Bank robbery suspect caught; money found

Local sheriff’s office charges Greenwood man

October 1, 2005

Index-Journal regional editor

A robber held up a teller Friday at a Greenwood branch of Countybank, writing his demand note on the back of a fast food receipt.
Four hours after the robbery, Greenwood County Sheriff’s Office investigators arrested and charged Aubrey Demetrius Cohen, 27, of 812 Cokesbury Road, with armed robbery.
The robber did not produce a weapon but threatened a teller by passing a note that said he had a gun and wanted a hundred $100 bills.
The receipt the note was written on was from a McDonald’s a few yards from the Countybank branch and on the same road as a First Citizens branch where a “suspicious” man had been inside just before the Countybank robbery.
The receipt was dated one day before the robbery.
The bank’s money was recovered as part of the investigation by the sheriff’s office, Greenwood police and an agent from the Greenville office of the FBI.
Greenwood County Sheriff Dan Wideman said response to the incident, and the work to make the arrest, was “exemplary.”
“From the initial response by our deputies and the city police, the excellent work done by our tracking team locating the neighborhood, quick assistance from the FBI and the absolutely dogged legwork performed by our investigators, this is how robbery investigations are supposed to work,” Wideman said.
Investigators did not disclose the amount of money taken. The money will be returned to the bank Monday.
As the investigation started, a bloodhound searched the S.C. 72 Bypass and the neighborhood behind the bank at the intersection of the bypass and Reynolds Avenue.
A man sitting on the porch of a house a block from the bank said he saw a black man wearing a cap running from the rear area of the bank through a neighboring business’ parking lot and toward the bypass.
The trail for the bloodhound ended in the adjoining neighborhood, but investigators continued interviewing people in the area and in other locations throughout the county before making the arrest.
A statement from the sheriff’s office said Cohen confessed to the robbery and took investigators to the money. Cohen will have a bond hearing today, the statement said.
A connection between the robbery at the Countybank branch, at 1230 Reynolds Ave., and a “suspicious” man at the First Citizens branch, at 1204 S.C. 72, also was investigated. Video of the man at both banks was examined.
An employee at First Citizens, who wished to remain anonymous, said the man came into the bank on the bypass the first time about an hour before the robbery at Countybank. But the bank was full of customers, so the man left.
He came in again, the employee said, and waited in line while talking to a customer. The employee said the man said something about the First Citizens ATM taking his card and not giving him money. He kept letting people get in line in front of him, the employee said.
“That made me suspicious,” the employee said, “and I think he knew I was looking at him. He was nervous, got mad and left cursing.”
Less than 10 minutes later, First Citizens employees got word that Countybank, a few yards up the bypass, had been robbed.
Before getting that information, the employee had called nearby Bank of America to ask if they had seen the man. An employee there said “no,” but agreed the behavior was suspicious.
The second time the man came into First Citizens, the employee said it seemed like the customers took longer to be waited on than normal, perhaps thwarting the robber there.
Otherwise, the employee said, First Citizens might have been the robbery scene.
“We have such good customers,” the employee said. “One man stayed here and looked around outside the bank after he left. He thought he was suspicious, too.”
Soon after dispatchers called out the robbery about 12:30 p.m., reported from Countybank’s Greenwood operations center, investigators taped off the branch’s entryways from the bypass and Holman Street, a short side street off Reynolds Avenue.
The bloodhound sniffed along the bank’s parking lot and drive-through, an alley between the rear of the bank and the neighboring Quick Cash business, and along Hilley Avenue, Holman Street and Spring Valley Road. People came out of their homes and businesses to watch, but there also were several seemingly vacant houses where the dog sniffed around.
An employee of Quick Cash said police told her and customers to stay inside for a while.
The bloodhound search continued along the bypass but was called off after about 45 minutes.
The branch bank was locked down during the investigation, and a Countybank statement said it would reopen Monday.
“I am happy to report that no one was harmed during this unfortunate event,” said Thornwell Dunlap III, Countybank president/CEO. “The Reynolds office staff followed established procedures to ensure the safety of themselves and our customers.”

