Sentences for Grand Larceny, Drug Distribution….

Grand Larceny and Drug Distribution charges were among the cases disposed of yesterday in a fourth day of accepting guilty pleas. Judge Frank Addy Jr. of Greenwood presided over the proceedings in Laurens County General Sessions Court.

40-year-old Quinton Glenn Eaton of Cowens Bridge Road, Gray Court pled to Possession of Firearm or Ammunition by a Person Convicted of a Violent Felony and to a Grand Larceny charge involving a theft valued in excess of $10,000. Judge Gaddy sentenced Mr. Eaton to eight years on the Grand Larceny case and to five years on the Firearms charge. The sentences will be served concurrently, and Quinton Eaton was given credit for 529 days already spent in jail.

30-year-old Khalid Robert L. Westmoreland Sr. of Sullivan Road, Fountain Inn pled Guilty to Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Distribute. He was sentenced to five years, but that was suspended to five years on Probation. Probation can be terminated after three years if there are no issues at that time. Charges dismissed for Mr. Westmoreland included Distribution of Meth, two counts of Unlawful Neglect of a Child, Possession of fifteen dosage units of MDMA (Ecstasy) and 3rd offense Trafficking in Ice, Crank or Crack.

27-year-old Brittney Paige Williams of Octavia Drive, Spartanburg pled to Grand Larceny valued from $2,000 to $10,000. She was sentence to time served, having spent 302 days in jail.

38-year-old William Scott Hampton of Washington Street, Greenville pled guilty to Use of a Vehicle without Permission with Intent to Deprive the owner. He was sentenced to nine months, with credit for 37 days already spent in jail.

Two people pled to Possession of Less than One gram of Meth or Cocaine Base yesterday. 24-year-old Georgia Gail Branham of Freebird Lne, Easley was sentence to 14 days, time served and is to pay court costs at $50 a month starting October 1st. A Drug Possession with Intent to Distribute charge was dismissed.

29-year-old James Tyler Harris of Church Street, Laurens was sentenced to three years, suspended to 278 days, time served, two years on probation and to participate in four litter pick-ups. Charges dismissed on Mr. Harris were a drug Possession with Intent to Distribute within Proximity of a School or Park and two other Controlled Substance Possessions.

Laurens Thoughts on Downtown Revitalization

A National Main Street program for revitalization of commercial districts was explained before Laurens residents gathered in the Witherspoon Building of the Laurens County Museum Wednesday evening.

The top concerns noted from a survey in Laurens included buildings that need repair, a lack of variety in the type of stores open, the number of empty buildings, parking and inconsistent store hours. Positive comments from the survey noted favorite businesses such as Roma Restaurant, Verdins Too along with the Capitol Theater and Café.

The most desired businesses requested were pubs, fine dining, bookstores, entertainment venues, and children’s stores.

The survey indicated favorite hours for shopping are from 1:00 to 5:00 in the afternoon and perhaps other hours on Saturday. Most described themselves as cost conscious.

The average age of people who responded to the survey was 39.2 years. When asked for what future those taking the survey wished for Downtown Laurens, many noted the success Fountain Inn has had with their downtown revitalization.

In addition to reviewing highlights from the local survey, Kathy Plante from the national main street program discussed issues including housing opportunities for the community. One woman in the audience stated that after her college graduation, she found a job locally, but it took her a year to locate a place to live that she could afford as a single woman.

In discussing how to determine if a certain type store might succeed here, Ms. Plante gave examples of towns about the size of Laurens that had many requests for a candy store. She said when researching potential business owners in one such town, she found that to survive, the owners would need a greater population of customers to support a candy store. As an alternate plan for one town our size, she convinced a local greeting card store to add a display of good chocolates. She said this proved to be a big success.

The presentation for Main Street Laurens noted an important strategy of building on a community’s assets, such as famous hometown residents.

Last Minute Chance for School Supplies

The summer vacation is almost over for students of Laurens County School Districts 55 and 56. Students return to class Monday morning.

Rev. Anthony Sims’ annual School Supplies Giveaway is being held tomorrow, providing supplies for students in need. The event starts at 10:00 in the morning at WLBG Radio.

Summer Research by PC Students

Nineteen Presbyterian College students were spending their summer months conducting research.

These included Adrianna Cody of Enoree and Sharmila Samuel of Greenville, who could be found either outside coring trees or in one of the labs of Lassiter Hall.

Cody and Samuel are working with biology professor Dr. Mike Rischbieter. They’re comparing trees on campus, in Clinton, and in Columbia to see if urbanization affects tree growth. The research experience will prove valuable as both look to go to graduate school after their upcoming senior year.

