Attempt Murder Cites City Sunday Shooting

Discharging a firearm into her own residence this past Sunday is alleged in warrants served yesterday, following the booking of a resident of Mountville. 27-year-old Kristen Brooke Wessel of 40 Edgins Circle, Mountville was charged with Domestic Assault of a High and Aggravated Nature, Attempted Murder, Discharging Weapons into a Dwelling and with Possession of a Weapon in a Violent Crime. The Sheriff’s Office served warrants stating she discharged a firearm into her dwelling at 40 Edgins Circle on December 10th. without regard for the lives of the children and adults inside. Those inside reportedly included her husband. Kristen Brooke Wessel was being held overnight, awaiting arraignment today.

Multiple Thefts in December

Several thefts this past month were alleged for a Clinton man, in warrants from Laurens City and County officers yesterday. Laurens City Police charged 39-year-old Robert Lamont Watts of 900 Milton Road, Clinton with one count of Grand Larceny. Detective Doug Jones states that in the early morning hours of November 26th Mr. Watts, and a co-defendant, pulled into a parking area on Garlington Street and loaded a Kubota zero-turn lawn mower valued at $15,000 onto a dual-axel trailer being pulled by a Chevrolet truck. Detective Jones states in the warrant that Sheriff’s Investigator Staton located a truck matching the description of the Chevy, which reportedly had distinctive damage on the front passenger door, recorded on video at a store near the scene of the theft. A conversation with a subject at the truck reportedly led to the arrest of Mr. Watts.

A $25,000 cash or surety bond was set on the Grand Larceny charge from Laurens City Police. Meanwhile, the Sheriff’s Office last evening added two more charges of Grand Larceny and one Petit Larceny charge, along with a Receiving Stolen Goods warrant from 2 ½ years ago.

Sheriff’s Investigator Staton states that on this past November 18th Watts took a 2005 Suzuki motorcycle valued at $2,500 and that on November 27th he took a 16-foot dual-axle trailer with building materials, valued at $6,000.

On November 27th, Watts allegedly took a 5×10 trailer valued at $1,000.

And in the Receiving Stolen Goods charge, Sheriff’s Deputy Andrew Turner states that on April 8, 2015 Mr. Watts received property of a victim that was valued at $6,000, knowing or having reason to believe that the property was stolen.

Robert Lamont Watts was still awaiting a bond hearing on the four additional charges from the Sheriff’s Office.

Unauthorized Move

Failing to report to her Probation Agent since July of 2016 was alleged on a woman South Carolina Department of Pardon, Probation and Parole arrested yesterday. 24-year-old Deidra Nicole Anderson of 109 Able Drive, Laurens was charged with Violation of Probation. She is charged with failing to follow the advice and instructions of her agent. She reportedly failed to report on July 20th of 2016 or after that date and allegedly changed her residence to an undisclosed location without consent of the agent, thereby absconding supervision. She is also accused of failing to make required payments. Deidra Nicole Anderson was being held overnight in the Laurens County Detention Center, awaiting arraignment on the charge today.

Arrest Alleges December 3rd Assault

The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office yesterday arrested a woman in connection with an alleged assault on her boyfriend early this month. 38-year-old Melissa Diane Little of 55 Dewberry Drive, Clinton was charged with Domestic Violence 3rd Degree.

Sheriff’s Deputy Galloway states that on December 3rd Ms. Little assaulted the victim by hitting him in the head with a stick, causing a laceration above his right eye, and had the apparent present ability to cause physical harm or injury that reasonably created fear of imminent peril to the victim.

Melissa Diane Little remained in custody overnight, awaiting a bond hearing on the charge.

Church Members Fill Courtroom to Prepare

The main Laurens County Courtroom at Hillcrest Square was filled with representatives from Laurens County churches Saturday morning as the Sheriff’s Office held a Church Security Seminar.

We asked Sheriff Don Reynolds to his reaction that so many churches of different denominations coming together regarding this common concern. “It’s an amazing thing to see forty-some-odd different churches come together in this way. It’s an outstanding feeling. Because its all for one purpose and goal, and that’s safety for the church-goers.

It’s just to help bring an understanding and a mindset to what the problem is and how to react to it.”

Those attending Saturday’s four-hour session were presented material charting the organizational process of a cohesive church safety program. Officers demonstrated the technique of taking down a threatening intruder. Lt. Don Evans lead discussion on various aspects of developing and maintaining a good security plan. He noted that each church should develop a plan based on its need, but suggested using the basic outline so that law enforcement would have a general knowledge if called to the church.