Betty Ann Adams

Betty Ann Carroll Adams, 61, of 2203 Ninety Six Highway, widow of Walter Barron Adams, died Friday, Sept. 30, 2005 at Self Regional Medical Center.
Born in Greenwood, she was a daughter of Vera Compton Carroll and the late Abbie Reese Carroll. She was a graduate of Ninety Six High School and a former employee of Parke-Davis and Greenwood Mills, Ninety Six Plant. She was a member of Woodfields Baptist Church and the W.M.U. of the church.
Survivors include her mother of Ninety Six; a daughter, Joann R. Rush of Ninety Six; a son, James Adams of Ninety Six; and two grandchildren.
Services are 3 p.m. Sunday at Harley Funeral Home, conducted by the Rev. Stanley Sprouse and Dr. Robert Miller. Burial is in Greenwood Memorial Gardens.
Pallbearers are Roy Pollard, Randy Maffet, Gerald Horne, Brent Horne, Marty Carter and Joey Bundrick.
Honorary escorts are the Brotherhood of Woodfields Baptist Church and Dr. Randy Cain. Visitation is 7-9 tonight at the funeral home.
The family is at the home of her son, James Adams, 2109 Ninety Six Highway.
Memorials may be made to Greenwood Humane Society, PO Box 242, Greenwood, SC 29648 or to a charity of ones choice.
Harley Funeral Home is in charge.
Online condolences may be sent to the family at

Vinnie Mae Baker

DUE WEST — Vinnie Mae Baker, 65, of 411 Harkness Lane, died Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2005 at Spartanburg Regional Medical Center.
She was a daughter of the late Henry and Mamie Baker.
Survivors include a son, James Baker of Winston-Salem, N.C.; three grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.
Viewing is 1-8 p.m. today at Abbeville & White Mortuary.
Services are 2 p.m. Sunday at Jehovah’s Witnesses Kingdom Hall, Highway 71, Abbeville, conducted by Brother Anthony Davis. The body will be placed in the hall at 1. Burial is in Forest Lawn Memory Gardens, Abbeville.
Announcement by Abbeville & White Mortuary.

Annie Campbell

ABBEVILLE — Annie Moss Campbell, 91, of 617 Church St., died Thursday, Sept. 29, 2005 at Self Regional Medical Center in Greenwood.
Born in Abbeville County, she was a daughter of the late Thomas Hoyt and Bessie Barnett Campbell. She was a retired self-employed beautician and a member of Grace United Methodist Church.
Survivors include two sisters, Louise Bowen of Pensacola, Fla., and Edith McElrath of Abbeville.
Services are 2 p.m. Sunday at Chandler-Jackson Funeral Home, conducted by the Revs. Darren Hook and Dickie Knight.
Burial is in Bells United Methodist Church Cemetery.
Visitation is 5-8 tonight at the home.
Memorials may be made to Grace United Methodist Church, 100 E. Greenwood St., Abbeville, SC 29620; Meals on Wheels, c/o Piedmont Council on Aging; or a charity of one’s choice.
The Chandler-Jackson Funeral Home is in charge.

Bobby Easler

JOHNSTON, SC — Bobby Joe Easler, 68, of 125 Rocky Creek Rd., died Thursday, September 29, 2005 at Univer-sity Hospital in Augusta, GA.
Born in Saluda County and a son of the late W. Palmer, Sr. and Fannie Easler, he was the husband of Betty Bledsoe Easler. Mr. Easler was a member of Ninety Six Congregational Holiness Church and an avid fisherman.
Surviving is his wife, Betty Bledsoe Easler of the home, two daughters and sons-in-law, Brenda E. and Hoyt Edwards of Johnston, SC and Karen E. and Rev. Thomas Cavender of Hodges, SC, two sons and daughters-in-law, Rev. Keith and Ashley Easler of Leesville, SC and Rev. Heath and Christina Easler of Johnston, SC, six grandchildren, one great-grand-child, two brothers and four sisters, Harold Easler of Valdosta, GA, Sadie Rushton and Stella Faulkner both of Ninety Six, SC, Dudley Easler of Mentone, Ala, Ruth Smith of Virginia, Dale Shealy of Missouri and many nieces and nephews.
The family will receive friends from 6 until 8PM, Saturday evening at Ramey Funeral Home.
Funeral services will be 3PM, Sunday, October 2, 2005 at Faith Temple Church with the Rev. Danny Swinnea officiating. Interment will follow in the church cemetery.