Ms Cody, who plans to be a research pharmacist, enjoys how research helps her sharpen her problem-solving skills. “Research teaches you how to adapt when you run into a wall in your research, you don’t know which way to go, or you realize that something you’ve done is incorrect.”

Ms Samuel, who has her sights set on becoming a dentist, enjoys what research offers outside the classroom. She said, “I like the one-on-one individual attention, and it’s so much different than a classroom setting because it really pushes you.” She added, “In class, you’re more focused on learning information for a test.

Cody and Samuel are two of ten students conducting research as PC Summer Fellows. These students are paid a stipend and spend eight weeks conducting a research project. All PC Summer Fellows work with a faculty mentor, like Dr. Rischieter, who is available to answer questions during the process and help guide the research.

Another nine students are conducting research as part of the South Carolina IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence (SC INBRE) program. PC is one of 13 predominantly undergraduate institutions in the state that participate in the program.

Gunfire Without Permission

Unapproved gunfire was noted in charges following a Wednesday arrest by the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office. 18-year-old Amuri C. Leeper of Columbus, Ohio was charged with Breach of Peace, Aggravated in Nature. Deputy Anderson states that on August 13th Leeper committed Breach of Peace, Aggravated in Nature in that he did discharge a firearm on property belonging to another individual without the authority to do so The warrant further notes that this occurred without adult supervision and while the suspect was under the influence of marijuana. Leeper remained in the Johnson Detention Center earlier today with a cash or surety bond set at $2,000.

Backpack Theft

The Sheriff’s Office yesterday arrested 33-year-old Kenneth Antwan Rice of Bellhaven Road, Anderson and charged him with Petit Larceny. He’s accused of stealing a backpack from someone in Laurens County on May 22nd, with the theft valued at $480. Mr. Rice was held overnight, awaiting a bond hearing today.

Criminal Trespass & Gas Theft

Charges of Criminal Trespass and Petit Larceny have been served on 28-year-old Andre Timothy Moultrie of Elizabeth street, Clinton. He was arrested by Clinton Police Wednesday. In warrants, Sgt. Prather states that on August 2nd Moultrie entered a victim’s property with intent to permanently deprive her of a red gas can and gasoline. Mr. Moultrie was released on personal recognizance bonds totaling $1,000.

Transformational Strategies for Downtown Laurens

Kathy Plante of Main Street America addressed ways for developing a downtown area in a program hosted by Main Street Laurens in the Witherspoon building last evening. She shared results of a survey recently conducted, gathering ideas on the aspirations of residents. She said, “Revitalization needs to be informed by a solid understanding of local and regional market data and sustained and inclusive community engagement.”

Her presentation centered around transformation strategies suggested by Main Street America. They called for a deliberate path for strengthening the downtown economy, organized around Economic Vitality, Design, Promotion and Organization.

Plante said economic vitality focuses on capital and incentives along with other economic and financial tools to assist new and existing business, property development and creating an environment for entrepreneurs and innovations that drive local economies.

Ms. Plant said Design supports a community’s transformation by enhancing the physical and visual assets that set the commercial district apart.

Promotion positions the downtown or commercial district as the center of

the community and hub of economic activity, while creating a positive image that showcases a community’s unique characteristics.

She said Organization involves creating a strong foundation for a sustainable revitalization effort, including cultivating partnerships, community involvement, and resources for the district.

Kathy Plante said that strategies for development fall into two broad categories: Those focused on a specific customer segment and Those focused on an Industry, Product or Service segment.

Laurens Mayor Nathan Senn gave final remarks, emphasizing the solid rapport between the City government, Main Street Laurens, and the a desire for revitalization. He said, “We have many new people coming into town, and this is one thing you all can do and it will not cost a cent: Please be positive about your town.”

Pleas from Criminal Sex to Burglary to Drug Cases

Judge Frank Addy Jr. heard from eleven defendants yesterday during another day of taking guilty pleas in Laurens County General Sessions Court.


36-year-old Marcus Lathan Sims of 276 Locust Street, Clinton pled guilty to 2nd Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct with a Minor 11 to 14-years-old. Judge Addy sentenced Sims to seven years but gave credit for 623 days already spent in jail. Another charge of 3rd Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct with a Minor 14 to 15-years-old was dismissed.


55-year-old Arthur Ray Brewington Jr. of 5342 Highway 14 Gray Court, pled to Threatening the Life, Person or Family of a Public Official and two Shoplifting charges. He was sentenced to 21 months in jail for each case, to be served concurrently. He was given credit for fifty days already incarcerated. Another charge of Threatening the Life of a Public Official was dismissed.


