Laurens County Common Pleas Court Pleas From Wednesday June 19th

Disposed Cases in Laurens County Common Pleas Court From Wednesday, June 19th:

Danny Thomas Argo III, 27, of 826 Cemetery Rd. Ware Shoals, pled guilty to unlawful neglect of child or helpless person, and was sentenced to 8 years with credit for 338 days in jail. Charge dismissed under Nolle Prosequi was another count of unlawful neglect of child or helpless person.

Troy Odell Armstrong, 30, of 706 Church St., Laurens, pled guilty to domestic violence, 3rd degree, and was sentenced to 90 days.

Amber Joy Austin, 42, of 357 Speedway Dr., Gray Court, pled guilty to legal custodian, unlawful neglect of child or helpless person, and was sentenced to 1 year suspended to 18 months’ probation.

Ernest Davante Miller, 26, of 600 W Centennial St Lot 3 Clinton, pled guilty to malicious injury to animals, personal property, injury value $2,000 or less, and was sentenced to 30 days’ time served. Charges dismissed under Nolle Prosequi were second degree burglary.

Rodney Eric Moreton, 55, of 130 Elijah Rd Gray Court, pled guilty to Manufacture or possession of Sch. I,II,III drugs with intent to distribute 1st offense, and was sentenced to 2 years suspended to 18 months’ probation. Charge dismissed under Nolle Prosequi were trafficking in marijuana, 10 lbs or more, but less than 100 lbs – 1st offense.

William Patrick Lynch Jr 25, of 735 Airport Rd., pled guilty to unlawful neglect of child or helpless person, and was sentenced under the Youthful Offender Act, not to exceed 5 years suspended to 4 years’ probation. Lynch also pled guilty to possession of less than one gram of meth. or cocaine base, 1st offense, and was sentenced under the Youthful Offender Act, not to exceed 5 years suspended to 4 years’ probation. Charge dismissed under Nolle Prosequi was another count of unlawful neglect of a child or helpless person.

SC WINS Program Offers More Scholarships For Piedmont Tech Students

Thanks to state and federal financial aid, local Promise programs, and a thriving Foundation scholarship program, 70 percent of students attending Piedmont Technical College (PTC) are able to attend tuition-free. Now, a new South Carolina scholarship is poised to make the cost of attending the college even more affordable.

The South Carolina General Assembly recently voted to launch the SC Workforce and Industrial Needs Scholarship (SC WINS)—a statewide program designed to address workforce shortages. The scholarship supplements Lottery Tuition Assistance to help further reduce tuition cost for eligible students.

The new program will start awarding funds in Fall 2019.

“This new opportunity will make getting an education more affordable for our students,” said Dr. Ray Brooks, PTC president. “SC WINS doesn’t just remove a financial barrier. It’s designed to grow the workforce in key business sectors in the state. Eligible students will pay less for tuition and build a skill set that will make them highly employable.”

For all of the information on SC WINS eligibility and a full list of programs, visit www.ptc.edu/win.

Attempted Murder, Breach of Peace, Discharge of Firearm

Brandon Dwayne Corteville age 18 of 302 Augusta Street Laurens was booked Tuesday into the Laurens County Detention Center by the Laurens Police Department charged with breach of peace aggravated in nature, attempted murder, and discharging a firearm into a vehicle.  Warrants allege that Corteville committed the act of breach of peace aggravated in nature by discharging a firearm across a public street on June 15th in the parking lot of  Walmart, did intentionally fire at least three rounds from a firearm into the victims car with the intent to murder the victim and did commit the offence of discharging a firearm into an occupied vehicle. Brandon Dwayne Corteville remains in the detention center awaiting bond court as of this report.

Violation of Probation

Marquis Asyaquan McGowan, 28 of 183 Cypress St. Clinton was booked Tuesday into the Laurens County Detention Center charged with violation of probation or parole. The warrant alleges McGowan failed to report to his probation officer, failing to refrain from violating an order of probable cause domestic violence, and failing to follow instructions of his agent. Marquis McGowan remains in the detention center awaiting court.

Assault 3rd & Malicious Injury to Property

Kentavious Obrey Foggie Sr., 28 of  Laurens was booked Tuesday into the Laurens County Detention Center by the Laurens Police Department charged with Assault and Battery 3rd and Malicious Injury to personal property.  Warrants allege that he did commit the offense of assault by intimidation by threatening the victim through text messages stating he would shoot up her house and run over her with a vehicle if he saw her walking. A further warrant alleges malicious damage by breaking a window in the bedroom, forcibly knocking a toilet bowl off its base causing un repairable damage to the toilet and the bathroom floor to become flooded. Kentavious Obrey Foggie Sr. remains in the detention center awaiting bond as of this report.

