News 12 This Morning Local Update - October 3, 2006

Lottie Kain Payne trial begins

A year after 2-year-old Nicole Kain and her 3-year-old brother Jonah were found dead in a retention pond near their home, their mother Lottie Payne begins her trial.

A seven-woman, five-man jury will decide whether Payne is guilty of two counts of cruelty to children in the second degree.

After opening statements were made yesterday afternoon, two witnesses were called to the stand.

One of them, Joey Halloway, taught Payne and her husband basic parenting classes for two years before the children died. That was before the family moved to Warrenton.

Halloway testified a child was left home alone while the parents were at a New Year's Eve party.

Another witness testified that he was involved in a group sex encounter with Payne and her husband, then-boyfriend, the night before the children's death.

The trial is expected to last two to three days.

Court resumes this morning at 9 o'clock.

Two arrested in deadly hit and run

From CrimeTeam 12, two people have been arrested in a deadly hit and run in Augusta.

Marcus Funck of Evans and Lisa Morse of Augusta are charged with murder and robbery in connection with the death of a pedestrian.

56-year-old Charles Johnson was hit and killed near the intersection of Third and Watkins streets back in August.

Plutonium production site closed for good

SRS has deactivated Area F at the plant, closing down half a century's mission.

Hundreds of SRS employees have spent recent years getting rid of plutonium made over past decades used to build nuclear bombs.

Employees who were working on that mission have been moved to other areas.

SRS is one of the largest nuclear management sites in the country. The nuclear materials from F-Area were packaged and sent to a waste isolation site in New Mexico.

Commission to vote on interim District 4 appointment

There's a lot on the agenda at the Augusta Commission.

Today they will vote to appoint an interim District 4 commissioner.

The commissioners will also get an update from ING, the company that lost city employees' personal information stored on laptops.

The commission will also look at the results of another study on the idea of bringing a drag strip to the Augusta area.

Mayoral candidate close-ups

This week on News 12 at 6 O'Clock, we're taking a closer look at each of the mayoral candidates and their platforms.

We started off with Deke Copenhaver, who's hoping to keep the mayor's job for the next four years.

Today we'll sit down with Ronnie Few.

Coming Up

It's amazing what a fresh coat of paint can do for a vacant building.

Wednesday, the Buzz on what national company is moving in the busy corner of Washington Road and Bobby Jones.

News 12 This Morning starts at 5:30 a.m.