinity Hospital and then charged with simple battery - family violence. She was featured in this week's edition of The Jail Report under the name "Caroline Caldwell."

Richardson Family Statement: 'Words Cannot Express'

RICHARDSON FAMILY STATEMENT: The following statement was just released by the family of slain Officer Scotty Richardson: "Words cannot adequately express the love and support our family has felt since our Scotty was called home to be with his Lord and Savior in the early morning of December 21st. The Aiken community has been with us every step.

The acts of kindness have ranged from cleaning our yard, erecting tents so that family and friends would not be subjected to the elements, helping with the children, clothing family members for the funeral, and providing food. We have not wanted for anything.

It is always dangerous when you start publicly thanking people because you do not want to leave anyone out, but we must say “Thank You” to the staff at O’Charley’s and Houndslake Country Club. On Christmas night, these folks prepared a wonderful meal for our family. The reason we mention this is because a lot of us had not left the house since December 21st. We were able to gather in a private setting and enjoy Christmas as a family.

Throughout this ordeal the support from the Aiken Department of Public Safety (ADPS) and other representatives from the City of Aiken has been overwhelming. You should know that Scotty would be proud, but he would also be embarrassed by all of the fuss over him. To his brothers and sisters at ADPS, you are always welcome in our home and we count it an honor to call you family.

Scotty’s funeral service was conducted in a very regal manner. Shellhouse-Rivers Funeral Home, you were caring and compassionate during this entire process. When we arrived at the Convocation Center, the sight of all of the public safety personnel was jaw-dropping, but we were equally astounded when we began our journey to Bethany Cemetery seeing the citizens lining the streets while braving the windy conditions.

We have many friends that have been with us during this trying time and all we can say is “Thank You!” We would have never made it without you. As the days, weeks, and months pass, please keep us in your prayers because only time will heal this deep wound.

In closing, it is our hope that Scotty did not die in vain. Let’s all reach out to the children of our community and make sure that they stay on the right path. Encourage and love them because that is what Scotty would do.

God Bless,
The Richardson Family"

Stephon Carter Under Heavy Security at Hospital

Accused cop killer Stephon Carter remains hospitalized in Augusta this morning, nine days after being shot in a deadly confrontation with Aiken police.

Carter, pictured here in a self-portrait posted on his MySpace page months ago, is now being represented by Columbia attorney Carl B. Grant.

Contacted by The Jail Report on Wednesday, Grant said Carter and his family are holding up "as well as anyone can be" considering the circumstances. He also said his first job will be to regain the presumption of innocence and get his client a fair trial.

Carter, 19, suffered a gunshot wound to the buttocks, a wound that now appears to be pretty serious considering his lengthy stay in the hospital. Once doctors say he is healthy enough to be released, he will be transported to the Augusta jail to await extradition to South Carolina. He will be charged with the murder of Aiken Police Officer Scotty Richardson and attempted murder of Officer Travis Griffin.

Sheriff Ronnie Strength says he has Carter under 24-7 guard at the hospital. The sheriff has not allowed the suspect to have any visitors.

"He is in custody and he's not in a jail surrounding. Too many things could happen in a hospital that would not happen in a jail," Sheriff Strength explained. "Without a doubt, he is a high-risk prisoner at this time."

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Stephon Carter: Son of a Killer

It turns out accused cop killer Stephon Carter is the son of a killer.

Meet Willie Carter, left, who is serving time for killing Stephon's mother in Aiken just four months after Stephon was born.

Sonya Carter separated from Willie Carter while pregnant with Stephon in 1992. She was so afraid of Willie Carter that she abandoned her Aiken home and moved to Barnwell County. But in March 1993, he kidnapped his estranged wife from Aiken Technical College and shot her execution-style in the front seat of her own car, according to media accounts of his trial.

Her body was found a day later in the passenger seat of her car, which was parked on a dirt road off S.C. 39 in Williston. An autopsy revealed she was shot twice in the chest, once in the neck and once in the head with a .22-caliber revolver.

Willie Carter was sentenced to life in prison, but a Department of Corrections website lists his eligible parole date as March 2013.

After his mother's death, Stephon Carter was raised by his maternal grandparents, Sarah Jane Hickman and Samuel Hickman Sr., according to family members. He was 9 when Samuel Hickman died, leaving his grandmother as his sole guardian.

The Augusta Chronicle is reporting that Blackville Police Chief John Holston is a distant cousin of Stephon Carter. Chief Holston said the death of Stephon's mother at the hands of his dad may explain his current situation, but not excuse it.

SLED officials have issued warrants against Stephon Carter for Tuesday night's shooting death of Aiken Officer Scotty Richardson and attempted murder of Officer Travis Griffin. At last word, Stephon Carter (pictured at right) was being treated at a hospital in Augusta after being shot in the buttocks in the gunfight.

Stephon Carter Photos