Laurens City Council Approves 2019-2020 Budget

The final vote on the budget for the fiscal year ending June 2020 was unanimously approved at last night’s Laurens City Council Meeting.

The budget has not changed since the last meeting, and there are no tax increases or raises, and the budget is balanced.

The budget was just over $7.4 million budget calls for a general fund of $6,856,750 while the hospitality budget is set for $600,000, with the combined budget totals $7,456,750 and noted that’s an increase over last year of $41,050, which is 6/10ths of one percent.

Elrod Trial Continues In General Sessions Court

The trial of Daniel Elrod at General Sessions Court at Hillcrest Square on charges of grand larceny involving goods with a value of more than $2000, but less than $10,000, plus receiving stolen goods, back in February 2018, was scheduled to begin Monday.

On Monday morning, Elrod was in attendance for jury selection, with the trial to begin after the lunch break, but when court resumed Elrod was nowhere to be found.

Elrod was contacted Monday night by his attorney and was told that if he did not appear Tuesday, he would be tried in absence, and of 9:54 AM Judge Hocker ruled that since he still was absent from the courtroom, the trial would continue without him.

David Elrod was defended by Attorney Dorothy Manigault of Greenville, while Deputy Solicitor Jared Simmons prosecuted.

Opening arguments by the prosecution began with a list of items taken, which included a motorcycle, a 4 wheeler, a trailer filled with personal family belongings and antiques parked in a driveway while the owners were doing home renovations.

Officer Andrew Turner of the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office, who was called to the witness stand, testified that he went to the residence where the stolen items were located, and the door was opened by Quinton Glenn Eaton, who told the officer that he needed to change clothes, and then quickly fled the scene.

Another resident, April Reddin, was also present at that time and was expected to testify as a witness for the prosecution claiming that she would testify that Elrod was involved with the crimes.

Reddin, however, is now incarcerated in Colombia, and was supposed to be transported to the courtroom Tuesday, but a communication mix up will delay her testimony until this morning.

Judge Hocker told court he would allow the record of Quinton Eaton, who is in the Laurens County Detention Center for charges of property crimes, and would be allowed to testify.

.    A witness for the prosecution was a neighbor who lives near Eaton testified he saw out his window the utility trailer being unloaded

Defense asked the witness if he recognized the people, two males and one female, but he stated he did not really know them personally.

Quinton Eaton, who is currently in custody at the Johnson Detention Center appeared as a witness Tuesday afternoon

Eaton testified that he was a good friend of Elrod, and that he was contacted by the defendant and requested a meeting, due to the fact that Elrod owed him money and wanted to pay him.

Eaton said that when he met Elrod, instead of being paid back the owed money, Elrod wanted to repay him with the stolen goods.

Eaton said he refused and that Elrod dropped the stolen goods anyway on his mother’s property without permission.

Eaton told the prosecution that when the police came to his mother’s house after locating the stolen goods, he was still on drugs at the time, and when asked who owned the stolen property, he made up a name, then ran away.

The prosecution asked him if he was promised anything if he testified, to which he replied that he had already accepted an 8-year plea bargain, and that it was the right thing to do, and he had nothing to gain by testifying.

On cross examination, the defense brought up Eaton’s criminal record which involved many counts of property theft, and said, “Do you really want the court to believe you with a criminal past as yours”.

Defense brought up again his former convictions as to disqualify his testimony as a witness, “and you want the court to believe with your history that you just want to testify because it was the right thing to do?”

Eaton said yes and then court ended for the day, awaiting the arrival of April Reddin Wednesday morning.

Disposed Cases From Common Pleas Court Tuesday

Disposed cases from Laurens County Common Pleas Court on Tuesday:

William Austin Bostic 21, of 270 Little Virginia Rd Fountain Inn pled guilty to manufacture and possession of Sch. IV drugs, except flunitrazepam, with intent to distribute – 1st offense, and was sentenced under the Youthful Offender Act, not to exceed 2 years suspended to 3 years probation and restitution of $400. Charges dismissed under Nolle Prosequi were another count of manufacture and possession of Sch. IV drugs, except flunitrazepam, with intent to distribute, and breaking into a motor vehicle.

Christopher Austin Burton, 25, of 205 Sumter St Joanna, had multiple charges dismissed under Nolle Prosequi including assault & battery 2nd degree, two counts of manufacture and possession of Sch. I,II,III or flunitrazepam, with intent to distribute – 1st offense, distribute, sell, manuf. or possession with intent to distribute of a controlled substance near a school.