Karen Garrison

Karen Laughlin Garrison, 47, of 309 Ligon Road, wife of William Loflin “Billy” Garrison, died Friday, Sept. 30, 2005 at Self Regional Medical Center.
Born in Greenwood, she was a daughter of Margaret Coggins Brown and the late Maurice Laughlin. She was a homemaker and a member of Coronaca Baptist Church and the Light Bearers Sunday School Class.
Survivors include her husband of the home; her mother of Laurens; three daughters, Laura Duvall of Greenwood, Lola Garrison and Melissa “Missy” Garrison, both of the home; a brother, Steve Laughlin of Greenwood; three sisters, Clara McAlister and Judy Burroughs, both of Greenwood and Mary Scott of Batesburg; and two grandchildren.
Services are 3:30 p.m. Sunday at Coronaca Baptist Church, conducted by the Revs. David Tester, Wade Burton and Chris Garrison. The body will be placed in the church at 2:30. Burial is in Bethlehem Cemetery.
Pallbearers are Steve Laughlin, Stephen Scott, Rick Scott, Jason McAlister, Ken Duvall, Joshua Garrison, Phillip Garrison, Nick Brown, Harold Blackwell and Carroll Blackwell.
Honorary escorts are the men of the church.
Visitation is 2:30-3:30 Sunday at the church.
The family is at the home of her mother-in-law, Mary Garrison, 1718 E. Durst Ave.
Memorials may be made to Coronaca Baptist Church, 300 Highway 246 N., Greenwood, SC 29649.
Blyth Funeral Home & Cremation Services is in charge.
Online condolences may be sent to the family at

Iris Isbell

IRMO — Iris Ophelia Isbell, 73, of 4604 Bonnie Forest Blvd., died Friday, Sept. 30, 2005.
Born in Oconee County, she was a daughter of the late J. Cromer and Leila Simmons Isbell. She was a member of Temple Baptist Church.
Survivors include a sister, Sue McDaniel of Sumter.
Services are 1:30 p.m. Sunday at Harley Funeral Home, Greenwood, conducted by the Rev. Ron Taylor. Burial is in Elmwood Cemetery, Ninety Six.
Visitation is 7-8 tonight at the funeral home.
Harley Funeral Home is in charge.
Online condolences may be sent to the family at

Emerald holds off No. 4 B-L in final minutes

No. 8 Vikings stop Panthers on two-point conversion attempt
with 1:02 to play to win region opener

October 1, 2005

Index-Journal sports writer

BATESBURG — Welcome back, Region III-AA football.
Emerald High School and Batesburg-Leesville kicked off region play in style Friday night, with the Vikings sliding past the Panthers, 34-33, in a contest that wasn’t decided until the final possession.
“Welcome to region three,” said Emerald (5-1, 1-0) coach Mac Bryan, who coached his first Region III-AA game. “Another close game for us. Both teams knew what this one meant. This is a quality win for our program.”
The game remained in question until the end, despite the fact the Vikings enjoyed a 34-20 lead with 3 minutes, 25 seconds remaining.
Batesburg-Leesville’s (4-2, 0-1) Josh Harris returned the Vikings kickoff 87-yards for a touchdown with just over three minutes left, pulling the Panthers to within a touchdown at 34-27. “We never intended for him to get his hands on the ball,” Bryan said of Harris. “We knew what he could do with it. We’ve got some execution things to work out on the kicking game.”
The Panthers forced the Vikings into a punt on the next possession, and took the ball with 1:52 to go. Fifty seconds later, B-L tailback Chamois Johnson, who rushed for 240 yards on the evening, scooted into the end zone from 28 yards out to make it 34-33. Panthers coach Courtney McInnis elected to go for a two-point conversion, a decision that proved fatal.
Johnson was stuffed at the 1-yard line by a host of Vikings, effectively preserving the one-point victory.
“I have no idea why they went for it,” Bryan said. “You usually play for overtime at home. Luckily, our defense came up huge right then.”
Emerald once again got tremendous production from quarterback Dan Wideman. The senior was 22 of 35 passing for 376 yards and five touchdowns.
“I just had to make it happen,” Wideman said. “They were coming after me all night. So, I just had to get away like Mike Vick. Just make them pay like my boy Vick would.”
Three of Wideman’s touchdown tosses went to senior Demarco Anderson. Anderson hauled in seven passes for 167 yards on the night.
Johnson capped a 65-yard, 2:32 drive with a smashmouth 3-yard TD run to open the scoring, giving Batesburg-Leesville a 7-0 lead less than four minutes into the game.
The Vikings, as they have done so often this season, answered swiftly.
Wideman and Anderson hooked up for the first of their three scores on the evening, a 27-yard strike that capped a 73-yard, 3:22 drive and tied the game at 7, a score that remained heading into the second quarter.
Johnson again riddled the Vikings’ defense at the beginning of the second quarter. The physical, slashing runner darted in from 20 yards out to close a 46-yard, 2:39 drive and put the Panthers ahead 13-7.
Emerald tied the game at 13-13 half way into the second quarter in part because of a fumble recovery by defensive back Tony Rapley, who also intercepted a pass in the game.
“It was my first game playing defense,” Rapley said. “I usually play offense, so I know how important it is for the D to help out. I made some plays. Beginner’s luck, I guess.”
The Vikings added one more score before intermission.
With 39 seconds remaining in the half, Wideman scrambled out of the pocket at his own 38-yard line, evading Panther defenders like his aforementioned “boy” Vick might, and launched a rocket down the right sideline. Anderson leapt between two defenders and made the grab. He then raced back towards the middle of the field and made a beeline for the endzone. The 62-yard touchdown was followed by a failed two-point conversion, giving the Vikings a 19-13 halftime lead. Chris Trainor covers area sports for The Index-Journal. He can be reached at:


