Clothing optional, truth required. This week's quotes and numbers. 

Also: The parrot talks, Palin lacks S.C. luster, welfare cuts, and a public suicide

"Once we pulled the blanket from over him, he would keep saying, 'Help. Help.' And then he would laugh."

St. George Police Lt. Eric Bonnette on the parrot at the center of an abuse and neglect case that authorities believe resulted in the death of a 98-year-old. Authorities believe the parrot's calls were repeating pleas from the dying woman, followed by laughter from her daughter, who has been charged in the case. Source: The Associated Press

"They're not going to be interested in her simply because she's conservative and nice and popular."

Oran Smith, head of the Palmetto Family Council, on Sarah Palin's presidential primary prospects in South Carolina. Source: The Washington Examiner

20 percent

The amount S.C. welfare recipients will see cut from their monthly benefits as the state agency responsible for the payments struggles with a $28.8 million deficit. Source: The Associated Press

Clothing Optional, Truth Required

Two naked college students told a complicated tale last month, claiming they'd been assaulted, robbed, and stripped at Waterfront Park. Last week, the pair were in hot water, this time with their clothes on. Both 21-year-old John Lawson Shafer and 19-year-old Jade Murray were charged with filing a false report.

The details of the case remain unknown, but police announced last week that the story the two provided to police and the press was untrue. According to police spokesman Charles Francis, the two told police they were sitting at the end of the pier at Waterfront Park in the early morning hours of Nov. 23. They had claimed a couple assaulted and robbed them, then forced the college students to undress and threw them in the river.

Naked and covered in mud, the pair arrived at a nearby hotel lobby roughly an hour later and begin telling their tale.

"It was weird," Shafer told The Post and Courier. "I thought, 'These thoughts that I am having are the thoughts I am having just before I die.'"

The two are expected to appear in court Dec. 28. —Greg Hambrick

Suicide Stuns School Community

Students and faculty at Charleston County's Academic Magnet High School are still recovering after the public alleged suicide of 16-year-old student Aaron Williams. According to police, Williams set himself on fire in the school parking lot early Dec. 8. His suicide was witnessed by dozens of students and administrators as the school day began.

"Losing a child is an unspeakable tragedy," Superintendent Nancy McGinley said in a statement. "On behalf of the entire Charleston County School District, I offer my deepest condolences to the Williams family. Please know that you are in our thoughts and prayers." —Greg Hambrick


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