Principal’s hearing today

Blackwell fighting for job amid charges connected to sex scandal

April 6, 2007

Index-Journal staff writer

Despite speculation otherwise, today’s public hearing before the District 51 school board for suspended Ware Shoals High School principal Jane Blackwell is on.
The hearing starts at 9 a.m. at the Ware Shoals High auditorium. The public is invited but will not be able to participate in the proceedings. (Ware Shoals students are out of school today for the Good Friday holiday.)
According to published reports from The (Ware Shoals) Observer, the question of whether the hearing would proceed hung in the balance Wednesday as Blackwell’s attorney Billy Garrett and school board attorney Bruce Davis conferred. The purpose of the hearing is to show cause why Blackwell, who faces a felony obstruction of justice charge, should keep her job.
The reason The Observer gave for the attorneys’ meeting was so they could discuss new details surrounding the alcohol-fueled Ware Shoals cheerleader sex scandal involving former coach Jill Moore.
The details were released Tuesday by the Greenwood County Sheriff’s Office.
However, as of 3:30 p.m. Thursday, District 51 officials confirmed the hearing will proceed as planned.
The sheriff’s office announced Tuesday it had officially closed its investigation of Blackwell, who was arrested in late January. Blackwell, who is suspended with pay, is accused of withholding information from the sheriff’s office during the Moore investigation. Computers, journals and other items from her office were seized during the probe.
Moore is accused of providing alcohol and cigarettes to a pair of then-16-year-old WSHS cheerleaders and putting them in an “incredibly inappropriate situation” concerning a sexual relationship Moore was having with a National Guardsman.
According to sheriff’s office reports, Moore admitted she attended the Nov. 25, 2006, South Carolina-Clemson game with a group of students, got drunk at the game and came home with a 19-year-old male student, who has admitted to deputies that he had a sexual relationship with her.
Moore told investigators this past Sunday — in a conversation that was recorded on digital video — that she went to Blackwell’s house on Nov. 29, 2006, and told Blackwell about the trip to the Clemson game and getting drunk with the students. Moore said Ware Shoals High employee Betty House was at Blackwell’s home that day and could confirm the meeting.
Deputies reportedly contacted House on Tuesday, and said House confirmed the November meeting.
According to the sheriff’s office, on Jan. 22, Maj. John Murray — who was wearing a concealed recording device — asked Blackwell if she knew about Moore’s actions. Blackwell reportedly flatly denied anyone had ever mentioned Moore’s actions to her.
The recording of Blackwell’s Jan. 22 conversation and Sunday’s videotaped interview with Moore have been placed into evidence by the sheriff’s office.


Husband faces murder charges

April 6, 2007

Index-Journal staff writer

A Greenwood man faces murder charges in the Wednesday shooting death of his estranged wife.
Alonzo Craig Hawes, 34, of 3135 Rock House Road, Greenwood, was charged with murder and possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime. Hawes is being held in the Greenwood County Detention Center.
He is accused of killing his estranged wife Terry Hawes, 30, at about 5 p.m. Wednesday. According to Greenwood police incident reports, an officer responded to a call from the home that went out at 5:01 p.m. Wednesday.
The officer said that when he pulled up to 241 Epting Ave., two small children ran into the roadway and began screaming uncontrollably, “My daddy shot my mama.”
The children also reportedly told the officer that Alonzo Hawes fled in a white Chevrolet SUV. Alonzo Hawes turned himself in to police about 5:40 p.m.
The officer said that, after speaking with the children, he went to the front door, announced his presence and then went inside. He said he found Terry Hawes lying in the back bedroom of the house with several gunshot wounds. He said she did not have a pulse.
Police Chief Gerald Brooks said Wednesday that preliminary reports he received indicated Alonzo and Terry Hawes were having an argument about the children shortly before the shooting.


