She Wants Child’s Daddy to Go

Deputy Brandon Howard was called to an apartment on Reedy Fork Road west of Laurens late last night regarding a domestic dispute. A woman said she wanted her child’s father to leave her apartment, noting he does not live there and is not on the lease for the apartment. She told of an encounter after he took her phone into the bathroom and checked it, then came out angry about her contacts with another man. The man said he was leaving anyway but had waited until the deputy arrived since she had called 911. While no charges were desired by the woman from the altercation, she did request a ‘no trespass’ form to complete on her child’s father.

Local Prayers for Unity

Given the past week of conflict across the United States, some local residents in Laurens County are planning Prayer Events this evening in Clinton and tomorrow morning in Laurens, calling for Unity.

Two Clinton residents are working to have a Laurens County Community Prayer Vigil this evening in Downtown Clinton. They are Rhonda Gary and Eric Robinson, who said:

“It’s time we realize that ALL lives matter.”

Robinson told us they’re hoping to help united the community and law enforcement.

“We’re hoping to united the community back together, vs the incidents that took place last week.”

This Laurens County Community Prayer Vigil will be held at the Depot in Downtown Clinton at 6:00 this evening.

Another Prayer Vigil will be held at 8:00 Wednesday morning in Downtown Laurens.

Judy Stiles said it began on facebook and has a growing list of folks who’ll be participating. “Actually we’re asking residents of Laurens County to join us at the Courthouse on the square at 8:00 am Wednesday morning the 13th for a Prayer to unite everybody, and everybody to become one accord. All those that believe in our God, come and join us and lets pray for unity within the county.”

Multiple local Ministers have indicated they’ll be participating in the event at the Historic Courthouse at 8:00 in the morning.

Man Allegedly Shoots Mama

A Wattsville woman was reportedly shot late last night, and her son was being held for charges from the shooting.  Sheriff’s Lt. Marty Crain was dispatched to Wattsville’s Beattie Street at 11:19 last night on report of a woman who had been shot walking up to a residence there. Lt. Crain noted that on arrival he observed two men holding the woman up, with a makeshift tourniquet on her arm trying to stop the bleeding from the gunshot injury. She reportedly indicated her son had shot her during an argument. After initial treatment at the scene from EMS, the woman was transported to Greenville Memorial for treatment of the shot to her right upper arm.

Another son reported arriving at their Hammett Street residence to see his brother leaving in a white 1999 Ford Explorer. A 9mm shell casing was reportedly located near the Hammett Street residence.

Officers observed the suspect vehicle on US 221 and made a stop at Watts Street. 32-year-old Darrel Rico Johnson of 12 Hammett Street was being held in the Laurens County Detention Center, pending charges from a warrant to be obtained today.

Assault on Wife and Step-Son Alleged

Clinton Public Safety arrested a man just before 3:00 Monday morning following an alleged domestic assault toward his wife and an assault on her son. 27-year-old Kelvin Bernard Johnson Jr. of 316 Mill Street, Laurens was charged with Domestic Violence 2nd Degree, Unlawful Conduct toward a Child and Assault and Battery 3rd Degree. He’s accused of attempting or threatening to cause physical harm to his wife at a location on South Bell Street early yesterday morning under circumstances that reasonably created fear of imminent peril. He allegedly approached the female victim in a threatening manner and attempted to strike her in the face while in the presence of her juvenile son. Johnson allegedly placed his 14-year-old step-son at unreasonable risk of harm as he observed this. Johnson is accused of injuring the step-son by striking him about his face with a closed fist, causing swelling to the juvenile’s left eye and bleeding from his nose.

A $1,000 personal recognizance bond was set on the 3rd Degree Assault and Battery charge. Surety bonds on the 2nd Degree Domestic Violence and the Unlawful Conduct toward a Child charge were set totaling $15,000. Kelvin Bernard Johnson Jr. remained in the Laurens County Detention Center this morning.

