20 Years For Assaulting Detention Officer

A Greenwood man was sentenced Wednesday to the maximum 20 years in prison for his vicious assault on a guard at the Greenwood County Detention Center, 8th Circuit Solicitor David M. Stumbo announced Wednesday.

Tavon Dorsett Morton, 36, pleaded guilty as charged the week before his scheduled jury trial was to begin in February in Greenwood to one count of assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature. Circuit Judge Frank Addy accepted Morton’s plea, but deferred the sentencing until this week at the Newberry County Courthouse. On Wednesday morning, Judge Addy sentenced Morton to the maximum sentence on the ABHAN charge OF 20 years in state prison. Due to the nature of the offense, state law requires that Morton serve a minimum of 85 percent of the sentence and he will not be eligible for parole.

Morton was being held at the Greenwood County Detention Center after having his bond revoked in January 2023 on a number of other charges, including an attempted murder charge which arose from a May 2020 shooting incident.  On August 12, 2023, a detention officer ordered Morton to his cell and, after refusing to do so, Morton began a verbal altercation with the officer. Without provocation, Morton then began striking the officer with a closed fist before picking the guard up and slamming him headfirst onto the hard tile floor of the jail.

The officer immediately lost consciousness and Morton rolled the officer over before removing his taser device and throwing it down the cell block. The officer bled profusely from his head wound and began having seizures while waiting for EMS to arrive. Medical treatment records would later show that the officer could have easily been severely injured or even killed as a result of Morton’s assault.

Deputy Solicitor Yates Brown prosecuted Morton’s case for the State.  After being represented by multiple attorneys during the pendency of his cases, Morton elected to represent himself during the sentencing hearing.

Solicitor Stumbo praised the work of his staff, along with the Greenwood County Sheriff’s Office, in securing the conviction and lengthy prison sentence.

“It is abundantly clear from the video recording of this incident that Tavon Morton has no regard for anyone other than himself,” Solicitor Stumbo said following the sentencing. “We are pleased to see this career criminal get the maximum sentence for this brutal attack and my hope is that his sentence sends a clear message that we have absolutely no tolerence for violence against our brave public servants who are sworn to keep this community safe.”