Judge denies defense’s motions

Appeal process officially begins for capital case

April 6, 2007

Index-Journal staff writer

ABBEVILLE — Steven Vernon Bixby’s answer came Thursday.
Following a weeklong trial in February, during which Bixby was tried for the murders of law officers Sgt. Danny Wilson and Constable Donnie Ouzts in 2003, a Chesterfield County jury returned verdicts of guilty on all counts and a sentence recommendation of death.
During post-trial motions to 10th Judicial Circuit Judge Alexander Macaulay, made within a 10-day period following the convictions, Bixby’s legal team filed two motions — one for the dismissal of all convictions associated with the trial, and yet another for a new trial.
Both motions were denied.
Macaulay issued his ruling Thursday, which now sends the Bixby legal team — Greenwood Chief Public Defender Charles Grose and Columbia defense attorney Bill Nettles — officially into the appeals process. The attorneys have 10 days to file a notice of appeal with the state Supreme Court.
Grose said an appeal for the dismissal of all convictions will be filed soon.
“The appeal will be filed within the next few days,” Grose said.
The state Supreme Court will be tasked with a review of Bixby’s death sentence. Unlike the appeal to be filed by Bixby’s attorneys, the review of the death sentence is an automatic appeal in South Carolina.
Eighth Judicial Circuit Solicitor Jerry W. Peace says there is no definite time frame that can be placed upon the death penalty appeals process.
“These things often take on a life of their own,” Peace said Thursday. “It could be anywhere from two to three years from now (for a ruling from the state Supreme Court).”
Steven Vernon Bixby is being held at Lieber Correctional Institute, which houses South Carolina’s death-row inmate population.
Macaulay had scheduled Bixby’s execution for April 22, though that date will likely be extended as the appeals process takes its course.
Attorneys for the state continue to look to the state Supreme Court for a decision as well.
While Rita Bixby, Steven Vernon Bixby’s mother, awaits trial along with her husband, Arthur Bixby, for their roles in the Dec. 8, 2003 events, the state Supreme Court has not returned its decision on whether the death penalty notice served on Rita will be restored — it was quashed by Macaulay — or remain voided.
No timetable has been set for the high court’s ruling.
Until such time, a date for Rita Bixby’s trial remains in limbo.
Once the state Supreme Court issues its decision, a trial date can be set.
Rita Bixby is being held at Greenwood County Detention Center.
Meanwhile, Arthur Bixby — who’s being held at Laurens County Detention Center — will await trial following the completion of his wife’s day in court.


Two-run seventh inning helps Emerald defeat Greenwood

April 6, 2007

Index-Journal sports writer

The Emerald Vikings varsity baseball team used a solid pitching performance from Stephen Gary and scored two seventh-inning runs to defeat the Greenwood Eagles 5-3 on Thursday night.
Vikings coach Chad Evans was happy to get the win, despite a few errors.
“We didn’t play real good tonight, and we were a little sloppy, but I’m real proud of our guys,” Evans said. “They hung in there, they kept fighting, and that’s what we’re all about. We try to never quit and never give in, and they didn’t do that.”
Stephen Gary pitched 6 2/3 solid innings for the Vikings, striking out five batters in the process.
“Greenwood always has good hitters and it’s always tough when you take the mound against them,” Gary said. “I tried to throw to them and let my defense work behind me. Those errors that we had tonight don’t portray us at all. We got what we needed when we had to have it and we pulled it together tonight.
Arguably, the biggest strikeout for Gary came in the bottom of the sixth inning.
With two outs and a runner on third, Gary faced the Eagles’ Brad Durn, who scored the game-tying run off a Trey Wimmer RBI single in the fifth inning.
This time around, the Vikings pitcher avoided any damage, as Wimmer went down on a 3-2 pitch, setting the stage for a dramatic finish.
After reaching first base in the top of the seventh inning with no outs, the Vikings Tyler McGraw, who went 1-for-3 and scored two runs in the win, decided to increase his team’s chances by stealing second and third base.
“I just went to steal second and the ball got past, so I took third too,” McGraw said. “We pride ourselves on hustle, and it was a big deal with me being the possible winning run to get to third.”
The Vikings kept the pressure on the Eagles when Derek Moore stole second base a few pitches later.
With runners in scoring position and no outs, Brandon Miller came to the plate for the Vikings and hit a sacrifice fly, bringing McGraw home.
“I was just trying to get something in the outfield,” Miller said. “I got down with two strikes and I was just trying to find something over the plate.”
Moore followed by scoring on a wild pitch, which put the Vikings ahead by two runs.
The Eagles final chance came when Corey Lloyd, who went 2-for-3 in the game, stepped to the plate in the bottom of the seventh inning with two outs and a runner in scoring position.
The Vikings sent Miller out for the save and he delivered as the Vikings picked up the season sweep over their rivals.
“We treat this game like any other non-region game,” Eagles coach Brad Richardson said. “It’s just a game. We got a little lazy during that (seventh) inning. We got a little lazy in the field and we didn’t do the little things that it takes to win the game.”



