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New Ellenton Man Jailed in Hit & Run Death


Aiken County authorities have confirmed the arrest of 23-year-old Michael Cornelius in the weekend death of Shawnta Smalls along Whiskey Road.

The New Ellenton man was arrested Saturday afternoon. Jail officials have confirmed today that he is the suspect in Smalls’ death and is charged with “hit & run – duties of driver involved with death.” Bond has been set at $100,000.

Smalls, 27, of Aiken, was walking near 4501 Whiskey Road in Aiken late Friday when she was struck.

Coroner Tim Carlton said Smalls was walking from a friend’s house toward her family’s home when she was hit.

Cornelius has been to the Aiken County Jail before, twice in 2011 for breach of trust charges. Upon his arrest Saturday, he was also served with an outstanding warrant for breach of trust.

The victim was well-respected among her peers at Walmart, where she worked.

“She was the most upbeat person I have ever worked with. Everyday she gave me hell for being grumpy in the early morning’s at Walmart,” friend David Guillebeau said on a Jail Report Facebook post. “She was such a joy to cut up with and work with. … May you rest in peace. … Our lives have forever been blessed to call you family!!”

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Greg Rickabaugh
Greg Rickabaugh
Greg Rickabaugh is an award-winning crime reporter in the Augusta-Aiken area with experience writing for The Augusta Chronicle, The Augusta Press and serving as publisher of The Jail Report. Rickabaugh is a 1994 graduate of the University of South Carolina and has appeared on several crime documentaries on the Investigation Discovery channel.
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