21-year-old Markevious O’Neal Carter of 306 Florence Street, Clinton pled to 3rd Degree Burglary and to Possession of a Drug with Intent to Distribute. He was sentenced under the Youthful Offender Act to a term not to exceed five years. With a screen for Shock Incarceration, a charge may be expunged. Charges dismissed for Markevious Carter yesterday were Discharging Firearms into a Dwelling, a Drug Possession with Intent to Distribute within Proximity of a School or Park charge and a case of 2nd Degree Assault and Battery.


39-year-old Otis Little Jr. of 149 Gray Street, Laurens, pled guilty to Burglary and 1st Degree Domestic Violence. He was sentenced to six years on each case, to be served concurrently, with credit for twenty days in jail.

A 2nd Degree Domestic Violence charge was dismissed.


28-year-old Michael Alan Lesley of 165 Eden Lane, Central pled to four counts of Breaking into Motor Vehicles or tanks. A 5th guilty plea was to Grand Larceny of greater than $10,000. Judge Gaddy sentenced Mr. Lesley to five years on each of the five charges, to be served concurrently. He was given credit for 211 days in jail, and his sentence is to begin September 26th. Another Grand Larceny of greater than $10,000 charge and four Petit Larceny charges were dismissed.

I-385 Corridor Study

With the area along Interstate 385 in upper Laurens County having a lot of new industrial plants over recent years, and more projected to come with the new Connexial Industrial Park, The Laurens County Development Corporation and Laurens County Council are seeking to see that the roadways can handle the current and future growth.

At this week’s County Council meeting, a report on an I-385 Corridor Study was presented to council. Thomas and Hutton Engineering conducted the study. They recommend roadway improvements be made so that the northern portion of the study area can accommodate future development. The report cites a need for improvements to exit 19 and Exit 22, to assist traffic getting into the adjoining roadways.

Muffin Mam Progress Continues

Construction continues on the Muffin Mam’s 2nd bakery, which is in the Hunter Industrial Park in Laurens, in view of passing traffic on I-385. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that Laurens County Council this week gave 3rd and final reading on the ordinance setting up incentives for the new facility. Council took the action Tuesday evening following a public hearing on the matter, with no one coming forward to comment.

Presenting Counterfeit Check to Bank

Fountain Inn Police has charged a man with presenting a forged check in town Tuesday. 38-year-old Montreal Vandal Gilchrist of 20 Bagwell Circle, Greenwood is charged with Forgery. Officer Lowe states in the warrant that on August 13th Gilchrist, with intent to defraud the Bank of Travelers Rest, published a counterfeit check for $423.37 as true, at a bank location in the Laurens County portion of Fountain Inn.

With a cash or surety bond set at $5,000, Montreal Gilchrist remained in the Johnson Detention Center earlier this morning.

Two Jailed by Probation

State Probation yesterday delivered 53-year-old Boyd James Nabors Jr. of 3425 Milam Road, Clinton to the Johnson Detention Center. He is being held for inpatient services through Voc Rehab and the Palmetto Center along with substance abuse counseling.


State Probation delivered 27-year-old Amber Kayla Smith of Academy Street, Clinton to the Johnson Detention Center Tuesday. She she was charged with Violation of Probation, accused of failing to follow the advice and instructions of her supervising agent. Examples cited included alleged failure to report as instructed in March, also changing her address without notification to the agent, also in March. She’s further accused of failure to make required payments and failing to make herself available for substance abuse counseling. S. Smith was released yesterday to the Greenville Probation office.

Organizing Referendum to Fund Projects

Plans are being made to have a referendum regarding a new local option sales tax on the Laurens County ballot during the November, 2020 general election. Mayors and Council Members from municipalities across Laurens County were present at last evening’s County Council meeting as County Attorney Sandy Cruickshaks explained the procedure state law requires for that process.

Before the explanation began, County Council Chair David Pitts told everyone present, “This will be the people’s choice, not county council’s or any other politician or special interest, it must be a grass roots effort.”

Cruickshanks distributed a copy of the Capital Project Sales Tax Act, which contained eight pages of detailed information on all phases of the tax, before and after its election or defeat. He said, “We need to follow the letter of the law and be sure we dot all our I’s and cross our t’s, so we will not have a problem later on.”

The first step is to form a commission of six members, all of which must be residents of the county. County Council must appoint three members of the commission. The municipalities in the county are to appoint the other three, who must be members of one of the municipalities as well as Laurens County. Cruickshanks explained the rather complex procedure state law requires for determining how the municipalities go about selecting the three members to serve on the commission.

He explained that after the commission is appointed, there should be meetings at the historic courthouse to select the projects to receive funding, should the sales tax be approved by the voters. He said the commission as to make the selection transparent.

If the tax is approved, it will be in effect for eight years, with an estimated intake of some $40 million. Sandy Cruickshanks explained that the projects the sales tax is to fund must be listed on the ballot in the order of their priority, showing costs of the projects.