Lois ‘Muriel’ Alewine

DONALDS — Lois Muriel Hall Alewine, 80, widow of James C. (J.C.) Alewine, of 6579 Highway 252, died Wednesday, April 4, 2007, at her home.
Born in Abbeville County, she was a daughter of the late Olin and Mamie Elizabeth Crawford Hall. She was a member of the Honea Path Pentecostal Holiness Church. She was retired from the Essex Company of Belton and was a member of the Ladies Auxiliary of the Broadmouth-Turkey Creek Fire Department.
Surviving are three sons, Joe M. Henderson and wife, Sylia of High Point, N.C., Tommy Henderson of Donalds and James C. “Peanut” Alewine, Jr. and wife, Janet of Donalds; three daughters, Teresa Ellis and husband, Vince of Ninety-Six, Elaine Buchanan of Belton and Nancy Phillips and husband, Jackie of Donalds; one brother, John M. Hall and wife, Doris of Donalds; twelve grandchildren; and ten great-grandchildren. She was predeceased by a grandson Jeff McClain.
Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Honea Path Pentecostal Holiness Church, with Rev. Ted Coody, Rev. Paul Cooper and Rev. Gene Brown officiating. Burial will follow in Oakbrook Memorial Park, Greenwood.
The family will receive friends from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday at Pruitt Funeral Home. The family is at the home.

Helen L. Baylor

Helen L. Baylor, 69, of 120 Althea St., wife of Willie James Baylor, Sr. died April 4, 2007 at the Hospice House of the Piedmont. Born in Ninety Six, SC, she was the daughter of the late William Lark and the late Lucille Jackson Lark. She retired from the Greenwood Packing Plant. She was a member of Young’s Chapel Baptist Church.
Survivors include her husband of the home; two sons, Willie James (Tonia) Baylor, Jr. of Louisville, KY, and Marion Eugene (Jackie) Baylor of Greenwood; one stepson, Bernard (Tracey) Griffin of Gastonia, NC; one daughter, Corrietta Baylor of Temple Hills, MD; one brother, Thomas Lark of Greenwood; two sisters, Corrie Calhoun of Greenwood and Martha Pickette of Philadelphia, PA; and two grandchildren. The family is at the home. Services will be announced by Robinson & Son Mortuary, Inc.

Elizabeth Gable Clark

Frances Elizabeth Gable Clark, 88, former resident of 610 Wilson Street, widow of Marshall E. Clark, died Wednesday, April 4, 2007, at Magnolia Manor.
Born in McCormick, she was a daughter of the late Thomas Wesley and Carrie Young Gable. Ms. Clark was twice married, first to the late Floyd H. Young. She and Mr. Young owned Young’s Motel for many years. Ms. Clark later worked for Greenwood Mills Harris Plant in the Personnel Department. She was a member of North Side Baptist Church.
Surviving are numerous nieces, nephews, great-nieces and nephews, great-great-nieces and nephews and great-great-great-nieces and nephews.
Graveside funeral services will be conducted Saturday at 2 p.m. at Greenwood Memorial Gardens, with Dr. Jeff Lethco officiating.
The family is at their respective homes and will receive friends following the service at the graveside.
Those desiring may make memorials to North Side Baptist Church Building Fund, 409 Northside Drive West, Greenwood, SC 29649 or to a charity of choice.
For additional information and online condolences please visit
Blyth Funeral Home & Cremation Services is assisting the Clark family.

Gerald Elliott

Gerald Edwin Elliott, 55, resident of 182 Old Woodlawn Road, died April 5, 2007 at his home.
Born April 30, 1951 in Sanford, NC, he was a son of Glenn R. and Doris Richardson Elliott. Mr. Elliott was of the Baptist faith.
Surviving in addition to his parents, with whom he made his home, are two daughters, D.J. Elliott of Gaffney and Ashley R. Elliott of Waterloo; two sisters, Connie Prince and Vanessa Wideman, both of Greenwood; two brothers, William “Bill” Elliott of Hodges and Gary Elliott of the home.
A private memorial service will be conducted at a later date.
The family members are at their respective homes and will receive friends at Blyth Funeral Home from 11 to 12 Saturday morning.
For online condolences please visit
Blyth Funeral Home & Cremation Services is assisting the Elliott family.

