Allegedly Lied & Conspired

Yesterday we reported the Monday arrest of 41-year-old Stephen Ezekial Sutherland of Pickens Street, Joanna, noting he’s charged with Conspiring with Emily Gregory November 7th thru 9th to distribute oxycodone. He was released yesterday on a $1,000 cash or surety bond.

The Sheriff’s Office yesterday arrested 59-year-old Emily Jones Gregory of 805 Milton Road, Joanna and charged her with Filing a False Police Report and Conspiring to Distribute. She’s accused of filing a false police report November 9th, stating that Stephen Sutherland stole $280 and 80 Oxycodone pills from her, when she actually gave them to him to sell for profit. She is accused of conspiring with Sutherland to distribute oxycodone.

Bonds set on her two charges totaled $10,000. Emily Jones Gregory remained in the Laurens County Detention Center overnight.

Drug & Property Crimes Alleged

Drug and Property Crime charges were served yesterday on a Georgia man Laurens Police arrested Monday on a Public Intoxication Charge. 45-year-old Joshua Garland Ramey was booked with a Clarksville, Georgia address. Warrants served yesterday state he has no permanent address. He’s charged with Enhanced Shoplifting and Possession of a schedule IV Controlled Substance.

He is accused of having six partial and two whole tablets believed to be Xanax or a derivative thereof on Monday. Sgt. James Nolen further states that Ramey shoplifted merchandise valued at $262 Monday by opening packages, concealing them underneath clothing and passing all points of sale. This was reportedly the 3rd or subsequent offense, with two previous convictions of Shoplifting.

With bonds set totaling $4,250, Joshua Ramey remained in custody this morning.

Three Charges of Deviant Behavior with Children

Three acts of deviant behavior with children in Clinton were alleged with an arrest by Clinton Public Safety yesterday. 30-year-old Matthew Blake Pierce of 289 Pilgrim Circle, Waterloo was charged with Disseminating Obscene Material to a Minor, Exposure of Private Parts in a Lewd and Lascivious Manner and Criminal Sexual Conduct with a Minor.

Detective Tyrone Goggins states that on September 10th Mr. Pierce disseminated pornographic material to an 8-year-old juvenile at a residence in Clinton. Goggins states that Mr. Pierce intentionally exposed his private part to an 8-year-old juvenile while demonstrating a sex act. Detective Goggins further states that between September 1st and 10th Mr. Pierce engaged in sexual battery with a victim whose age was noted as “under 11-years-old,” allegedly performing sexual acts of intrusion of intimate parts as well as oral acts involving this juvenile.

Matthew Blake Pierce was being held overnight in the Johnson Detention Center, pending a bond hearing.

Failing to Check-In for Sex Offender Registry

Failure to make a required check-in for the Sex Offender Registry was alleged on two men yesterday. The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office booked

52-year-old John Dennis Robinson of 825 Airport Road, #6, Clinton and 47-year-old Kyle David Gross of 511 Conway Avenue, Laurens and served each with a warrant charging Sex Offender Registry Violation. Each was accused of failing to report to the Sheriff on October 31st, as required. Mr. Robinson was being held overnight, pending a bond hearing. Mr. Gross was held overnight, with a cash or surety bond set at $3,000.

Principal For a Day in District 55 This Morning

This is “American Education Week.” Laurens County School District 55 is observing the week by inviting ten regional leaders to take the temporary reins of local schools and the school district today. On the Principal for a Day event today, Superintendent Dr. Stephen Peters said “It’s a wonderful opportunity to bring acknowledged leaders in their fields into our schools to see what goes on from an insider’s perspective.” Peters said success stories are found every day in every school, and noted “We want to share those stories as well as share our challenges.”

The community leaders are being paired with school leadership, meting students, observing classroom lessons, meeting parents and staff and taking care of paperwork.

