Cotton Mills and Cowboy Music Tonight

Laurens musician and music historian Hunter Holmes presented a program showcasing “Mill Hill Music” of the early 20th century. In the program at the Laurens County Library, he included comments of musicians in our local area and others from mill villages in neighboring states.

Tonight, Holmes is back in action and joined by another performer as they add a look at Cowboy music. The Fountain Inn Museum features Hunter Holmes and Bob Bovee in a presentation called “Cotton Mills and Cowboys.” It’s part of the museum’s “Hooked on History” speaker series. Doors open at 7:00 this evening for this event at the Fountain Inn Museum at 102 Depot Street, Downtown Fountain Inn. Admission is free.

Sex Offender Violation

The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office yesterday booked 55-year-old Michael Earl Ruff of 705 Fleming Street, Laurens on a Charge of a Sex Offender Registry violation from the first of this year. Lt. Marty Crain Jr. states that on January 3rd one Michael Earl Ruff failed to contact the Sheriff’s Office to register as a sex offender, as required by law, and that the defendant has a prior conviction for this offense. Michael Earl Ruff was released on a $2,500 personal recognizance bond.

Traffic Charges & False Info to Law Enforcement

The Sheriff’s Office arrested a Simpsonville woman Tuesday on multiple traffic charges and was also charged with Giving False Information to Law Enforcement.  Charged was 38-year-old Stephanie Ann Chappell of 200 Bryson Drive, Simpsonville. In addition to the False Information charge, Deputy Turner also issued tickets charging Ms. Chappell with Driving under Suspension of her license, with having Open Beer or Wine in a Vehicle, with an Uninsured Vehicle Violation and with Operating or Allowing Operation of a Vehicle that should not be driven on a roadway. Ms. Chappell was to f ace arraignment yesterday.

She Thought She was in the Bathroom?

Clinton Public Safety Officer Beaman responded to a burglary report late Tuesday morning. A maintenance worker for the apartment complex reported that he found a woman he had never seen before inside his supply room. He said this woman doesn’t live in that complex. The woman said that she was cleaning the supply room that she had initially thought was a bathroom.

As the woman exited that room on the officer’s command he noticed a staple gun in her pocketbook. After getting her consent, he examined the pocketbook and reportedly found tools from the supply room with a total value of $200. After seeing the stolen tools, the maintenance worker stated that he did not wish to press charges, but that he did want the woman placed on a trespass restriction. Officer Beaman then filled out a trespass notice form and advised the woman that if she returned to the location, she would be arrested for breaking the notice.

Theft While Resident was in the Back Yard

Clinton Public Safety responded to a report of stolen money earlier this week. When Officer Mercer arrived at the scene Monday, a woman there asked him to speak with her male companion about the matter. This man reported he had been inside their residence the previous day, and his cigarettes and wallet were near the front door. He said he decided to walk outside to check on some backyard appliances. After being out of the house for 15 or 20 minutes, he came back inside and discovered that his cigarettes and wallet were gone. He said the wallet contained ID cards including a social security card and an insurance card, along with $400.

After the man gave his statement, his female complainant advised officer Mercer that this was not the first suspicious act. She said that last week someone had kicked in her back door.

Attempted Murder for Cross Hill Stabbing

A Cross Hill man was arrested yesterday on charges he stabbed a Chappells man multiple times in an incident last month. The suspect had been sought after the Sheriff’s Office was called to Shealy Circle, Cross High on January 24th and deputies observed a male in his mid-20’s with multiple stab wounds about his body. Yesterday, 32-year-old James Morgan Hill of 2814 Harris Springs Road, Cross Hill was charged with Attempted Murder and with Use of a Weapon in a Violent Crime. Officer Dwayne Richey states that on January 24th James Morgan Hill attempted to murder the victim by stabbing and cutting him multiple times, causing great bodily injury that required the victim to seek medical treatment. Mr. Hill is also accused of willfully possessing and displaying what appeared to be a knife during the commission of a violent crime. Bond was denied on both the Attempted Murder and the Weapons charge. James Morgan Hill remained in the Laurens County Detention Center this morning.

