Measles in Spartanburg County

DHEC reported yesterday they’re now investigating a case of measles in neighboring Spartanburg County. DHEC is carrying out measures to prevent the spread of the highly contagious disease. For parents with young children who need to be vaccinated, DHEC is hosting a Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) vaccine clinic today at the Inman WIC Clinic located on South Howard Street, Inman. Today’s vaccine clinic will run from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.  No appointments are necessary for the free vaccine. Children under 16 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

DHEC states that measles is especially dangerous for infants and young children. It is recommended children get two doses of the MMR vaccine, the first at 12 to 15 months and a booster dose at 4 to 6 years of age (before starting 5K).  Adults born after 1957 who have not been vaccinated are also recommended to be vaccinated with one dose.

More information about measles is available on the websites of DHEC and the CDC:

Rabid Cat Near Gaffney

Two people have been exposed to Rabies from an Upstate cat. South Carolina DHEC yesterday said that two people have been referred to their health care providers after being potentially exposed to rabies by a cat that tested positive for the disease.

The potential exposures occurred last Friday when the victims were bitten by the stray cat near the Town of Gaffney. The stray cat, a small short-haired calico, was submitted to DHEC’s laboratory for testing and on Tuesday, October 29th, it was confirmed to have rabies.

David Vaughn of DHEC said “Rabies is usually transmitted through a bite which allows saliva from an infected animal to be introduced into the body of a person or another animal. However, saliva or neural tissue contact with open wounds or areas such as the eyes, nose, or mouth could also potentially transmit rabies.”

More information about rabies is available on the websites of DHEC and the CDC:

Child Endangerment

A Laurens County woman arrested in Laurens Wednesday night has been charged with endangering her child. She was issued tickets by Laurens Police Lt. David Brewer charging her with Driving under the Influence and Driving under Suspension of her license between 9:35 and 9:45 Wednesday night. A third ticket charges her with Child Endangerment from that incident. She remained in the Johnson Detention Center this morning with bonds totaling $2,639.

Arrest Alleges Night-Time Burglary

A night-time home burglary this past summer was alleged with an arrest by the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office last night. A warrant charging 1st Degree Burglary was served on 29-year-old David Dale Arrington of 566 Pasture Drive, Gray Court. In the warrant, Deputy Turner states that during nighttime hours on July 29th Arrington entered a dwelling on Barnyard Road, Gray Court without consent and with intent to commit a crime therein.

David Dale Arrington was being held overnight, awaiting a bond hearing today.

Stolen Firearm & Intent to Distribute

Drug Possession with Intent to Distribute and Possession of a Stolen firearm Tuesday were both alleged by Laurens Police on a man jailed early Wednesday morning. 23-year-old Deandre Hakeem Lee of 112 Apex Street, Laurens was charged with 2nd Offense Possession of a Schedule II Narcotic and Possession of a Stolen Pistol.

An investigation of Sgt. Alexander is cited in a warrant stating that Lee possessed a schedule II Narcotic with intent to distribute by having in his possession round, blue pills that were identified as a schedule 2 narcotic at 112 Apex Street in Laurens on October 30th. On the same date, Lee is accused of knowingly possessing a stolen handgun, described as a Bersa S.A. Thunder .380 plus caliber, allegedly discovered during a lawful traffic stop at 112 Apex Street.

With bonds totaling $50,000 on the two charges, Deandre Hakeem Lee remained in custody this morning.

Pastors Become “Principal for the Day”

Eleven local religious leaders joined the Laurens County School District 55 principals and the superintendent Tuesday as they stepped into the shoes of a school administrator in the district’s “Principal for a Day” program.

School Superintendent Dr. Stephen Peters described this as “A wonderful opportunity to bring local clergy into our schools to see what goes on from an insider’s perspective.” Peters noted a lot of similarities between work in the schools and work of the clergy.

Tuesday’s “Principals for the Day” included Rev. Richard Aiken of New China Baptist Church at E. B. Morse Elementary School; Rev. Robert Cathcart, Jr. of Friendship Presbyterian Church at Gray Court-Owings School; Rev. Dr. Bryant Cheek of Springfield Baptist Church at Sanders Middle School; Rev. Herbert Glenn of Laurel Hill Baptist Church at Waterloo Elementary School; Rev. Alex Henderson of Chestnut Ridge Baptist Church at Hickory Tavern School; Rev. Dr. Johnny L. Johnson of White Plains Baptist Church at Laurens Prep Academy; Rev. David Kennedy of New Beginning Missionary Baptist Church in the District Office, Rev. Rickey Letson of Laurens First Baptist Church at Laurens Middle School; Rev. Mike McCracken of Laurens First Presbyterian Church at Laurens Elementary School; Rev. Michael McMillion of Bethel Baptist Church at Laurens District High School and Rev. Roland Sigman of Poplar Spring AME Church at Ford Elementary School.