WLBG asked Sheriff Reynolds about this aspect. “We’re always ready to step up or stem in, in any way we need to. But in this manner, here, it allows the churches to – in some way – to understand what each other is doing, to have a comprehensive plan that can help one another. Because, ideas are what they are until you put them in play and you learn from each other.”

Drugs & Ledger to Document

Laurens Police Officers reported finding drugs and a ledger used in the sale of drugs, following a traffic stop on Church Street this past Friday. 33-year-old Octavious Antwan Williams of 218 Spring Street, Laurens was charged with Criminal Conspiracy and Possession of Methamphetamine with Intent to Distribute, 3rd or Subsequent Offense. He was also charged with Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Distribute and with Unlawful Possession of a Schedule IV Controlled Substance. 33-yearOld Gina Lynn Greene of 522 Owens Street, Laurens was charged with Criminal Conspiracy and Possession of Methamphetamine with Intent to Distribute.

Both Williams and Greene are accused of having some five grams of crystal methamphetamine in their possession, reportedly discovered during a lawful traffic stop on Church Street Friday. Mr. Williams’ warrant states he has at least two prior convictions for Possession with Intent to Distribute Meth or Cocaine Base.

The Criminal Conspiracy warrants state that Williams and Green had in their immediate possession a hand-written ledger containing the prices and sales of illegal drugs. Warrants state the ledger was directly used to promote and advance a criminal enterprise that’s based on the distribution of illegal substances. The warrant charging Octavious Williams with Criminal Conspiracy states that he did claim responsibility for the contents of the ledger, containing the prices and sale of illegal drugs.

The warrants cite an investigation of Laurens Police Officer Van Pelt, and note that witnesses to the case include him, along with Detective Jones, Sgt. Sellers and others.

In addition to the 5 grams of meth, Octavious Williams is also accused of being in possession of approximately 21 grams of marijuana along with clear baggies, a digital scale and a ledger documenting the prices and sale of illegal drugs.  Williams is also charged with having in his possession four round, white pills identified as Alprazolam, a schedule IV controlled substance.

Both subjects arrested by Laurens Police at Friday’s Church Street traffic stop remained in custody in the Laurens County Detention Center this morning. Cash or surety bonds were set totaling $65,000 on Octavious Antwan Williams, and $30,000 for Gina Lynn Greene.

Remembering Those at Potter’s Field

There is a quiet spot near the Laurens County Airport where hundreds of Laurens County citizens are buried, many in unmarked graves.  It’s called Potter’s Field, where the indigent and/or unknown rest, mostly forgotten.  Each year, Laurens County Coroner Nick Nichols organizes a remembrance ceremony for Potter’s Field.  “It’s just a matter of respect,” he said.  “They lived.  They were a part of Laurens County history.  They should be remembered in some way.” Nichols tells us that there are graves going back hundreds of years. He believes there are Revolutionary War soldiers buried at Potter’s Field.

Yesterday afternoon, a small group gathered there for a brief ceremony honoring the dead who were poor or alone.  There was a reading of scripture, a prayer and then “Silent Night” was sung to conclude the ceremony.

Nursing Award for Excellence

    There’s a new award designed to recognize exceptional nurses around the country. This DAISY Award for excellence in nursing was presented for the first-time last week to a nurse at the GHS Laurens County Memorial Hospital. Receiving the DAISEY Award was Anthony Lawson, RN, who is CQI nurse analyst in Quality Resources at the Laurens County Campus.

Chief Nursing Officer Kay Swisher presented Lawson a framed certificate, a DAISY Award lapel pin and a hand carved stone sculpture entitled “A Healer’s Touch,” representing care between a nurse and patient. Ms. Swisher said, “Anthony was nominated by his peers because of his commitment to patients, putting those first and foremost at all times.” She added “He is always willing to go the extra mile to help out in any department or event if needed.”  Swisher noted that Anthony also volunteers at Good Shepherd Free Medical Clinic, after work, on a regular basis.

In nominating Anthony Lawson for the award, a co-worker praised Lawson as a fellow nurse and as a friend. “He has been a tremendous help to me in my role as a nurse analyst in our department”, said Mary Lloyd, RN.  She added, “Anthony is a wonderful example of what nursing is and exemplifies all of the criteria for The DAISY Award.”