Six Men Sentenced for Sex Trafficking Girls as Young as 16

Six Spartanburg men between the ages of 20 and 27 were sentenced yesterday in a Sex Trafficking case. They received prison terms ranging from 5 years to just over 10 years when sentenced in federal court in Greenville for their involvement in a conspiracy to traffic in minor females for the purposes of prostitution. Evidence presented at the change of plea hearing established that the defendants recruited minor victims aged 16 and 17 as well as young women to work for them, performing sex for pay in Spartanburg, Charlotte and other Southeastern cities.

Anyone with information on human trafficking is asked to please contact the National Human Trafficking Resource Center’s toll free Hotline at 1-888-3737-888.

More Charges Follow Traffic Stop

Laurens Police reportedly made a traffic stop late Sunday night regarding someone wanted in Spartanburg.

Officers Napier and Sherfield issued tickets to both men charging Simple Possession of Marijuana and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia t 11:36 Sunday night on Exchange Drive at Fairgrounds Road. Later yesterday Laurens Police obtained warrants with two additional drug charges. 28-year-old Joshua Allen “Bubba” Knight of 215 Bright Morning Lane, Fountain Inn and 29-year-old Kelly Eugene Earl of 83 Gopher Trail, Laurens were charged with Possession of Methamphetamine and Possession of a Controlled Substance.

Warrants for both men allege they were in possession of a white and yellow Dramamine container containing a small clear plastic baggie of an off-white substance that field tested positive for methamphetamine Sunday evening on Exchange Drive. The meth allegedly weighted 9 grams. They also allegedly had a small clear baggie with 7 pills identified as oxycodone.

Cash or surety bonds were set totaling $8,115 for Joshua Allen “Bubba” Knight. He remained in the Laurens County Detention Center this morning, also being held for Spartanburg County, where they have a Bench Warrant for a Driving under Suspension conviction on June 1st, 2016. Kelly Eugene Earl was released yesterday on personal recognizance bonds of $8,115.

Weekend Assault on Wife Alleged

Laurens City Police yesterday arrested a man for an alleged assault on his wife last weekend. 31-year-old Wendell Lee Hill of 102 Wilma Lane, Laurens was charged with Domestic Violence 2nd Degree. Lt. Martin states that investigation of Sgt. James Nolen indicates the defendant struck the victim in the head, causing an apparent injury above the victim’s left eye on her forehead. The defendant also allegedly took the battery from his wife’s mobile phone then threw the phone at her. The warrant notes they are married and had lived at their residence on Wilma Lane, but the assault allegedly occurred at a location on Sullivan Street Saturday.  Wendell Lee Hill was being held overnight, pending a bond hearing.

Additional Charges

Laurens City Police served additional charges yesterday on a man who had been arrested Sunday night. 32-year-old Tyler Terrell Ray of 1232 Rabon Road, Laurens was initially issued tickets charging him with Careless Driving and Simple Possession of Marijuana at or near the intersection of Conway Avenue and Fleming Street at 9:24 Sunday night. Yesterday Mr. Ray was also charged with Driving under Suspension. A warrant citing investigation by Officer Sherfield states that Ray was driving under suspension for a third of subsequent offense when stopped on Conway Avenue. Cash or surety bonds on the three warrants totaled $2,950. Tyler Terrell “Squirt” Ray remained in the Laurens County Detention Center this morning.

What Does a Guy Have to Do to Get Into Jail?

The Sheriff’s Office had dealings overnight with an 18-year-old out of Greenville. He reportedly was kicked out of a home where he was staying with family in the Green Pond area. When Deputy Brandon Howard encountered the young man at the crossroads of Highway 101and Green Pond Road last night, he reportedly said he wanted to go to jail because of having no place to stay. Deputy Howard called EMS because of an injury the man had to his hand. He was treated at the GHS Laurens County Memorial and dismissed later in the night. Deputy Robert Van Pelt was dispatched to Holly Grove Baptist Church at 2:21 this morning and met the same young man, who had called in a break-in at the church. He reportedly told Deputy Van Pelt that he was homeless and had to where to go, so he broke into the church to go to jail. He broke a handle off the front door by kicking it, but could not get in there, so he went to the side of the church and took a window out. He reportedly told the deputy he did enter the church and heard the alarm sounding.

