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Rape plea nets 25 years
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A Springfield man pled guilty Friday morning in Effingham County Superior Court to 11 charges stemming from a September 2009 rape.

Glenn Randall Usher, 45, will serve 25 years and remain on probation for life after agreeing to a plea deal in front of Judge Gates Peed. Usher pled guilty to one count of rape, two counts of aggravated sodomy, one count of sexual battery, four counts of aggravated assault, one count of burglary, one count of false imprisonment and one count of terroristic threats.

His sentences for the other charges, ranging from five to 25 years, will run concurrently with the 25-year prison term for rape.

Usher pled not guilty at his arraignment and his trial was scheduled to begin July 22. Had his case gone to trial, Usher could have faced a maximum of two life sentences plus 135 years if found guilty.

“There’s going to be no sense in doing that,” Usher told Judge Peed of the trial. “There’s no way in the world I can win. I’ve got no choice.”

Two teens who pled guilty to a spree that included several acts of vandalism to local churches have received their sentences. Kyle Andrew Cundiff will serve six years in prison and have 14 years of probation for his role in the September 2009 incidents where he and Christopher Richard West broke into three churches and caused damage to two of them. West was given a 10-year sentence to serve and 10 years of probation.

An Effingham County grand jury has indicted Kevin Johnson on four counts of murder, two counts of aggravated battery and one count each of aggravated assault and cruelty to children in the first degree. Johnson has been charged in the Feb. 8 death of 2-year-old Melanie Rose Haynes.

Also indicted was Jonathan Oliver, who is charged with two counts of aggravated battery, one count of aggravated assault and one count of cruelty to children for a March 4 incident that left an 8-month-old toddler on life support.

Grand jurors also indicted Calvin LeVaughn Lee on eight different counts. Authorities have accused Lee of attempting to hide drugs and trying to run over Springfield Police Chief Paul Wynn with his 1995 Pontiac Grand Prix. Lee is charged with one count of aggravated assault, three counts of obstruction of an officer, and one count each of possession of a firearm or knife during the commission of a crime, possession of cocaine, tampering with evidence and carrying a concealed weapon.

An Effingham County grand jury also has indicted a man who was involved in a Jan. 1, 2009, traffic accident that resulted in the death of a Bluffton, S.C., woman.

Cory Padgett has been indicted on two counts of vehicular homicide, two counts of serious injury by automobile and one count of driving under the influence.

On New Year’s Day, 2009, Padgett and two others were in a 1999 Dodge Intrepid. Padgett was pulled over by a Rincon police officer but then sped away.

Authorities said he ran the stop sign at Richland and 4th and struck Imra Grant’s car in the left front fender. Grant’s car spun clockwise and she was ejected from the car. The vehicle came to a stop 84 feet from the where the initial impact took place.

Padgett’s vehicle went into a counter-clockwise spin and hit a house on 4th Street. It eventually rolled onto its side and hit a tree, coming to rest upside down.

Grant later died of her injuries at Memorial Health University Center.

Two passengers in Grant’s car also were injured in the wreck.