Today’s “temporary” principals include…

  • Randy Garrett is vice president of government relations for Laurens and Little River Electric Co-ops. He’ll be working at EB Morse Elementary with Principal Lynn Owings;
  • Gwen Seagraves is the Human Resources Manager at Mogul Nonwovens SC Corporation. She’ll be at Sanders Middle with Principal Dr. Lacresha Byrd;
  • Jonathan Coleman is a South Carolina Certified Economic Developer and has been with the Laurens County Development Corporation since 2008. He’ll be spending the day at the District with Superintendent Dr. Stephen G. Peters and Mr. Ed Murray, Director of Public Relations;
  • Todd Croker is President of FUJIFILM Manufacturing USA, Inc. and FUJIFILM Hunt Chemicals U.S.A., Inc. He’ll be assigned to Hickory Tavern Elementary/Middle with Principal Tina Faulkner;
  • Sarah Danik is a reporter and anchor at FOX Carolina. She’ll be reporting for duty at Laurens District High School with Principal Chris Moore;
  • Jonathan Irick was raised in Laurens and graduated from Laurens District High School in 1993. After college, he worked at/managed Earl Thomason Jewelers on the square for 17 years. In 1996, he became Executive Director of Main Street Laurens. You’ll find him working the halls of Laurens Middle School alongside Principal Anna Brink;
  • Major Chrissie Cofield is the assistant chief of Laurens Police Department. She will be learning the ways of students and staff at Ford Elementary with Principal Zak Watson;
  • Jason Jackson, the plant manager at Greenwood Quarry, Vulcan Materials Company, will be principal for the day at Gray Court-Owings Elementary/Middle with Principal Phillip Dean;
  • David Greer grew up in Simpsonville and finished college at the Citadel in Charleston, SC. For the past 18 years, Greer has worked at five Milliken locations in South Carolina and North Carolina. He’ll be found at Laurens Elementary with Principal Randy Dendy
  • Jarvis Reeder is the Chief Deputy for the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office. He will be working at Waterloo Elementary with Principal Jennifer Abercrombie.

District 55 School Board Chair Susan Calhoun-Ware said “A strong public school system is the foundation for a strong economy and a vibrant community.” She added “We applaud these local leaders for taking time from their schedules to see what it’s like being ‘principal for the day’ and we welcome their suggestions on how we can improve.”

Another “Spec” Building in the Works

Another “spec” building to attract more industry into Laurens County came one step closer to reality at last night’s Laurens CPW November meeting. The commissioners unanimously approved a resolution authorizing General Manager John Young to execute a Memorandum of Understanding with the Laurens County Development Corporation (LCDC) for construction of a new shell building in Hunter Industrial Park.

The plan is for the CPW to transfer an 18-acre tract of Land in Hunter Industrial Park to the LCDC, opening the way for the LCDC to apply and secure a loan from Santee Cooper for up to $3,250,000. The money will be used to build the new $75,000 square foot spec building. The LCDC agrees to manage, supervise and oversee the engineering, design and construction of the speculative building with the oversight and input of the CPW, while the CPW agrees to maintain the project site following completion of construction.

While the 75,000-square-foot building is to be constructed in Laurens, a 60,000-square-foot spec building is now in the works in Clinton; giving local economic developers two sites to offer to industries looking to expand.

After Traffic Stop, Charges Kept Coming

Multiple charges were served yesterday on a man Laurens City Police arrested in the overnight hours, following a traffic stop. 27-year-old Walter Anthony Townsend of 125 Jackson Street, Laurens was initially issued tickets from Officer Napier charging him with “Parties to a Crime” and Giving False Information to Police at 1:48 yesterday morning on North Harper Street.

Warrants were served later yesterday also charging Mr. Townsend with Manufacturing Methamphetamine and Willful Destruction of Evidence. They state that an investigation by Officer Napier indicates that Townsend was in possession of .9 gram of methamphetamine during a lawful traffic stop on North Harper Street yesterday morning and that he attempted to discard physical evidence of the meth.