Deputy Van Pelt took photos of the damage to the front door and the side window and placed the 18-year-old male under arrest for a Burglary charge. As Deputy Van Pelt was taking the subject to the detention center, Lt. Marty Crain stood by at the church, awaiting the pastor’s arrival this morning.

Pointing & Presenting on Curry’s Lake Circle

A man arrested by the Sheriff’s Office Sunday was served with a warrant yesterday charging a firearms violation.   73-year-old Steven John “Steve” Godosch Sr. of 461 Old Hundred Road, Pelzer was charged with Pointing and Presenting a Weapon. Deputy Tyler said the defendant pointed a gun at a victim at an address on Curry’s Lake Circle, Gray Court Sunday. Mr. Godosch was released Monday afternoon on a $1,000 surety bond.

Unlawful Carrying of a Pistol

A man Laurens Police arrested on Fleming Street Extension Sunday was charged yesterday with Unlawful Carrying of a Pistol. 30-year-old Terrance Renard Young of 1003 Elizabeth Street, Clinton, also known as “Mac” and “Vogue,” is accused of having a pistol underneath the passenger seat of a vehicle he was operating on Fleming Street Extension Sunday. Terrance Renard Young was released on a $10,000 surety bond.

Attempted Murder with Baseball Bat Blow to the Head

Attempted Murder charges were served yesterday after Clinton Public Safety was dispatched to Milling Street at 6:00 am on report of a domestic assault resulting in a head injury. Officers reported observing a 39-year-old Clinton woman at 115 Milling Street with a severe laceration to her head, reportedly from a baseball bat. Lt. Jones reported finding the suspect sitting calmly on a couch at that residence. EMS was called to the scene. The woman was airlifted for additional medical treatment. Officers obtained a search warrant and checked the subject’s residence at 119 Milling Street, where they reported seizing a green-handled fixed-blade knife form a coffee table area of the living room and a wooden baseball bat near the couch. Officers reported also finding two small dogs and a small raccoon in the residence without food or water. The animals were transported to Public Safety.

24-year-old Stephen Andrew Polson of 119 Milling Street, Clinton was arrested and later charged with Attempted Murder. In a warrant, Lt. Casey Jones states that on July 10th at 119 Milling Street Stephen Andrew Polson attempted to kill the victim with malice aforethought by striking her in the head with a baseball bat.

Bond on the Attempted Murder charge was denied. Stephen Andrew Polson remained in the Laurens County Detention Center.

Kidnapping, Assault Over 7 Days

Kidnapping and Assault charges were served on a man yesterday who had initially been arrested for a drug charge. Deputy Tyler Hunter was patrolling at the intersection of Acorn Trail and Highway 418 outside Fountain Inn at 2:42 Sunday morning when he reportedly observed an ATV and a car driving down Highway 418 at a high rate of speed. He was about to make a traffic stop when the two vehicles pulled into a driveway off Highway 418. Deputy Hunter reportedly located a small baggie containing a rock-like substance in the hand of the ATV driver. Corporal Brent Rushing arrived with the county’s K-9. Diesel reportedly alerted on additional meth from the car the man’s girlfriend had been driving. Meanwhile, Deputy Hunter noted the girlfriend’s face was severely bruised and swollen. Her left eye was purple and swollen almost completely shut and the left side of her jaw was blue and yellow with bruising. She also has numerous scratches and told of living in a car over a month and of being beaten and not allowed to leave for the past week.

32-year-old James Franklin “Bubba” Gilbert III of 22 Creekwood Drive, Fountain Inn was initially arrested on a charge of Possession of Less than One Gram of Meth or Cocaine Base, 2nd Offense. A warrant states he was in possession of less than one ounce of ICE, and has a prior conviction for this.