After spending time in their assignments Tuesday morning, each “Principal for the Day” met for a luncheon in the District Office to share some of their insights. A news release reports the essence of their comments acknowledged a heightened safety awareness, recognition of the transition from paper and pencil to Chromebooks and from card catalogs to computer directories along with the various roles embraced by a school administrator.

Rev. McCracken summed up saying, “The work principals do, looks a lot like what ministers do.” Rev. Kennedy suggested, “The school district may be doing more than the churches in bringing the community together.”

Superintendent Peters closed by announcing creation of a “Community Pastoral Commission” that would meet monthly to support and promote the common goals that the school district and the faith-based community share.


Clinton Arbor Day Event Postponed

Forecasts of rain and even a possibility of storms moving through our area tomorrow afternoon are cited in an announcement that Clinton’s Arbor Day celebration is being postponed. Mary Wallace Riley stated that with all the work and dedication that has gone into this year’s Arbor Day celebration and also because the event is to be a celebration of the TD Green Streets Grant being received by the City of Clinton, the postponement was deemed the best option.

The event had been scheduled to be held at Pine Haven Park and was to include participation with the group Clinton Arbor along with the Clinton High FFA, Clinton Middle School Beta Club along with the Arbor Day Foundation, TD Green Streets and the Laurens County Soil and Water Conservation District.

Ms. Riley said that the event will be rescheduled in consultation with TD Bank, sponsor of the Green Streets Grant.

Abandoning Children Alleged

A Laurens man was arrested yesterday on charges that he abandoned his children last month. Laurens City Police charged 38-year-old John David Pendleton Owens of 309 Exchange Street, Laurens with four counts of Unlawful Neglect of Children.

Detective Bryant Cheeks states that on October 19th Owens committed unlawful conduct towards his child by leaving a five-year-old and a three-year-old child without parental supervision. He’s accused of placing each of the two children at unreasonable risk of harm and jeopardizing the child’s safety by leaving his child on the side of Exchange Drive, between 215 and 305 Exchange Drive.

In other warrants, Detective Cheek alleges that Owens left his eight and ten-year-old children alone, without parental supervision by abandoning them at Brownlee City Park at 194 Brownlee drive.

Bonds were set on the four charges totaling $20,000. John David Pendleton Owens remained in custody this morning.

Domestic Assault Last May

A man’s assault on a woman back in May was alleged with a warrant served yesterday. Laurens City Police charged 28-year-old Brandon Renee Stephens with Domestic Violence 2nd Degree. He was booked with an address on East Florida Street, Clinton, but the warrant noted an address this past Spring on Cora Street in Laurens. The warrant cites an investigation by Laurens Master Patrolman Brent Rushing as indicated that on May 26th Stephens committed the crime of Domestic Violence 2nd Degree. He is accused of this by biting the victim on the finger, slapping her on the face and pushing her to the ground, causing injuries to her right leg and right arm. Stephens also is accused of taking her cell phone, preventing her from calling 911 and refusing to let her leave the residence. The warrant also states they have a child in common. The assault is alleged to have occurred at Stephen’s Cora Street residence.

With a cash or surety bond set at $50,000, Brandon Renee Stephens remained in the Johnson Detention Center this morning.

Four Charged with Possession of Stolen Car

Four Ware Shoals area residents were charged with possession of a stolen car this week on Tuesday, in warrants served by the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office yesterday. All four had been arrested Tuesday and held for the charges. Charged with Receiving Stolen Goods were 43-year-old Richard Lee Edmonds of 41 Honea Path Street and 45-year-old Larry Richard Reece Jr. of 17 Wood Street along with 50-year-old Jerry Lee Watts Jr. and 48-year-old Terrie Timmerman Watts, both of 10404 Indian Mound Road.

Receiving Stolen Goods warrants served on all four yesterday cite an investigation of Deputy Nations as indicating that o October 30th each of the four co-defendants was in possession of a 1998 Chevrolet valued at $2,000 or less, knowing at the time that the property was stolen, or having reason to believe the property to be stolen.

Cash or surety bonds were set at $2,000 for each defendant. All four remained in the Johnson Detention Center this morning.