State Probation & Parole also had a warrant charging Walter Townsend with Violation of Probation. It alleges he failed to appear for appointment with is agent, changed his residence without consent of his agent and that he failed to make payments of required fees.

A $75,000 cash or surety bond was set on the Violation of Probation charge. Bonds were set on the Laurens Police charges totaling $17,465. Walter Anthony Townsend remained in the Laurens County Detention Center this morning.

Facebook Post Cited in Arrest

A Facebook post about possession of a pistol was among reasons cited for South Carolina Probation and Parole’s arrest yesterday of 19-year-old Daniel Ray Pauley of 106 Nature Trail, Easley. He was placed in the Laurens County Detention Center on a Violation of Probation warrant. It states that Pauley moved without his agent’s knowledge or permission and that he was in possession of a pistol, evidenced by his post on Facebook. He’s also accused of failing to make required payments, and to follow the advice and instructions of his agent. With a cash or surety bond set at $75,000, Daniel Ray Pauley remained in the Laurens County Detention Center this morning.

More Charges Coming……

A man and woman from a Waterloo address were arrested by Laurens Police at 9:30 last night on Chestnut Street. Both were issued tickets charging Simple Possession of Marijuana and Resisting Arrest. The woman was also charged with Hindering Police. Both were being held, pending additional charges from warrants. They were among six of 18 people arrested by local law enforcement yesterday who were waiting overnight for warrants.

Conspiracy to Distribute Oxycodone

The Sheriff’s Office made an arrest yesterday on a drug conspiracy charge.

LCSO 41-year-old Stephen Ezekial Sutherland of 520 Pickens Street, Joanna was served with an Drug Attempt and Conspiracy warrant. It states that between November 7th and 9th he conspired with another person to distribute oxycodone, a schedule II controlled substance. Mr. Sutherland was being held overnight, pending a bond hearing today.

Packing Care Packages for Soldiers On Veterans Day

LMS Students Prepare Items Friday for Saturday Packaging By Dist 55 & 56 CHAMPS at PC 

Veterans’ Day events this weekend in Laurens County and across the United States honored all Veterans of our country. World-wide, Saturday was observed as the 99th anniversary for the signing of the Armistice that ended “The Great War,” which we now refer to as “World War I.”

One scheduled local event for the Veterans’ Day weekend is set for 1:00 this afternoon at Laurens District 55 High School. This celebration is to include musical performances and a guest speaker.

Events in schools last week included Laurens Middle school students, faculty and staff partnering with CHAMPS students from across Districts 55 and 56 to collect items for ‘Operation Shoebox’ Care Packages for Soldiers. They prepared collected items for transport to Presbyterian College, where CHAMPS students were to gather Saturday, on Veterans’ Day, to pack shoe boxes.

Man Charged with Break-Ins & Thefts Since July

The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office has charged a Cross Hill man with a series of break-ins and thefts from another house in his neighborhood between this past July and last week.

32-year-old Jonathan Lee “John Boy” Bridges of 114 Puckett Ferry Road, Cross Hill was delivered to the Laurens County Detention Center last Thursday. On Friday, he was served with warrants from Investigator Farrah Cook which charge him with 2 counts of 1st Degree Burglary, 3 counts of 2nd Degree Burglary and one charge of Housebreaking. Bridges was also charged with 1 count of Grand Larceny and with 4 counts of Petit Larceny. All the crimes reportedly occurred at the same victim’s residence, another house on Puckett Ferry Road.

The first incident alleged in the warrants was a 2nd Degree Burglary on the neighbor’s home on July 6th, where he’s accused of entering the dwelling with intent to commit a crime therein.

Then, on about July 11th Bridges allegedly entered the same without cause and with intent to commit a crime, and took away $415 in money from victim’s residence.

Another warrant states that on October 6th Bridges entered this residence while armed with a deadly weapon, and took away items from the residence without the owner’s permission. On this date, he’s accused of taking a Smith and Wesson .357 revolver, about $25 in change and approximately 40 Lortab pills.