The timeline for this new commission requires that it make decisions on the various projects so that the referendum can be on the November 2020 ballots. If the Capital Project Sales Tax is approved then, the tax will be enacted in May of 2021.

Murder Suspect To Laurens County From S.C.D.C.



The man accused or orchestrating a kidnapping and murder from a state prison was delivered to Laurens County yesterday. 31-year-old James Robert Peterson was transferred from the State Department of Corrections to Laurens County’s Johnson Detention Center, where he’s charged with Murder and Conspiracy to Commit Kidnapping.

Warrants citing the work of Sheriff’s Investigator Farrah Cook state that on July 20th Robert Peterson did, with malice aforethought, while incarcerated in Kirkland Correctional Facility in Columbia, orchestrate the events that ultimately led to the kidnapping and murder of Michelle M. Dodge. A warrant states the crimes occurred in Gaffney, but the victim was found deceased in Laurens County.

The Laurens County Coroner ruled Ms. Dodge died at noon Saturday, July 20th. Her body was found later that day in a wooded area off McDaniel Road, several miles south of Laurens.

James Robert Peterson is one of eight people that have been charged with various aspects of the kidnapping and murder of the York woman in Gaffney and leaving her body in Laurens County.

CPW Geosmin Update

“We’re on the right path.” That comment from Laurens CPW General Manager John Young, as he updated the commissioners on this summer’s problem with geosmin in the water coming from Lake Rabon. While not a health issue, the taste and odor is not welcomed by water customers. Young advised the commission Monday evening that they began receiving complaints on July 2nd. He said that on July 11th an independent lab confirmed geosmin as the culprit.

John Young said that engineers determined a combination of Earth Tech and Carbon would be the most effective treatment process. A DHEC permit to implement was received July 30th. Young said that Earth Tech use began that day and early results indicate it’s removing most of the geosmin. As of Monday night, however; they were still waiting on arrival of the Carbon delivery system . John Young added, “This has been a very trying experience, but we are on the right path!”

Main Street Transitioning at 6:30 This Evening

The National Main Street Center has announced that the Laurens Main Street program is taking part in national program to bring renewed economic prosperity to the community. Through a combination of community engagement, market analysis, and organizational positioning, Laurens will establish a series of key, market-driven transformation strategies designed to elevate and focus the community’s resources and capacity on building a sustainable competitive advantage within the downtown.

Main Street Laurens and the National Main Street Center invite the public to a presentation this evening – from 6:30-8PM at the Laurens County Museum’s Witherspoon building located on South Public Square.

Those attending tonight can hear the results of the recent online survey conducted in advance of the meeting as well as an overview of the process and what the end results will be.

Special Election for Cross Hill Council Post

Seven of Cross Hill’s 285 registered voters cast ballots yesterday in a special election to Town Council. Connie Jester received all seven. There were no write-in votes cast. This result is unofficial until certification at 11:00 Thursday morning. There were no contested ballots in the special election.

Child Neglect, Unlawful Drug Possession

A Cross Hill couple was arrested by the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office and charged with Child Neglect involving drugs.

29-year-old Thomas Michael Howell and 30-year-old Jennifer Nicole Ward of 911 Puckett Ferry Road, Cross Hill are charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance and Unlawful Neglect of Children. Warrants allege that between May 13th and August 13th Mr. Howell and Ms. Ward placed a minor child at unreasonable risk of harm by having the child in an unsafe environment and living conditions. The warrants add that drugs were located inside the property and within reach of the child. Both defendants are said to be the child’s parent or guardian and had custody of the child.

Howell and Ward are accused of having ten Alprazolam pills yesterday.

Deputy McMahan issued a ticket also charging Thomas Howard with Simple Possession of Marijuana at 8:22 yesterday morning at 911 Puckett Ferry Road.


Both remained in custody this morning with bonds totaling $12,615 for Thomas Michael Howell and $12,000 for Jennifer Nicole Ward.

Two Charged for Sloan Street Arrests

Clinton Police arrested two men Monday, holding them for charges regarding an alleged situation at 800 North Sloan Street.

37-year-old James Jimmy Wise Jr. of 456 Drayton Street, Newberry has since been charged with Possession of a Firearm or Ammo by a Person Convicted of a Violent Felony. A warrant alleges he was in possession of a firearm Monday, not allowed due to his conviction of a violent crime classified as a felony. With a bond set at $5,000, James Jimmy Wise Jr. remained in the Johnson Detention Center this morning.

Clinton Police have charged 28-year-old Clayton Cory Claybone Allen of 621 Sparrow Road, Clinton with Possession of Less than One Gram of Meth. A warrant alleges he had less than a gram of meth at 800 North Broad Monday. Mr. Allen has been released on posting a $2,5000 bond.