9 Years for Firing into a House – Again

A jury was selected Monday and, yesterday, trial was to begin for a man accused of Attempted Murder and Discharging a Firearm into a Laurens County Dwelling last year. Instead, 28-year-old Randall Moore of 5312 Todd Quarter Road, Waterloo entered guilty pleas on all charges except the one of Attempted Murder. That charge accused him of attempting to kill a victim by on August 26th, 2017. Charges he pled guilty to were Discharging a Firearm into a Dwelling on Robinson Road that date and Possession of a Firearm in a Violent Crime. In a plea deal, the Attempted Murder charge was dropped.

Prior to sentencing, Deputy Solicitor Dale Scott, told Judge Don Hocker that Randall Moore “had a loaded 38 special with live rounds and shot 15 times into a home where small children lived.” Scott added, “Thank goodness no one was hurt, and the children were not home at the time, but back on March 24th, 2015 he was arrested for the same charge, and then another charge 5 months later.” Scott spoke of the inability to keep guns out of the defendant’s hands. Of the incident leading to the charges before the court, the prosecutor said, “It seems that this situation began as an argument which may have started at the square, there may have been drinking and it continued into a fight, which Moore was the loser and he may have sought revenge by shooting into the home of the victim.”

Randall Moore was accompanied by his attorney, Richard Harold Warder of Greenville, who told Judge Hocker, “Although I support the second amendment, my client has a fascination with guns.” The defense attorney added that his client needs to prove to the community that he is not, as the prosecution calls him, a gunslinger.” Warder suggested he’d like to see his client receive a sentence with community service where he could be checked for gun possession, noting that without guns, booze or a fight, we would not be here.”

The defense added, “My client has children and a job working in the lawn care business. He is a good father, I have seen many like him who have changed and turned their life around!”

Facts presented to Judge Hocker before sentencing included a record of two arrests for Illegal Carrying of weapons and that Moore is already on probation for a 2nd Degree Burglary.

Addressing the defendant regarding having the charge of Attempted Murder dropped, Judge Don Hocker said, “You dodged a big bullet.” He added, “I tend to agree with your defense attorney that people can change. Some do, but up to this point in time it has not been you. I sincerely hope that you do change. What concerns me is that you have already committed this type of crime before, I don’t know what it is going to take to get you to understand the error of your ways. All I can do is keep you where the community will be safe, so I sentence you to 9 years with credit for 235 days served.”

Father-Daughter Incest Alleged

The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office recently received a report from DSS regarding a potential sex abuse incident. A 20-year-old woman had given birth to a child and evidence indicated she had been impregnated by her biological father. The child later died at a medical facility in Charleston.

A Sheriff’s investigation reportedly determined that the woman and her father had been in a consensual relationship. Monday, October 22nd the daughter, 20-year-old Kathlyn Edwards, was arrested and charged with Incest. A warrant stated that she had carnal intercourse with her father. She was later released on a $1,000 bond. Last week, the Sheriff’s Office indicated that the father was incarcerated in another county on unrelated charges, but that on release there, he would be transferred to the Johnson Detention Center.

Yesterday, 38-year-old James Travis Brown of 55 Wham Lawn Road, Gray Court was delivered to the Laurens County facility and he was also charged with Incest. Sheriff’s Investigator Michael Polson states that between December 1st, 2017 and May 1st, 2018 in Laurens County, Brown had carnal intercourse with his biological daughter. His bond was also set at $1,000. Brown remained in the Johnson Detention Center this morning.

In a statement on this case last week, Sheriff Don Reynolds said, “It is beyond my comprehension how this could take place between a father and daughter. At this time, I can’t confirm the baby died from complications related to incest, however we wonder if that’s the case. We are working with medical professionals and the Solicitor’s Office regarding that aspect of the investigation and will update everyone if there are any additional charges.”

Traffic Deaths Up Locally & Statewide

The South Carolina Department of Public Safety yesterday announced that six people died over the weekend from traffic accidents. That brings the total highway fatalities for the year to 840 people. That’s up from 820 on the same date in 2017.

Neighboring Spartanburg County has the highest number of traffic fatalities in the state, with 61 deaths as of midnight Sunday night. Greenville is among a few counties with over 50 fatalities. 54 were recorded through this past weekend. Anderson County has 39 recorded as of October 28th.

State Public Safety has the Laurens County highway death tool at 30, which doesn’t include an ATV accident on a rural roadway this year. At the same date last year, Laurens County had 26, while there were just 13 the same date in 2016.