Investigator Cook states that on October 7th Bridges entered the victim’s dwelling, armed with a deadly weapon which he carried away from the victim’s residence without permission. On this date, he reportedly took away a brand-new camouflage 12-gauge shotgun valued at $500 and an older 12 gauge shotgun valued at $500.

On October 25th “John Boy” Bridges is accused of again entering the victim’s dwelling without consent and with intent to commit a crime therein.

The final alleged break-in allegedly occurred last week, on November 8th, when Investigator Cook states that Bridges entered the Puckett Ferry Road dwelling without consent and with intent to commit a crime therein, and took away $4,900 in money and an unknown amount of Lortab pills.

Cash or surety bonds were set totaling $60,000. Jonathan Lee Bridges remained in the Laurens County Detention Center this morning.

Kidnap & Assault of Girlfriend & Witness to Assault

A Clinton man was arrested for allegedly assaulting two women and Kidnapping one of them yesterday. The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office charged 36-year-old Derrick O’Neal Vance of 308 Evans Drive, Clinton with Kidnapping, Domestic Violence 2nd Degree and Assault and Battery 2nd Degree.

Warrants citing an investigation of Deputy Hilderbrandt state that on November 12th in Laurens County Mr. Vance committed 2nd Degree Domestic Violence in that he chocked, dragged and punched the victim several times, causing severe lacerations and that he prevented her from leaving the residence for a period of time. He allegedly seized, kidnapped or abducted her from a Clinton area location without authority of law during a domestic violence incident. Vance is also accused of committing battery on another female yesterday by punching her in the face and pulling pieces of hair from her head. This reportedly occurred during a domestic violence incident where this victim was a witness to the alleged assault on his girlfriend.

Derrick O’Neal Vance was being held overnight, awaiting a bond hearing today.

Grabbed Girlfriend, Kicked Car Door

Laurens City Police arrested a Clinton man for an alleged domestic assault in Laurens yesterday. 26-year-old Dashua Terrell Reeder of 5C, 100 Houser Circle, Clinton was charged with 3rd Degree Domestic Assault and with Malicious Damage.

Warrants citing an investigation by Sgt. Alexander state that the defendant grabbed the victim about her neck, causing her to sustain scratches to her neck and for her shirt to be torn. The actions at a Lee Street location also allegedly caused the victim to fear for her safety. Mr. Reeder and the victim have reportedly lived together for some five months.

During the incident yesterday, Reeder also allegedly kicked the victim’s vehicle, causing damage to the driver’s side door during the Lee Street incident.

With cash or surety bonds totaling $6,000, Dashua Terrell Reeder remained in the Laurens County Detention Center this morning.

State Contest Winner at Gray-Court Owings

A Laurens County teacher was one of two winners in the “Read Your Way to the Big Game door decoration contest. The South Carolina Department of Education announced that Michelle Spires, the Media Specialist at Gray Court-Owings School, was one of two winners in the door decoration contest.

Ms. Spires was amazed when notified she had won, saying “My goal was to encourage students and teachers to participate in the door decorating and reading challenge for the ‘Read Your Way to the Big Game’ Contest by participating myself. I am honored to have been chosen as one of the winners from this statewide contest!” She thanked several for helping her vision for the door become reality. She named “Mindy Miyares, Gussie Lawson and Tommy Spires for lending a helping hand!”

Michelle Spires at GC-O School and Media Specialist Mary Grady from Savannah Grove Elementary in Florence were each receiving $500 from the State Department of Education for the most decorative bulletin board, wall or door for the “Read Your Way to the Big Game” contest.

F.T.C. Thefts, Fraudulent On-Line Shopping

A man and woman from Laurens were arrested yesterday regarding multiple charges of Financial Transaction Card Theft and Fraud. Laurens City Police charged 32-year-old Joseph Bernard Harris of Apt 224 at 219 Independence Avenue, Laurens with 3 counts of Financial Transaction Card Fraud, one charge of Financial Transaction Card Theft and one count of Petit Larceny. In the Petit Larceny warrant, Mr. Harris is accused of stealing a victim’s wallet and its contents at a location in the 500 block of Church Street on November 2nd.

