Crime & Courts

Woman, 65, killed in house fire

A 65-year-old woman died Friday morning when a fire engulfed her home in northern Richland County.

Authorities said Katherine Wilson's body was found in the charred home at 125 Bisbane Road after firefighters got the blaze under control. A second person was taken to a hospital with burns.

"It was a stressful situation," Columbia's Deputy Fire Chief Aubrey Jenkins said. "So many family members were out there, and they knew she was in the house."

The fire occurred about 7:30 a.m. and destroyed the house, causing about $60,000 in damage, he said.

Jenkins said the cause of the blaze has not been determined, but foul play is not suspected.

Flames were shooting through the roof of the Columbia home hen firefighters arrived. It took 45 minutes to get the blaze under control.

- The Associated Press and staff writer Sammy Fretwell

Father gets 18 months on weapons charge

The father of a Kershaw County boy who shot and killed his 10-year-old brother has been sentenced to 18 months in prison on a federal weapons charge.

U.S. Attorney Walt Wilkins says 45-year-old Gary Travis Roberts of Cassatt was sentenced Friday after pleading guilty earlier this year to being a felon in possession of a weapon. He faced up to 10 years in prison.

The 13-year-old boy used Roberts' .22-caliber pump-action rifle to shoot his younger brother in March. Authorities say the teen shot Gaylord Roberts because the boy had taken his spot watching television on a day the children were home from school because of snow.

The teen pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter.

Gary Roberts was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in 1991 and prohibited from having guns or ammunition after being released from prison.

- The Associated Press and Staff Reports

Former officer gets 35 years in prison

A former Columbia Police officer has been sentenced to 35 years in prison for kidnapping and holding his ex-girlfriend and infant son hostage in Georgia in January.

U.S. Attorney Walt Wilkins announced Friday that 25-year-old David Dietz of Lexington was sentenced to 25 years for kidnapping and carjacking and 10 consecutive years on a gun charge. Dietz was convicted in September. He could have received a life sentence.

Authorities said Dietz, dressed as a police officer, ambushed his former girlfriend and son Jan. 3 at a North Lucas Street duplex as they returned from church. He then took them to a motel in Madison, Ga.

When a man tried to use a mobile phone to report the incident, Dietz fired at him five times, according to a police report. The incident prompted an Amber Alert in South Carolina and Georgia.

Dietz and a 17-year-old girl he forced to help him surrendered two days later after a 13-hour standoff. His ex-girlfriend and son were released unharmed.

Dietz worked briefly as a Columbia Police officer and a state probation agent. He was employed by the Department of Social Services at the time of the incident.

- The Associated Press and Staff Reports

Cordova woman beaten to death

ORANGEBURG - Orangeburg County Sheriff's investigators are searching for suspects in the beating death of a Cordova woman.

Officers found Corine Sanders, 57, dead in her home just before noon Thursday. Sanders had been killed after a struggle with someone who broke into her home, Sheriff Larry Williams said.

Anyone with information can contact the sheriff's office at (803) 534-34550 or CrimeStoppers at 888-CRIME-SC.

- Staff writer Noelle Phillips

Police: One man robbed 2 motels

Two motels in Richland County have been robbed this month, and police think the incidents are linked.

The Wingate Inn at 8300 Two Notch Road was robbed at 10:20 a.m. Friday. A man entered the motel and asked the desk clerk about reserving a room. The man then pulled a gun on the clerk and demanded cash, according to the Richland County Sheriff's Office.

A Red Roof Inn was robbed Dec. 8, and the sheriff thinks the man from the Wingate Inn robbery was involved.

Anyone with information on these robberies can call Midlands Crimestoppers at (888) 274-6372 or text to 274637.

- Staff writer Noelle Phillips