Solicitor distributes school supplies

Greenwood, S.C.; August 17, 2018 – Eighth Circuit Solicitor David M. Stumbo continued the tradition of donating school supplies to each school district within the 8th Circuit, which is comprised of Abbeville, Greenwood, Laurens, and Newberry counties.

The supplies are collected from participants in diversion programs, such as Pretrial Intervention, or PTI, and Alcohol Education Program. Participants in the diversion programs can elect to donate school supplies in lieu of a portion of their community service hours.

“This is my favorite part of the PTI program,” said Dale Allen, PTI Director for the 8th Circuit Solicitor’s Office. “It’s a unique opportunity to provide an opportunity for people who have been ‘takers’ to become ‘givers’ and experience that good feeling of helping someone who is less fortunate than you.”

Each year, millions of school children across the nation arrive at school without the supplies they need to learn effectively. According to recent research conducted by Kids in Need Foundation, a nonprofit organization whose stated mission is to provide school supplies for needy children, having access to school supplies led to significant increases in participation, social interaction, homework completion, and self-esteem.

According to Solicitor Stumbo, the school supply donations are at the very heart of his office’s mission.

“The mission of my office is to balance accountability with restorative justice, and the school supple donation program enables program participants to put their lives back on track to being productive, law-abiding citizens,” Solicitor Stumbo said. “What I love about this program is that one act of kindness changes two lives at once. It blesses a child with much-needed school supplies and gives the program participants the opportunity to experience the joy of giving.”

Posted in News | Comments Off on Solicitor distributes school supplies

Prosperity killer sentenced to life in prison for domestic homicide

CLIFTON BOOZER

Newberry, S.C.; August 10, 2018 – Eighth Circuit Solicitor David M. Stumbo announced Friday that a Prosperity man will spend the rest of his life in prison after being convicted of the 2017 killing of his estranged girlfriend.

Clifton Boozer, 40, was found guilty of murder Friday afternoon by a Newberry County jury following a week-long trial at the Newberry County Courthouse. Circuit Judge Frank Addy Jr. then handed down a sentence of life without the possibility of parole.

During the early morning hours of May 3, 2017, Boozer had a cab drop him off at the Prosperity home of his estranged girlfriend, 35-year-old Clatie Stribble. Boozer lay in wait until Stribble’s three children left for school then forced himself into the residence. Once inside the home, Boozer assaulted Stribble, stabbing her in the neck before strangling her to death.

Boozer called 911 and reported the incident. He later gave a statement to law enforcement, but claimed during trial that he acted in self-defense. The jury disagreed and found Boozer guilty of murder.

Boozer and Stribble had sustained an on again, off again relationship for six years before Boozer committed the murder. He had two prior convictions for criminal domestic violence, with Stribble being the victim on one of the convictions. Stribble also had an order of protection against Boozer, though she continued to see Boozer periodically.

Deputy Solicitor Dale Scott and Assistant Solicitor Taylor Daniel handled the case for the state, with assistance from 8th Circuit Investigator Walter Bentley and 8th Circuit Victim Advocate Rhetta Christian. Boozer was represented by Newberry County Public Defender Charles Verner.

Solicitor Stumbo praised the work of his staff and particularly of Lt. Harry Bodiford of the Prosperity Police Department, who was both the first responding officer to the scene and the lead investigator on the case.

“Men like Clifton Boozer have absolutely no place in our community,” Solicitor Stumbo said following the sentencing.  “Instead of loving Clatie and protecting her, he senselessly took a caring woman and devoted mother from her family forever. I hope this sends a message to domestic abusers, who derive pleasure from controlling and terrifying their partners, that we will relentlessly prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law.”

Posted in Newberry County, News | Comments Off on Prosperity killer sentenced to life in prison for domestic homicide

Child molester sentenced to 40 years in prison

Laurens, S.C.; August 3, 2018 – Eighth Circuit Solicitor David M. Stumbo announced Friday that a child molester will spend the next 40 years behind bars after being convicted Friday afternoon by a Laurens County jury.

Michael Cliff Eubanks, 32, of Clinton, was found guilty of one count each of first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor, second-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor, and third-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor following a four-day trial at the Laurens County Courthouse.