Laurens High Student Facing Adult Charges

A juvenile Laurens District 55 High School Coed is being charged with Assault and Battery of a High and Aggravated Nature and with Bringing a Weapon onto School Property, following an incident yesterday morning in a gym prior to the start of school. Laurens County Chief Deputy Jarvis Reeder said that due to the nature of the crime, the juvenile female will be charged as an adult. Reeder said a Student Resource Officer’s preliminary investigation determined that the female subject had injured one student by causing a non-life-threatening puncture to this female’s upper left arm as she was pursuing another female. The LDHS School Nurse reportedly determined no stitches were needed after examining the puncture wound.

A second release from District 55 Administration yesterday stated that at approximately 7:45 in the morning a female student in possession of a knife came out of the bleachers in pursuit of another student. The student victim was in the proximity of the two girls and was slightly injured by the knife when the assailant rushed past her in pursuit of the other student. The subject and the female being chased reportedly ran quickly from one side of the gym to the other, where a teacher was able to capture the assailant. The girl who was cut when the assailant ran past her was treated by the school nurse.

A video reportedly taken by one of the many students awaiting the start of school was distributed through social media and was later broadcast on local TV news reports. It showed the chase around the gym, and the teacher tackling the assailant, preventing assault on her intended victim.

The District 55 statement said that the student being charged was transported to DJJ and was being held to await a bond hearing.

Superintendant Peters and other district office personnel were on hand at the high school throughout the remainder of the day to ensure the safety and tranquility of the school environment. Dr. Peters said “There has been a great deal of misinformation spread through social media and some erroneous news reports. We want to make sure our community has all the facts regarding the incident.” District spokesperson, Ed Murray, said “We are continuing to investigate the situation to determine who might have known about the potential for the occurrence. We depend upon our students and parents to come forth when or if they hear about situations that might develop. This gives us a chance to be proactive in responding to potential conflicts.”

Police Seize Illegal Tattoo Parlor Equipment

Laurens City Police reported discovering an illegal tattoo parlor in town this week. Officers went to a residence early Monday afternoon looking for a wanted man. As they were being told that man wasn’t present, officers reportedly smelled Marijuana. They obtained a search warrant and on entering, reportedly discovered a full-scale tattoo operation. After obtaining a second search warrant, they reportedly seized a tattoo bed, armrest, tattoo guns and driver, a bio hazard sharp needle container, needles, and even a vinyl sign promoting, “J-Mac Tattooing.” A man was charged with Illegal Tattoo in and with Operating a Business without a License.



Arrest in Downtown Clinton Burglary

Clinton Public Safety yesterday arrested a suspect in a night-time burglary of a Downtown Store last fall. 42-year-old Richard Lee “Rick” Clark Jr. of Apt 36 at 100 Elizabeth Street, Clinton is charged with Burglary 2nd Degree.

Detective Tyrone Goggins states that during the night-time hours between the dates of November 29th and 30th, 2016 Richard Lee Clark Jr. unlawfully broke into Wilson’s Curb Market at 210 West Main Street with intent to deprive the rightful owner of property therein. “Rick” Clark Jr. was being held overnight, pending a bond hearing.


Car Theft….14 Years Ago

The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office yesterday charged a Union County resident with a car theft here almost 14 years ago. 59-year-old James Dennis Burrell of Jonesville was charged with Breach of Trust with Fraudulent Intent. He was served with a warrant from 2003 that states he received a 1973 Dodge van in trust February 28th, 2003 on Holly Grove Church Road, east of Laurens, with fraudulent intent to deprive the owner of the $1,500 value vehicle. The warrant shows a 2003 address in Campobello.

James Dennis Burrell was being held overnight, pending a bond hearing.



Man, Woman Charged with Mutual Assault

Laurens Police Officer Sellers reported finding a man on the front porch early yesterday morning with the left sleeve of his shirt covered in blood…..this after the officer had been dispatched to Mock Street at 4:23 A.M. The man and his girlfriend inside the house reported told different versions of the events at that residence. Officers noted both appeared to be extremely intoxicated. EMS was called to the scene. Officers also noted children were present in the house and had witnessed the events.

24-year-old Elijah Matthew Brewington and 25-year-old Alysa Jamel Miller, both of 117 Mock Street, Laurens, were arrested and each was charged with Domestic Violence 2nd Degree for mutual assaults.

The warrant for Mr. Brewington alleges that he grabbed Ms. Miller, threw her on the ground and placed his hands around her neck, depriving her of air. A warrant served on Ms. Miller accuses her of using a knife to cut Brewington on his left bicep during a drunken argument between the two in the Mock Street residence they share as boyfriend and girlfriend.