Criteria for award nomination include continued commitment to quality care, excellence and professionalism; outstanding customer service, clinical expertise, patient advocacy and education, and acting as a nursing role model, mentor and team member.

The DAISY Foundation was established in 2000 by the Barnes Family in memory of Patrick J. Barnes, who dies from complications at the age of 33. Having been touched by the remarkable care, clinical skills and compassion demonstrated by nurses during Patrick’s illness, the Barnes family made it their mission to recognize exceptional nurses around the country.

Money from Cash Register

Laurens City Police charged a local man with taking money from his employer 2 ½ years ago and with damaging property of a local woman this past March. 22-year-old Joshua Tyler Towns of 219 Independence Avenue, Laurens was arrested Friday and charged with Breach of Trust and Malicious Damage. The Breach of Trust warrant states that an investigation by Officer Blackstock indicates that Mr. Towns took $300 from his cash register at Wal-Mart between March 23rd and 24th of 2015. The Malicious Damage warrant states that an investigation by Officer Sherfield indicates that on May 9th of 2017 Mr. Towns maliciously damaged property of another on Woodrow Street in Laurens.

State Probation also charged Towns with Violation of Probation.

Joshua Tyler Towns was released with a $5,000 personal recognizance bond on the Violation of Probation warrant and with cash or surety bonds totaling $3,000 on the Laurens City charges of Malicious Damage and Breach of Peace.

Repeat Drug Offense

A traffic stop on Church Street was noted in a Friday arrest by Laurens Police on a repeat drug charge. 34-year-old Joshua Neil Putman of 34 Serine Street, Laurens was charged with Possession of Less than One Ounce of Methamphetamine. A warrant citing an investigation by Officer Van Pelt states that on December 8th Mr. Putman had in his possession less than one gram of methamphetamine, a schedule II substance he is not permitted to possess. The warrant states that Putman has at least one prior conviction for Possession of Methamphetamine in January of 2014. A $10,000 cash or surety bond was set on the Meth charge during arraignment. Joshua Neil Putman remained in the Laurens County Detention Center this morning.

Trailer Taken with Equipment

The theft of a trailer with telecommunication equipment Wednesday was alleged in an arrest by Clinton’s Department of Public Safety Friday. 38-year-old John Collion Calhoun of 85 Lower Shady Grove Road, Ware Shoals was charged with Grand Larceny. Public Safety Sgt. Prather states that on December 6th the defendant took a white, 16-foot enclosed Cargo Craft trailer containing tools and telecommunication equipment from a victim at 105 Trade Street in Clinton. The trailer was valued at $10,000.

With a cash or surety bond set at $10,000, John Collion Calhoun remained in the Laurens County Detention Center this morning.

Resisting Arrest

A 17-year-old female was arrested by Laurens Police on Gleams Street early Friday morning. Lt. Copeland issued tickets charging the Fountain Inn Teen with Simple Possession of Marijuana, Disorderly Conduct and Resisting Arrest at 3:00 Friday morning. After some time in the Laurens County Detention Center, the teen was released on personal recognizance bonds totaling $1,375.

2nd Church Safety Class is Added

Concerns about a recent, deadly church shooting in Texas have led to over 100 people from 43 Laurens County churches signing up for the Sheriff’s Office Lesson on protecting from intruders, to be held tomorrow. Sheriff’s Lt. Don Evans this morning said that because the demand is so high, he’ll be holding another session in late January or early February. Folks who did not get signed up before tomorrow’s session filled up can be registered for the next lesson on how to deal with a church intruder. Contact Lt. Evans by email: DEvans@laurenscountysheriff.com

Meet the New Bookmobile!

The Laurens County Public Library System is now ready to present its new bookmobile. Ann Szypulski, Director of the Public Library System, yesterday announced special events for the unveiling. This includes a ribbon cutting that will be held this coming Tuesday afternoon, December 12th at the Historic Courthouse on the Laurens Square at 4:45 pm.

Mrs. Szypulski also said the new Bookmobile will also be part of the Library system’s holiday celebrations. She invites the Laurens County Community to come meet the staff, enjoy some refreshments and tour the Bookmobile on Monday, December 18 in Clinton from 3 to 5, and on Thursday, December 21 in Laurens from 3 to 5.

And He Allegedly Shot her Dog!