Rebels outgun Eagles

Korn throws for 301 yards, rushes for 198 to beat Greenwood

October 1, 2005

Index-Journal sports writer

The Rebels’ high-powered offense didn’t disappoint Friday night in front of the largest crowd at J.W. Babb Stadium this season.
The Byrnes High School football team, the top-ranked team in Class AAAA, scored on every one of its possessions except one in a 62-34 victory over No. 7 Greenwood.
Rebels junior quarterback Willy Korn, a Clemson University commitment, passed for 301 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 198 yards and four scores, overshadowing a splendid performance his counterpart Armanti Edwards.
The Eagles QB passed for 256 yards and two scores, and rushed for 180 yards and a touchdown.
“We knew we had to score on every drive because we wanted to keep their offense off the field,” said Korn, who had touchdown runs of 2, 1, 1 and 84 yards.
“They (Greenwood) have a great quarterback. Armanti Edwards is a great player. They have some great athletes and we wanted to keep them off the field and limit their points.”
The Eagles, who only managed 180 yards of offense last week in Aiken, put up 498 yards, with 88 percent coming from Edwards.
Greenwood was dealt a big blow when tailback Robert Robinson, the Lakelands’ leading rusher, left the game midway through the second quarter.
The senior, who had 53 receiving yards and 39 rushing, left the game after taking a double hit on one of his two receptions.
The Rebels raced for 717 yards, getting 446 on the ground, including 146 yards from tailback Derrick Young.
“I thought our offense played well but a lot of credit goes to their offense,” Greenwood coach Shell Dula said.
“They are very good offensively.
“Losing Robert Robinson in the first half after he made three or four great plays hurt, but you can’t make excuses.
“It was a hard-fought football game and they were the better football team tonight.”
The Eagles managed to do something Friday night that hasn’t happened all season, and it put the Rebels in an unfamiliar situation.
After Byrnes opened the game with a 30-yard field goal from kicker Jordan Kibler, the Greenwood offense answered on its first series.
Edwards guided the Eagles on a 12-play, 80-yard scoring drive, capped by a 6-yard run from Robinson.
It was the first time the Byrnes defense had allowed any points in the first half this season, and it was also the first time the Rebels had trailed as well.
However, they didn’t trail too long. In fact, it was only for 1 minute, 1 second.
The Rebels went 80 yards on five plays, ending with Korn diving in from the 2-yard line for the 10-7 lead.
But again Edwards and the Eagles answered and again Greenwood would take a lead.
Edwards lofted a deep pass to Anthony Chalmers, who outjumped Byrnes’ Curtis Thompson for one of his team-high five receptions. Thompson tackled Chalmers in the end zone for the 31-yard score, putting Greenwood ahead 14-10.
But that would be the Eagles’ last lead because 1:26 later Korn capped a seven-play drive with a 1-yard touchdown run.
Kibler’s two-point conversion run made it 18-14 with 8:50 left in the first half.
“It was big momentum-wise for us to answer each time they scored,” Byrnes coach Bobby Bentley said. “To be at their place and keep their crowd out of it was big for us.”
Greenwood appeared poised to add another touchdown on the ensuing possession, driving the ball down to the Byrnes 5.
However, a sack by Stanley Hunter and Kendall Glenn on Edwards forced a third-and-goal from the 11.
After a short run, Greenwood’s Clay Baldwin booted a 26-yard field goal to bring the Eagles to within one, 18-17.

Can one person overcome unemployment problems?

October 1, 2005

If Gov. Mark Sanford alone could solve the unemployment problem in South Carolina we’d have no problem. Not one governor, here or anyplace else, would condone unemployment. In fact, none of us wants anyone to be without a job.
There are reasons for unemployment, though, that are beyond anyone’s control, whether he or she is governor, lawmaker, Democrat, Republican, or a magician.
It’s almost impossible to make any headway in creating jobs when plants close. Just look at the textile industry. And, the other day the Timken Company announced it will close it’s plant in Clinton, eliminating more than 1,100 jobs.
On second thought, being a magician wouldn’t help. It’d take someone who could walk on water. Neither governors nor lawmakers can do that, despite what some of them might think.