Peacheana Cunningham, 41, of 309 Stuart St Laurens, pled guilty to enhanced financial transaction card fraud with a value more than $500 in a six month period, and was sentenced to 1 year with credit of 190 days served. Cunningham also pled guilty to enhanced forgery, with a value less than $10,000, and was sentenced to 4 years suspended to 2 years and 2 years probation with credit for 190 days. Charges dismissed under Nolle Prosequi were enhanced criminally receiving goods, services fraudulently obtained, value more than $1,000 in any six month period, and petit or simple larceny with a value of  $2,000 or less.

 

 

 

Domestic Violence 2nd Degree

25 year old Nicole Krystyn Chewning of 357 Hellams Rd. Gray Court was booked into the Laurens County Detention Center Tuesday charged with Domestic Violence second degree. A warrant alleges that on June 18th Chewning slapped a victim causing minor injury to the facial area in the presence of a minor. Nicole Krystyn Chewning remains in the detention center on $15,000 bond.

Sentencing on Trafficking Meth

Kevin Mathew Bowlin was found guilty of 2 charges in Laurens County Court Tuesday and transported to the South Carolina Department of Corrections. He had been held on $405,000 bond. Warrants stated that on May 22 2019 Bowlin did obtain meth by conspiring with Zachary Strange and other conspirators to traffic an amount of meth in excess of 400 grams and did commit the crime of trafficking in meth 400 grams or more, and automatic felony with a 25-30 year sentence in that he did communicate from a prison system to aide in the trafficking of meth in excess of 400 grams. More on this from Common Pleas court later this week.

Guilty on Multiple Counts

Eric Preston Finley age 44 of 5061 Highway 49 Laurens was found guilty of 3 counts Possession of less than one gram of meth, resisting arrest, unlawful carry of a pistol, possession of less than 28 grams of marijuana and petit larceny in Laurens County Common Pleas Court Tuesday and transported to the Laurens County Detention Center. WLBG will have more information on his sentence later in the week.

Alleged Theft of Two Vehicles and Vin Number Tampering

Michael Anthony Nelson, age 30 of 719 Durbin Rd. Ft. Inn was booked Sunday into the Laurens County Detention Center charged with 2 counts of grand larceny and one count of receiving stolen goods. The warrants allege that between march 6 and march 7th of this year Nelson did with the intent to permanently deprive the owner take and carry away a 2006 Kawasaki ZX636 motorcycle and on June 15th of this year did take and carry away a 2012 Honda Rancher 420 side by side with intent to deprive the victim. Afinal warrant alleges that nn june 16th Nelson did commit the crime of receiving stolen goods/chop shop/buy/dispense or sell vehicle or part with a tampered id in that he did alter and or obliterate a vin number with intent to misrepresent the identity and prevent the identification of a 2006 Kawasaki ZX636 ninja that was reported stolen. Michael Anthony Nelson remains in the detention center on $60,000 bond.

Violation of Probation

Joshua Shane Skaggs age 25 of 101 Gordon Street Clinton was booked  Monday into the Laurens County Detention Center charged with violation of probation. The warrant alleges Skaggs failed to report to probation, moving without agents knowledge to an unknown location, failure to pay fees and failing to follow advice of his agent. Joshua Shane Skaggs remains in the detention center on $50,000 bond.

Bench Warrant For Malicious Injury or Damage

33 year old Kimberly Dianne Wooten of 195 TV Tower Rd. Ware Shoals was booked into the Laurens County Detention Center early Monday ona bench warrant alleging malicious injury or damage. She remains to pay $465 or 30 days.

Sentence For Theft of Utilities

Willie James Watts age 39 of 143 Gordon Street Laurens was booked Monday into the Laurens County Detention Center on a bench warrant from previous charges. He was found guilty of utility tampering and theft of utilities. He remains in the detention center on $1000 or 30 days.

Shoplifting Bench Warrant

Brian Eugene Knox age 37 of 5628 Whitmire Highway Clinton was booked into the Laurens County Detention Center early this morning on a bench warrant charged with shoplifiting. He remains in the detention center awaiting court.

Suspended Greenville County Sheriff Hearing Held In Laurens County Monday

On Monday afternoon Laurens Hillcrest Square was buzzing with television cameras, as the Suspended Greenville County Sheriff Will Lewis appeared before Judge Thomas W. Cooper Junior, of the 3rd Circuit, due to the necessity of holding the hearing outside of Greenville County, with Kevin Brackett from the 16th Solicitor’s Office representing the prosecution.

Once again, Lewis’ Attorney, Rouch Wise, asked to have charges dismissed, due to the vagueness of the charges against his client.