Alysa Jamel Miller remained in custody overnight with a $5,000 cash or surety bond. Elijah Matthew Brewington was released yesterday after posting a $5,000 cash or surety bond.

Details of Purifying Water for Consumption

Water, water everywhere but it should be treated before you drink. The process of treating water involves a lot of steps, including discussion at this week’s Clinton City Council Meeting. City Manager Frank Stovall asked council to approve the purchase of water treatment chemicals from companies based in Duncan here in the Upstate and from companies in North Carolina, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The chemicals include liquid chlorine, liquid alum, lime slurry and sodium silica fluoride.  The purchase agreements presented are projected to supply the necessary chemicals for a 12 month period.

Council Member Danny Cook asked why this purchase is brought before council each year when other purchases, like office supplies, are not. Stovall explained that the City Manager has purchase authority up to $40,000 and this purchase is very near that amount.  Should any additional chemicals be used it would probably exceed his purchase authority and would have to be brought before council anyway.  He did say that other cities sometimes allow their city managers to proceed on similar routine purchases without approval from the city council and he’d be happy to handle this purchase either way.

As for this year, council unanimously voted to approve the purchases as presented.

Grand Larceny of Auto

Clinton Public Safety yesterday served a Grand Larceny charge on a local man in connection with a car theft this past October. Officer Brian Beaman also issued a ticket charging 19-year-old McKenzie Remel Cunningham Jr. of 58 Beech Street, Clinton with Giving False Information to Law Enforcement at 11:56 yesterday morning on Cedar Street. Cunningham was served with a warrant charging him with theft of a motor vehicle valued at $7,000 between October 16th and 17th in 2016 from Houser Circle in Clinton.

A cash or surety bond on the Grand Larceny of the vehicle charge was set at $20,000. A $500 bond was set on the False Information charge.

Mr. Cunningham was also served with Bench Warrants from Clinton Municipal Court that state he was convicted last July 12th of Reckless Driving and Driving without a License and sentenced on each offense to serving 30 days or paying fines from$236 to $454.

McKenzie Remel Cunningham Jr. remained in the Johnson Detention Center this morning.

Failure to Show for Court on 8 Charges

Eight Bench Warrants from Laurens County General Sessions Criminal Court were served yesterday on 24-year-old Brittney Evon Moore of 209 Autumn Street, Woodruff. These warrants state that Ms. Moore failed to appear in Court November 14th, 2016 to face charges that include four counts of Burglary 2nd Degree and four counts of Petit Larceny. Brittney Evon Moore remained in custody today, pending her next court appearance.



Knife Pulled Prior to Class at Laurens Dist. 55 High School

Three students at Laurens District 55 High School were involved in a fight this morning before the school day started. A release from the District Office states that during the fight, one student reportedly pulled out a knife and cut another student leaving a small cut on the student’s shoulder. The fight was broken up by staff at the high school and the students were taken to the school office for appropriate disciplinary action. The school resource officer (was on hand; but, no other law enforcement was called to the school. Otherwise, the school day was going on with a normal schedule for students.  The news release indicated this was an isolated incident which was still under investigation. The outcome of the investigation will determine the consequences for the students involved. District 55 Spokesperson Ed Murray said that “the district office was notified of the incident and Assistant Superintendent, Dr. George Ward, was dispatched to the school to ensure the safety and tranquility of the school environment. There are no ongoing safety concerns at this time.”

Clinton Council Approves Fire Truck Purchase

Clinton City Council last night voted to replace the 1st Line Rescue Pumper at the Main Fire Station on North Broad. The 2015 Pearce trunk now there will be moved to the Fuller Substation, where it will become the primary pumper truck. One of the Fuller Station’s secondary trucks is not operational, and would cost $56,000 to make it operational.

Three years ago, Clinton City Council voted to institute a program of purchasing new fire engines on a regular basis of roughly every five years, after being told that several pieces of fire apparatus in the city’s inventory were very near the end of their service life.  City Manager Frank Stovall reminded council last night that it was then envisioned that in order to make their truck replacement plan truly work they would need to purchase another fire engine in 2017 or 2018. He reminded council that purchasing a used truck now would be a bridge to carry the city to 2023 when they would begin the every five-year rotation for new trucks.  He told council that the fire apparatus now purchased doesn’t have to be new, just dependable enough for three years of trouble-free operation.

