ABBEVILLE, S.C.; July 20, 2023 – An Abbeville man will spend the next two decades in prison after pleading guilty Tuesday afternoon to charges in connection to a 2022 home invasion and rape, 8th Circuit Solicitor David M. Stumbo announced Wednesday.
Andre Charles Bridges, 59, of Abbeville pleaded guilty Tuesday afternoon at the Abbeville County Courthouse to charges of first-degree burglary and first-degree criminal sexual conduct. Circuit Judge Donald B. Hocker then sentenced Bridges to 20 years in prison. Due to the nature of the offenses, Bridges must serve at least 85 percent of the sentence before being considered for parole.
In March 2022, the victim awoke to get ready for work and found Bridges sitting on the couch in her living room. As she attempted to flee, Bridges chased and caught her, armed with a knife. The victim struggled to get free and Bridges threw her to the floor. The victim was able to fight Bridges off as he began sexually assaulting her. Bridges then fled the home and the victim called 911.
Investigators with the Abbeville County Sheriff’s Office received information that Bridges may have been involved and began trying to locate him. Investigators located Bridges later the same day and, after initially denying involvement, confessed to entering the home, saying he was looking for money and drugs. Bridges never admitted to assaulting the victim while in her home, but the forensic evidence recovered from the scene, including DNA from the rape kit and the other items collected corroborated the victim’s story.
Deputy Solicitor Micah Black handled the case for the state with assistance from 8th Circuit Investigator Chris Wilkie and Victim Advocate Sarah Parris. Bridges was represented by Jane Merrill of the 8th Circuit Public Defender’s Office.
Solicitor Stumbo praised the work of his staff, along with Inv. Mac Gladden formerly of the Abbeville County Sheriff’s Office and Abbeville County Victim Advocate Monique Bell, in securing the conviction and lengthy prison sentence without having the victim testify and relive the trauma of the incident.
“Anytime we are able to secure a conviction and long prison sentence handed to a dangerous predator, without a victim having to relive one of the worst moments of her life on a witness stand, it is a good day in the courtroom,” Solicitor Stumbo said. “It is my prayer that this survivor of sexual assault can continue healing from this horrific event while knowing that her attacker will be behind bars for many years to come.”