Of the 840 traffic deaths across the state, 582 were deaths of motor vehicle occupants while 126 were pedestrians. 88 of this years’ traffic deaths were motorcyclists and 17 were bicyclists.

Dale Gilbert Talks Weather at Laurens Middle

All sixth-grade students at Laurens Middle School were excited to have a recent visit from WYFF’s meteorologist Dale Gilbert. These students have all been working on their weather units in their science classes. Mr. Gilbert shared information about his career and his work with channel 4. Students enjoyed answering questions about weather terms and weather instruments that the meteorologist presented to them.

Pictured, left to right, are Principal Anna Brink and Meteorologist Dale Gilbert along with students Mateo Hernandez; Abby Clare Martin; Baylan Harlan; Kiara Robinson, and Caleen Grant.


Assault in Presence of Child

A Hickory Tavern resident is accused of assaulting his domestic partner yesterday. 40-year-old James Dorroh Hairston IV of 14267 Highway 76 West, Gray Court was charged with 2nd Degree Domestic Violence. A warrant citing an investigation of Deputy Atwood indicates that on October 30th Hairston rushed the victim, grabbed her by the throat and constricted her airway. This assault was allegedly accomplished in the presence of a child. With a cash or surety bond set at $15,000, James Dorroh Hairston IV remained in the Johnson Detention Center this morning.

Domestic Assault Sentence

Prior to hearing a plea from a man whose trial was to begin yesterday, Judge Don Hocker heard a plea on a Domestic Violence case in General Sessions Court. 29-year-old Walter Alan Grover 13,952 Highway 560, Cross Hill, pled to 3rd Degree Domestic Violence. Grover was sentenced to 90 days, time served, and ordered to pay court costs within 90 days. Grover also pled to entering premises after warning and refusing to leave on request. Judge Hocker sentenced him to 30 days, time served on that case.

A narcotics possession charge was dropped.

Failure to Show

As the second week for the current term of Laurens County General Sessions Court is underway in Hillcrest Square, the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office yesterday booked a man on Bench Warrants issued during a June term of court.

47-year-old Jeffery Dean Stamey of 730 South Line Street Extension, Greer was served with four Bench Warrants. They state that he failed to appear in Laurens County Court on June 29th of 2018 to face charges of 3rd or Subsequent Offense, Driving under Suspension, of being an Habitual Offender for Driving under Suspension along with charges of Speeding and Giving False Information to Law Enforcement. Jeffery Dean Stamey is being held, awaiting a new opportunity to appear before a Judge in court.

Criminal Sexual Conduct Sentence

A case of Criminal Sexual Conduct from several years ago was before the judge yesterday in Laurens County General Sessions Court. 21-year-old Michael Alex Knight of 3342 Warrior Creek Church Road, Gray Court pled guilty to 2nd Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct with a Minor, with a victim who was between 11 and 14 years of age. Judge Don Hocker sentenced Knight to 15 years, giving him credit for 598 days already spent in jail.

Before the defense-requested sentence of 15 years was handed down, Public Defender Scarlet Bell Moore told Judge Hocker, “This case is heartbreaking, my client had a rough go, he was on drugs since 11, both parents died, hope that both parties will heal.”

In accepting the guilty plea on the Criminal Sexual Conduct charge, charges that were dismissed included Possession of Less than One Gram of Meth or Cocaine Base and Possession of Other Controlled Substance.

Trial Today on Attempted Murder Case

A trial for an Attempted Murder charge is expected to get underway today in Hillcrest Square. 28-year-old Randall Sherodrick Moore of 5312 Todd Quarter Road, Waterloo is charged with the attempted murder of a man on August 26th of 2017. He’s also charged with Possession of a Weapon during a Violent Crime and with Discharging a Firearm into a Dwelling on Robinson Road.

A jury for the trial was seated yesterday.


Cause of Death Issued in Saturday Murder

The Laurens County Coroner’s Office has issued a ruling on the cause of death in the murder case from this past Saturday. 26-year-old Sergio Mandez Lindsey of Greenville was reportedly found with stabbing injuries on Easy Road, south of Laurens. Following an autopsy being conducted in Greenville yesterday, Laurens County Chief Deputy Coroner Vickie Cheek stated that Mr. Lindsey died of a stab bound to the chest.

The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office arrested 31-year-old Lutavious Denard Elmore of 218 Spring Street, Laurens Saturday and charged him with Murder in connection with the death of Sergio Lindsey. Mr. Elmore remains in Laurens County’s Johnson Detention Center, with no bond granted on the murder charge.