Stovall told council that the Department of Public Safety had been searching for a quality truck since early last year. He explained that needs for equipment are determined by several factors such as call volume and minimum pumping capacity that is determined by ISO.  Clinton needs a truck with pumping capacity of 3,550 gallons per minute.

The truck to be purchase is a 2008 Sutphen combination Rescue Truck/Pumper being sold by the city of Brunswick, New York.  The asking price for the truck is $299,000 for a truck that would sell new at over $600,000.  Stovall said a team went to New York to investigate this truck and they returned with the recommendation to make the purchase. City Council voted 6 to 1 to approve the purchase, with Councilman Jimmy Young casting the lone opposing vote.

Six Arrested Monday on Crack Cocaine Charges

The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office arrested six people yesterday on Cocaine Distribution charges.

One was charged with two offenses. 42-year-old Dedric Lamont Howard of 24 Taylor Drive, Clinton was charged with Distribution of Crack Cocaine and with Possession of Crack Cocaine with Intent to Distribute. One warrant states that on January 25th, 2017 he did distribute, dispense and/or deliver crack cocaine to a confidential informant working undercover with the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office.

Dedric Lamont Howard’s second charge, for Possession of Crack Cocaine with Intent to Distribute, is the same as for the five other suspects. The three men and three women are accused of knowingly possessing Crack Cocaine February 6th with intent to distribute. All are accused of having between one and ten grams of crack cocaine that was in two separate packages.

The other men facing the Possession with Intent charge are 57-year-old Rodney Keith Ginn of 82 Captain Guy Road, Clinton and 27-year-old Keyshadd Martavern Rooks of 24 Taylor Drive, Clinton.

The three women who are accused of Possessing Crack Cocaine yesterday with Intent to Distribute are 46-year-old Patricia Ann Ferguson of Apt. B-3, 201 Elizabeth Street, Clinton, 29-year-old Samantha Ann Smith of 24 Taylor Drive, Clinton and 26-year-old Stephanie Marie Young of 24 Taylor Drive, Clinton. Stephanie Young was booked with a separate address on Duncan Creek Road.

The three men and three women were being held in the Laurens County Detention Center overnight, pending their bond hearings.

Two Face Drug Charges after Traffic Stop

Laurens City Police served drug charges on two people following a traffic stop on East Main at Garlington at 12:57 yesterday morning.

36-year-old Richard Malcolm Bishop III of 299 Quail Rd, Gray Court was issued tickets by Officer Napier charging him with Careless Driving and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia at 12:57 am. A third charge of Possession of Methamphetamines was added with a warrant served later in the day. Sgt. Nolen cites an investigation by Officer Napier as indicating that during a traffic stop the defendant was found to be in possession of less than one gram of methamphetamines. With cash or surety bonds set totaling $10,000 on the three charges, Richard Malcolm Bishop III remained in the Laurens County Detention Center this morning.

48-year-old Stephanie Campbell Allison of 138 Bellview Church Road, Laurens was served with two warrants yesterday charging her with Possession of Methamphetamines and Possession of Heroin. Sgt. Nolan cites the investigation of Officer Napier as indicating that Ms. Allison was found to have both drugs in her possession following the early morning traffic stop. She is accused of having less than one gram of meth as well as less than one gram of heroin. Stephanie Campbell Allison was released yesterday afternoon on cash or surety bonds totaling $10,000.

Drug Charges from March, 2015

The Sheriff’s Office arrested a suspect yesterday with drug charges from March of 2015. 38-year-old James O’Neil Wright of 113 Dragon Trail, Laurens is charged with Possession of Marijuana on March 23rd, 2015 with intent to distribute. He’s also charged with Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Distribute within a half mile of Ford Elementary School.

James O’Neil Wright was being held overnight, with a bond hearing expected today.

He’s Back in Jail Again…

A Wattsville man who was released yesterday from a Sunday arrest on a Public Disorderly Conduct charge was returned to jail yesterday on new charges.  Laurens City Police yesterday arrested 25-year-old Richard Kevin Lee Jr. of 23 Sirrene Street, Laurens on five new charges. Master Patrol Officer Johnson issued tickets yesterday afternoon charging Mr. Lee with Reckless Driving, Driving without a License, Open Container of Beer or Wine, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and with Giving False Information to Law Enforcement. The tickets indicate time of these violations at 4:05 yesterday afternoon on Hillcrest Drive. Richard Kevin Lee Jr. was being held overnight, pending a bond hearing today.