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    South Carolina Widow Settles with Go-Mart

    Case prompted South Carolina legislation for surveillance cameras, a security booth or a drop safe in 24-hour convenience stores.

    DUNBAR, S.C. -- In a highly sensitive case in South Carolina, the widow of a slain Go-Mart clerk settled her lawsuit against the convenience store chain for $225,000.

    Teresa Ballengee alleged Go-Mart ignored requests by her late husband, Mark Ballengee, to beef up security at the Dunbar, S.C. convenience store where he worked and failed to provide a safe workplace for late-night workers.

    Her later protests led to state legislation in 1998 ordering such 24-hour stores to either provide surveillance cameras, a security booth or a drop safe. Another option legislators offered was to lock down the store between midnight and 5 a.m. During that time, customers are to be served through a pass-through window, according to The Charleston Gazette.

    In 1998, Ballengee said the legislation was a start to solving the problem. "Cameras are great after the crime's been committed to find the person who did it," she said at the time. "Of course, it doesn't bring back the person who was murdered."

    Ballengee's husband was working alone early on Dec. 13, 1997, when two men came into the store to rob it. According to Ballengee's lawsuit, her husband asked store managers to schedule more than one worker for overnight shifts.

    Yesterday's settlement is worth $225,000, but portions of that will be used to pay Ballengee's attorney fees and unsettled credit claims against the estate. The remaining $140,402 will be split between Ballengee's wife and their two children, the order states.

    Tobias Anthony Scales was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for Ballengee's murder.

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