19-year-old Taylor Morgan Sloan, also of Apt. 224 at 219 Independence Avenue, was charged with Petit Larceny and six counts of Financial Transaction Card Fraud. Those six warrant state that Ms. Sloan made online purchases from her apartment on Independence Avenue. Five were made on November 2nd for purchases that ranged in value from just over $5 to $262; while a 6th purchase was reportedly made on November 3rd for cell phone services.

Both remained in the Johnson Detention Center this morning with cash or surety bonds totaling $5,500 for Joseph Bernard Harris and $6,5000 for Taylor Morgan Sloan.

Forged Check Cashed over 2 ½ Years Ago

Laurens City Police arrested a Midlands man Friday regarding a forged check case from over 2 ½ years ago. 24-year-old Alexander Gaines Floyd of 184 Secret Cove Drive, Lexington was charged with Forgery. The warrant states that on April 3rd of 2014 at the Palmetto Bank at 501 Church Street Mr. Floyd presented a counterfeit check for $1,464.25, knowing the document was forged. Alexander G. Floyd was released this weekend on a $5,000 cash or surety bond.

Failing to Repair & Return Car

Failing to repair and return a car was alleged with a Laurens City Police arrest Friday. 40-year-old Todd Miller Willingham of 2805 Millen Road, Newberry was charged with Breach of Trust with Fraudulent Intent. A warrant states he was entrusted with repairing a victim’s 2003 Honda Odyssey in a week’s time. Having took possession on December 18th, 2016, a February 14th 2017 warrant states the car had not yet been returned. Todd Miller Willingham was released on a $5,000 cash or surety bond.

Concern Here After Texas Church Shooting

Due to last Sunday’s shooting in a Texas church that resulted in death for a large number of people, the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office reports that many citizens here have requested assistance with designing security plans for their churches. The Sheriff’s Office yesterday stated that in response to this local concern, it will hold a meeting with clergy from churches throughout the county at the Laurens County Courthouse at Hillcrest Square next Tuesday, November 14th. This meeting will begin at 6:00 p.m. The Sheriff’s Office extended an invitation to all clergy members in our community. Anyone with questions about this offering should call Lieutenant Don Evans, Captain Charles Boyce or Chief Deputy Jarvis Reeder at (864) 984-4967.

That meeting with local pastors, again, is scheduled for 6:00 pm Tuesday, November 14th in the Courthouse on Hillcrest Square in Laurens.

Veterans Day Events

Veterans Day will be celebrated across the United States tomorrow. This national holiday began as “Armistice Day,” following the end of the 1st World War, on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.

Tomorrow morning, November 11th at 11:00 am in the Laurens City Amphitheater Laurens, VFW Post 3354 will hold its annual Veterans Day program.

Another local Veterans Day Observance will start an hour earlier at 10:00 tomorrow morning in Joanna at Blalock Veterans’ Memorial Park, at the intersection of US 76 and SC 66. State Senator Danny Verdin and WLBG’s Randy Stevens area among the speakers scheduled for the program. That event is sponsored by the Coalition for a Better Joanna.

Among activities set for Veterans Day tomorrow is a tour of the site of a significant battlefield in the Revolutionary War. Musgrove Mill State Historic Site is offering a guided hike of a battlefield trail. The1.3-mile-hike will begin at 10:00 am, led by a ranger through terrain where the battle was fought in the early morning hours of August 19th, 1780.

Admission is $2 or a donation of food items to the “Hunger Takes No Vacation” food drive.

Deadline for registration was 4:00 this afternoon. A check on last-minute avails for the hike is available with a call to the park at 864-938-0100.

While the holiday is tomorrow, Francis Marion and Sumter National Forest offices announced that their offices and all Ranger Stations will be closed today. Regular office hours of 8:00 am to 4:30 pm resume Monday.