Lewis was indicted by a grand jury for willfully misusing public resources and abusing the power of office, falsely asserting a background investigation that had been performed on an individual to the SC Criminal Justice Academy, unlawful disposing of seized assets, equipping an unqualified employee with a badge, and using his power and authority to intimidate his employees.

Last winter Lewis and his attorney tried to have the charges dismissed, claiming the charges were too vague, but after the state law enforcement division investigation, the grand jury indicted Lewis in March on a new set of charges, including six counts of misconduct of a public officer and one count of obstruction of justice.

In April another shot of dismissal failed and now, the same argument was presented again by Wise, with the judge saying he will consider the request and will convene court again this morning.

The date for the trial against Lewis was tentatively set for late October.

 

5 People Plead Guilty in Monday’s General Sessions Court

In General Sessions Court Monday the following Guilty pleas were presented to Judge Hocker:

Bobby Lee Tucker, of 935 Brewington Rd Laurens, pled guilty to possession of controlled substance 1st offense, and was sentenced to 6 months provided upon service of 1 day (time served) and payment of $500 fine.

Thomas Lee Jarnagin, 23, of 208 Hilldale Ave Laurens, pled guilty to procuring or promoting obscenity that is unlawful, and was sentenced under the Youthful Offender Act, not to exceed 3 years, provided upon service of 2 days (time served) with balance suspended to 18 month’s probation.

Tanist Latoya Carwise, 40, of 218 Independence Ave #265 Laurens, pled guilty to domestic violence, 3rd degree and reckless driving and was sentenced to 12 days (time served) 90 days to pay court costs. Charges dismissed under Nolle Prosequi were possession of an open container of beer or wine in motor vehicle and driving under the Influence, less than .10, 2nd offense.

Brandon Chadburn Byrd, 49, of 198 Byrd Dr Clinton, pled guilty to manufacture and distribution of cocaine base, 1st offense, possession of firearm or ammunition by person convicted of a violent felony, and unlawful carry, and was sentenced to 515 days served.

Kevin Layne Mcglohon, 57, of 308 Penland Rd Laurens, pled guilty to possession of 28g (1 oz) or less of marijuana or 10g or less of hash – 1st offense, and was sentenced to 30 days or $100 fine to be paid within 30 days. The charge of receiving stolen goods with a value of $2000 or less was dismissed under Nolle Prosequi.

Department of Public Safety Releases Weekend Highway Death Statistics

SCDPS REPORTS SEVEN KILLED ON SOUTH CAROLINA ROADWAYS

JUNE 14, 2019 TO JUNE 16, 2019

The South Carolina Department of Public Safety announces a preliminary number of seven persons killed on South Carolina roadways from Friday, June 14, at 6 p.m. until Sunday, June 16, at 11:59 p.m.

All 7 on US routes, SC roads and secondary roads

Seatbelts were used in 2 of the accidents, a seatbelt was not used in 1 and there were 3 pedestrians and one motorcyclist not wearing a helmet killed over the weekend. As of June 16, 420 people have died on South Carolina highways, compared to 465 highway deaths during the same time period in 2018. Of the 420 people who have died in 2019, 283 had access to seatbelts, and 137 were not wearing seat beltsThrough June 16, 76 pedestrians have died compared to 65 in 2018; 35 motorcyclists have died compared to 53 in 2018; and 12 bicyclists have died compared to eight in 2018 on state roads and highways.

CPW Adjusts Infrastructure Reimbursement Program

Another slight adjustment was made to the Laurens CPW’s water and sewer infrastructure reimbursement program at last Thursday’s meeting. The program now limits reimbursement to a minimum of ten single family homes, separate business establishments and/or hotel rooms.

This changes a 1993 policy that states that when a developer or owner desires water and /or sewer service to a development or an undeveloped area within the corporate limits of Laurens, they must make application to the commission and submit a plan showing the number of lots requiring water and/or sewer service. The commission will pay the developer or owner the prorated cost per lot when a residence or business is erected, occupied, and connected to the water and/or sewer mains and to the commission’s electric systems. Commissioner Jeff Thompson wanted to be assured that in the future if the minimum of 10 homes could be changed as wanted or needed, and it was confirmed that it could.

General Manager John Young reminded all in attendance Thursday night that “With the summer approaching and the very high temperatures that occurred in May, we want our customers to be aware of energy efficiency tips, such as if your attic insulation has an R value of R-19 or less, you should add more insulation,” before the close of the meeting, The commission went into executive session to discuss a legal/contractual matter involving wholesale power provider, and a personnel matter, with no voting expected after the session.