A man arrested Wednesday following a Waterloo area incident involving guns was served with four warrants yesterday. The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office charged 47-year-old Jamie Leroy Trent of 107 Copperhead Drive, Waterloo with Possession of a Weapon by a Person Convicted of a Felony, Pointing and Presenting Firearms at a Person, Malicious Damage and Breach of Peace.

Deputy Adam Galloway states that on December 6th Mr. Trent had in his possession a shot-gun and a hand gun, with ammunition, at his residence, while knowing he was a felon convicted of a violent crime. Galloway also alleges that Trent did damage of less than $2,000 value to the property of one victim by shooting her dog with a shotgun. Jamie Trent is also accused of breaching the peace in an aggravated nature by discharging a weapon on Shrine Club Road, causing a disturbance of public tranquility.

Jamie Leroy Trent was released yesterday on cash or surety bonds totaling $12,000 on the four charges.

City Manager & Welcome Center on Agenda

Clinton City Council was holding its 3rd executive session of the week to discuss the matter of selecting a new city manager. During a series of discussions last month, council has narrowed the search to a top three candidates, from the Southeast, Midwest and Southwest of the country.

But council members have additional matters to consider this morning, as well as the executive session personnel issue.

A revised agenda for this morning’s called meeting has two added items not related to the search for a City Manager. One is to consider the project at the former Industrial Supply. Plans for redevelopment of this site have also included a proposal for locating a visitor center there. The other added item for this morning’s Clinton City Council meeting is to approve a contractor for a sewer line replacement project.

Shoplifting, Again?

A woman arrested late yesterday afternoon following an alleged shoplifting at Wal-Mart has since been served with charges that include two other cases of shoplifting. Laurens City Police charged 24-year-old Porchae Michelle Natashia Reeder of 105 Rosemary Lane, Laurens with three counts of Shoplifting and two charges of Trespassing.

Laurens Police Lt. Martin issued tickets charging Ms. Reeder with Trespassing and Shoplifting at Wal-Mart at 5:30 yesterday afternoon. She was served with warrants charging her with another Trespass violation and with two more counts of Shoplifting.

The warrants cite the investigation of Sgt. Jody Thibodeau as indicating that the defendant came onto the property of Wal-Mart at 922 East Main on September 28th after being placed on trespass notice by Major Cofield, and that on October 16th Ms. Reeder “skip-scanned” several items at Wal-Mart, intentionally failing to scam the items, with intent of depriving the victim of the value of these items. A third warrant, obtained in late October, states that Reeder “skip-scanned” items at Wal-Mart, but the date was not specified.

Porchae Michelle Natashia Reeder was being held overnight, awaiting a bond hearing today.

Bond Denied on Concrete Block Assault

Yesterday we reported on Clinton Public Safety’s arrest of a man overnight from an October assault. 31-year-old Frankie Layne “Boot” Simpson of 1002 North Sloan Street, Clinton was charged with Domestic Violence of a High and Aggravated Nature for allegedly assaulting his wife on October 210th at Bridgeman’s Trailer Park October by throwing concrete blocks at her, hitting her in the face and on her chest, with injuries.

During arraignment yesterday, bond was denied on the charge. Frankie Layne “Boot” Simpson remained in the Laurens County Detention Center.

Man Charged with Stealing Trailer & Golf Carts

A Richland County resident was served with charges yesterday regarding the theft of a trailer and golf carts in Laurens County five months earlier. The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office served three Grand Larceny warrants on 25-year-old Cody Andrew French of 713 Toms Creek Road, Hopkins.

Investigator Farrah Cook states that on July 3rd Cody French took a black 22-foot home-made trailer with black rims, tires and other personal items, valued at approximately $5,500. She states that on the same day French stole two golf carts belonging to other victims. One was a 2013 Yamaha Golf Cart valued at $7,000 and the other was a 2010 Yamaha valued at $8,000.

Cody Andrew French was being held overnight, awaiting a bond hearing on his charges.

Now Held to Face Drug Charge

Delivered to the Laurens County Detention Center on orders of General Sessions Court yesterday was 45-year-old Tina Louise Anderson of 1112 Jefferson Street, Greenwood. Ms. Anderson was served with a General Sessions Bench Warrant that states she failed to appear in court on November 27th to face a charge of Possession of a Controlled Substance in schedule I to V. The court orders Tina Louise Anderson to be held until she can be discharged by due course of law.