Meanwhile, additional charges were served yesterday regarding an alleged kidnapping and assault over a seven day period. James Franklin Gilbert III was charged with Kidnapping, Domestic Assault of a High and Aggravated Nature and Possession of a Weapon during a Violent Crime.

Deputy Tyler Hunter states that one James Franklin Gilbert III did unlawfully confine, kidnap or abduct the victim in Laurens County by refusing to allow her to leave, holding her against her will between July 3rd and 10th. Deputy Hunter states that between those dates Mr. Gilbert committed Domestic Violence of a High and Aggravated Nature by beating the victim about her face and body with a baseball bat, by choking her so that she became unconscious, causing great bodily injury. These injuries reportedly occurred during a span of seven days while the victim was being held against her will.

During the seven days Mr. Gilbert allegedly possessed and displayed what appeared to be a baseball bat during the commission a violent crime.

James Franklin Gilbert III remained in the Laurens County Detention Center overnight, awaiting a bond hearing today.

Charges Pending from Overnight Arrest

Laurens City Police arrested a man overnight who was being held for drug charges here. The Sheriff’s Drug-Dog “Diesel” responded to the scene of the arrest on Fleming Street at 12:15 this morning. Laurens Police had reportedly approached the man due to his being listed as wanted by Spartanburg law enforcement. Now, he’s being held in the Laurens County Detention Center for charges from Laurens City Police.

Thanks for Help Following Thursday Night Storm in Clinton

Clinton City Manager Frank Stovall expressed appreciation for help the city received from neighboring utility systems, following last Thursday night’s severe thunderstorm. In a Saturday morning facebook post, Stovall said he was “very, very, very thankful to see crews from the Laurens Commission of Public Works, City of Union, City of Newberry and the City of Rock Hill come rolling into our city” Friday evening to finish repairing the system damage from Thursday’s storm. The City Manager noted that many of Clinton’s employees had worked the maximum allowable hours in a city emergency, which is 24 hours straight with no rest period.

Stovall noted that then another, lesser storm hit Friday night with more trees down and lines down. He said “tucks had to roll. And so they did. Water and sewer workers and public safety personnel helped these out-of-town teams find their way, and your power was restored by our partner PMPA cities.” Frank Stovall said thanks to crews from Laurens, Newberry, Union and Rock Hill and to the PMPA for coming to Clinton’s aid.

Night-Time Burglary of Business

Laurens City Police made an arrest early yesterday following an overnight break-in of a business. 61-year-old Steve Allen Rogers of 221 Church Street, Laurens was charged with Burglary 2nd Degree and Resisting Arrest. A warrant cites the investigation of Sgt. Charles Simmons as indicating that the defendant forced entry into a business at 216 Fleming Street during the night-time hours Sunday morning with intent to commit a crime therein. A second warrant states that Rogers then resisted arrest on Hunter’s Court yesterday morning by refusing to stop for law enforcement officers, refusing to put his hands behind his back during arrest and repeatedly refusing to comply with demands of the officers.  While a $10,000 cash or surety bond was set on the Resisting Arrest warrant, bond was denied on the 2nd Degree Burglary charge. Steve Allen Rogers remained in the Laurens County Detention Center today.

Financial Aid Workshop for PTC Tuesday at Higher Ed Center

Starting tomorrow, Piedmont Technical College is hosting a series of financial aid workshops designed to help college bound students understand the options that are available to them to make college more affordable. These events will be held throughout the month of July at all of the college’s campuses.

“A great amount of financial aid is available each year. Students just need to apply,” said Missy Perry, financial aid director at Piedmont Technical College. These workshops are to help students navigate the financial aid process, which can be complicated. Counselors will also inform students about available grant, scholarship and loan programs.

The workshops last form 10:00 am until 6:00. The first is tomorrow (July 12th) at the Laurens County Higher Education Center. Additional workshops are scheduled for Wednesday at the Newberry County Campus and Thursday in Saluda County. They’ll continue the following Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday in Abbeville, McCormick and Edgefield. Financial aid assistance is also available at the Lex Walters-Greenwood campus any weekday during regular business hours.

