Latest South Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 9:20 p.m. EDT

June 22, 2018 - 12:00 am

RESTAURANT OWNER KILLER

Police: Restaurant owner killed, left in own home for days

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Authorities say a 64-year-old South Carolina restaurant owner has been killed by the boyfriend of a woman he had allowed to stay in his apartment.

Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott says the couple left Lawrence Gaugenbaugh dead in his apartment for a few days before dumping his body near an abandoned home north of Columbia on Tuesday.

Coroner Gary Watts says Gaugenbaugh was strangled.

Lott said at a news conference that Stacie Rose was letting her boyfriend Erick Young stay in Gaugenbaugh's apartment without Gaugenbaugh's permission. Investigators think Gaugenbaugh was killed after finding Young in his home.

Gaugenbaugh was the owner of Carolina Wings in Blythewood.

Young is charged with murder and Rose is charged as an accessory after the fact. It wasn't known if they had lawyers.

DUKE-RATE INCREASE DENIED

N Carolina regulators deny Duke Energy rate increase request

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina regulators have denied a request from Duke Energy to raise electric rates and ordered the utility to refund $60 million in deferred taxes to customers.

The North Carolina Utilities Commission also decided Friday to fine Duke Energy $70 million because of the way it handled coal ash.

The Duke Energy Carolinas subsidiary serving about 2 million customers had requested a rate increase of an extra $472 million per year, or an average of about 8.5 percent. That's after public hearings and a partial settlement with the state's official consumer advocate.

The utility wanted to increase rates to pay for a nuclear power plant that won't be built and charge customers additional billions of dollars to upgrade the power grid in central and western North Carolina.

SC GOVERNOR

Lawmaker: SC gov running mate rebuked him for backing Warren

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A state lawmaker says Gov. Henry McMaster's running mate publicly berated him for appearing at a news conference in support of another candidate.

Rep. Joshua Putnam tells The Associated Press that businesswoman Pamela Evette followed Putnam and his wife down a street in downtown Greenville on June 15.

Gov. Henry McMaster has picked Evette as his running mate in this year's GOP gubernatorial contest. Hours before the altercation, Putnam had appeared at a news conference supporting businessman John Warren, who is challenging McMaster.

Putnam says Evette caught up to the couple, shook her finger at him, and said she and McMaster "will never forget this."

McMaster's campaign didn't immediately return a message seeking comment. McMaster and Evette are on a bus tour around the state ahead of Tuesday's runoff.

PINK FLAMINGOS-RECORD

Park system celebrates 150 years with pink flamingo record

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Parks officials in Buffalo, New York, are tickled pink over claiming a new world record for having the longest line of garden flamingos .

A Guinness World Records official was on hand Thursday to certify the record — 1,500 pink flamingos — which were set up to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Buffalo's Olmsted Parks system.

Landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted designed Buffalo's citywide system of parks and parkways. Parks officials took some liberties with his initials — "F'' "L'' "O'' — to come up with the "FLO-mingo" event.

The previous record for the pink, plastic lawn ornaments was held by Pledge the Pink of Callawassie Island, South Carolina, which lined up 1,058 flamingos in 2016.

Buffalo residents were invited to adopt the lawn ornaments and display them at home.

RIVER BODY

Man's body found in river during South Carolina fish tourney

GEORGETOWN, S.C. (AP) — A man's body has been found in a river during a fishing tournament in South Carolina.

Georgetown County Coroner Kenny Smith said in a news release a fisherman found the body about noon Thursday in the Black River.

Johnson said there were no signs of foul play. The coroner said it appears the man drowned. His name has not yet been released.

An autopsy was being conducted Friday at Grand Strand Medical Center in Myrtle Beach.

The Georgetown County Sheriff's office is investigating.

The B.A.S.S. Nation Eastern Regional tournament is currently being held in the Winyah Bay area.

JAIL INMATE DIES

Prosecutor: No wrongdoing in South Carolina inmate's death

CONWAY, S.C. (AP) — A prosecutor says there is no evidence of criminal wrongdoing by authorities in the death of an inmate in a South Carolina jail in March.

News outlets reported that Horry County prosecutor Scott Hixon reviewed a State Law Enforcement Division investigation of the death of 25-year-old Christopher Bennett in the county jail.

Hixon says there was evidence that Bennett had swallowed two bags of drugs March 22 as he was being taken to the jail after a traffic stop. He was placed in a cell around 9:20 p.m. and was found unresponsive about 10:15 p.m. and died two days later.

A pathologist said Bennett died from drug-induced heart problems.

Bennett's family had complained recently about the lack of information they received.

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