Edwin E. Hampton

AUGUSTA, Ga. — Mr. Edwin E. Hampton of Drayton Drive entered into rest on Wednesday, April 4, 2007 at University Hospital. Funeral service will be held on Saturday, April 7, 2007, at 11 a.m. at Bethel AME Church, with Rev. Mark Pierson officiating. Burial will be at Mt. Olive Memorial Garden. Mr. Hampton, a native of McCormick County, was a graduate of Mims High School. He was a U.S. Army veteran of Vietnam Era and had retired as a Lieutenant with the Richmond County Sheriff’s Department. He was a member of Bethel AME Church.
Survivors are his wife, Carrie LaVerne Hampton; one daughter, Tiffani J. (Bertren) Jones, Evans, GA; three grandchildren; two brothers, George S. (Georgia) Hampton, Augusta, Solomon B. (Patricia) Hampton, McCormick, SC; and other relatives. The family will receive friends from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. tonight at the funeral home.
Williams Funeral Home, 2945 Old Tobacco Road, Hephzibah, GA.

Terry Anita Hawes

Terry Anita Hawes, 30, 104 Moss Creek Lane, died April 4, 2007 at 241 Epting Ave. Born in Edgefield, S.C., she was the daughter of James “Dad” and Dorothy Roundtree. She was a member of Mt. Zion A.M.E. Church in McCormick County, where she was a member of the choir. She was a Surgery Tech for the Outpatient Surgery Center.
Survivors include her mother and father of the home; two sons, Craig Alonzo Hawes, Jr. and Craig Alonzo Hawes, II, both of the home; two daughters, Brittany Roundtree and Calisha Hawes, both of the home; two brothers, Richard Roundtree and Carlos Roundtree, both of the home; one sister, Shena Roundtree of the home; and paternal grandmother, Rosie Lee Roundtree of Greenwood. The family is at the home. Services will be announced by Robinson & Son Mortuary, Inc.



Can world ever believe rantings from a radical?

April 6, 2007

Now what! What comes next from the quixotic and megalomaniacal president of Iran after his “gift” of freedom for British sailors and marines that Iran should not have “captured” in the first place?
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad apparently thinks he has convinced the world that his release of the Brits was a magnanimous gesture. No doubt he thinks he’s also convinced the world that Iran was the victim of British intrusion into Iranian waters. However, Prime Minister Tony Blair and the Royal Navy left no doubt that the British navy crew was indeed in Iraqi waters and therefore taken illegally by the Iranians.
Perhaps the world doesn’t have all the information on what kind of “negotiations” went on before the release, and it may never have the complete details of behind-the-scenes bargaining. It’s obvious, though, that Iran planned and orchestrated the whole thing. And, it distracted world attention from its nuclear program.

A COUPLE OF THINGS - AT least - are sure.
One, this was only one incident manufactured by radical Iranians. There have been so many times when Ahmadinejad has said one thing and done something contrary to his “word” that to believe anything he says would be foolhardy. In fact, how many times has he reneged on “promises” already?
In retrospect, it appears those “promises” all along have been part of his strategy to gain advantages in one way or another at the expense of the U. S. and Great Britain, particularly. Then, of course, there is Israel, which he says should be wiped from the face of the earth.
The second consideration of this latest fiasco brings it all home. It affects every motorist in Greenwood.

THE ENTIRE FACE-OFF significantly increased the price of oil, whether coming from Iran or flowing through the gulf waters where the incident was trumped up. At least appearances supported by history create little doubt in that regard.
It appears Amahdinejad has followed the practice of “brinkmanship.” He has created serious and dangerous situations more than once. The question now is what will he do next? One of the most troubling considerations has to be when one of his irresponsible escapades will be the spark that starts a Middle East fire the world would have to put out. The cost of that, to everyone, would be unimaginable.
A little taste of power is a dangerous thing. It’s obvious that Ahmahdinejad is tasting enough to make him a threat to the world, not just Israel, the U. S. and Great Britain. It reinforces the need to cure the cancer of Iranian radicalism before it gets worse.