Altercation Following Text in Church

Clinton Public Safety was dispatched to Bailey Street at 1:40 Sunday afternoon on report of a domestic assault in progress. An anonymous caller had reported hearing a male and female yelling at each other and children crying in the house. Hearing children crying and what sounded like someone being pushed down, Officer Chris Wilkes went to the door and announced Police presence. Children reportedly met him at the door saying he was not wanted inside. Once inside officers separated the two adults and talked with them. The woman was reportedly upset about neighbors calling police regarding their personal matter. Officers were advised an altercation developed after the woman texted her boyfriend about wanting him to leave, as they were in church that morning. After investigation the matter, officers arrested the girlfriend. 28-year-old Zakiya Nushana Davis of 611 Bailey Street, Clinton was charged with Domestic Violence 2nd Degree. In the warrant, Officer Wilkes states that on July 10th the defendant committed 2nd Degree Domestic Violence by striking the victim on the left and right arm and about his chest, causing apparent injuries. Officer Wilkes adds that children the defendant and victim have in common witnessed the assault at 611 Bailey Street.

With a cash or surety bond set at $3,000, Zakiya N. Davis remained in the Laurens County Detention Center this morning.

Bad Banking Behavior?  

Laurens City Police Friday responded to a disturbance at a bank on the Laurens Public Square. At the scene they arrested 42-year-old John David Wix of 4094 Highway 221 South, Laurens. He was later served with a warrant charging Public Disorderly Conduct. Officer Gainey states that Mr. Wix caused a disturbance at United Community Bank by yelling and becoming physically aggressive with bank employees. Wix was released on a $257 PR bond.

Severe Storms Strike

Uprooted Tree

Uprooted Tree

A severe thunderstorm struck Clinton around 9:30 last night, bringing down numerous trees and causing large-scale power outages. Clinton City Manager Frank Stovall said city personnel immediately returned to duty, responding to emergency calls. Stovall said that power was restored to approximately 1/3rd of customers by 1:00 this morning and crews continued working this morning to restore service to others still without power.

By daybreak most power was restored, mostly except for some isolated cases.

We learned of damage to four homes in Clinton during the storm last night.

Tree through ceiling

Tree through ceiling

On South Broad below PC a tree reportedly did extensive damage when it crashed into a house. The resident was fortunately not injured.  A car it also fell on was expected to be totally damaged. One mobile home in Clinton had a tree come through the roof. Its occupants had to crawl out. Minor injuries were reported.

Tree on car

Tree on car

While most streets were opened by daybreak, Public Safety Director Robin Morse urged drivers to watch for debris still in the street. He also cautioned people about downed lines, noting some may still be dangerous.

While many traffic lights were out overnight because of the major power outage in Clinton, some took time to resume proper operation after power was restored. The traffic light at the major intersection of Broad Street and Carolina Avenue was not operating properly for a few hours, and the lights warning of an oncoming trail were operating continuously at the North Broad and West Carolina crossings. Chief Morse indicated those lights had been corrected by around 7:00 this morning.

City Manager Stovall said that crews worked through the night to restore power and open streets and asked for the public to be patient with debris removal. He said that it could take a week to get all the debris had been removed from streets hauled off.

Outside Clinton other damage included downed trees on Leesville Church Road, up Highway 308 and even on I-385. Wattsville apparently had more damage that inside Laurens, although there were some trees downed there.

Damage to the Gray Court area last night appeared to be mostly limited to trees being downed.

The Laurens area reportedly had a tree crash into at least one house, but inside Laurens damage was much less than in Clinton. CPW General Manager John Young said there were several power outages in the Wattsville area and that power was out in the East Main circuit in Laurens for about an hour, following the storm. Crews from the CPW and the Laurens Streets Department worked through the night clearing streets. West Main in Downtown Laurens was one area where a tree came down across the street.

Some four or five hours before the storm hit Clinton last night, an earlier thunderstorm ravaged Whitmire. Lots of trees were down there and there were also large power outages.