Following the verdict, Circuit Judge Frank Addy Jr. immediately sentenced Eubanks to 25 years in prison on the charge of first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor, plus a consecutive 15-year suspended sentence on the charge of second-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor.  Judge Addy also sentenced Eubanks to 15 years in prison on charge of third-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor, with that sentence to run concurrently. Eubanks was sentenced to an additional five years of probation to start when his active, no-parole prison sentence is maxed out.

Over a six-year period, Eubanks repeatedly assaulted a girl under the age of 13. The victim came forward about the abuse in June of 2017.

Deputy Solicitor Dale Scott and Assistant Solicitor Julie Kate Keeney handled the case for the state with assistance from 8th Circuit Investigator Walter Bentley and Victim Advocate Rhetta Christian. Eubanks was represented by Rauch Wise of Greenwood.

Solicitor Stumbo praised the work of his staff along with Inv. Jared Hunnicutt and Inv. Michael Polson of the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office and Kim Little of Gilchrist Consultation and Counseling in securing the conviction and lengthy prison sentence.

“Predators like Michael Eubanks need to be behind bars so they can no longer carve a path of destruction through the lives of children to satisfy themselves,” Solicitor Stumbo said following the sentencing. “I am very proud of this young lady for having the courage to come forward and face her abuser in court. It is my prayer that she can now move forward and put this dark chapter of her life behind her.”

Posted in Laurens County, News | Comments Off on Child molester sentenced to 40 years in prison

Greenwood man sentenced to 40 years in prison for 2016 killing

Demorris Andrews stands in court following his conviction on three charges related to the 2016 shooting death of 57-year-old Barry Warren.

Greenwood, S.C.; July 20, 2018 – Eighth Circuit Solicitor David M. Stumbo announced Friday that a Greenwood man was sentenced to 40 years in prison for the 2016 killing of a man he called a friend.

Demorris Ocswavia Andrews, 27, was found guilty of murder, armed robbery, and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime in connection to the 2016 shooting death of 57-year-old Barry Warren. A Greenwood County jury deliberated for nearly seven hours across two days before returning the guilty verdicts.

Circuit Judge Frank Addy Jr. then sentenced Andrews to 35 years in prison on the murder charge, 30 years in prison on the armed robbery charge, and five years in prison on the possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime charge. The sentences on the murder and armed robbery charges will be served concurrently, while the sentence on the possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime charge will run consecutively.

The sentence on the murder charge must be served day-for-day according to state law.

On October 25, 2016 Andrews went to Warren’s home to rob Warren of drugs and money and shot Warren two times, killing Warren. Multiple witnesses placed Andrews at the scene of the crime and one witness, a former cellmate of Andrews, testified that Andrews confessed to the two were incarcerated together at the Greenwood County Detention Center. During one interview with police, Andrews asked for an autopsy photograph of the victim to hang on his wall.

Assistant Solicitor and Violent Crimes Prosecutor Josh Thomas and Deputy Solicitor Yates Brown handled the case for the state, with assistance from 8th Circuit Investigator Courtney Smith and Victim Advocate’s Mary Ann Stroup and Sarah Parris.

“This is another senseless killing in Greenwood,” Assistant Solicitor Thomas told the court during sentencing. “I hope this sends a message to our community that we are going to prosecute these cases no matter what kind of record the victim has or what part of town they live in.”

Solicitor Stumbo praised the work of his staff, along with Sgt. Blake Moore, Sgt. Matt Blackwell, and Sgt. Wesley McClinton, and former detective Joe Collins of the Greenwood Police Department, for their work in securing the conviction and lengthy prison sentence.

“Our community has suffered enough at the hands of violent killers like Demorris Andrews who have no respect for the sanctity of human life,” Solicitor Stumbo said following the sentencing. “It’s time to end the silence from those who have witnessed these crimes and take the streets of our community back from dangerous, evil people like Andrews.”

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Greenwood man sentenced to 40 years in prison for 2016 killing

Meth cook sentenced to 15 years in prison

WILLIAM ROBERT RICHARDSON SR.

Greenwood, S.C.; June 15, 2018 – Eighth Circuit Solicitor David M. Stumbo announced Friday that a Greenwood County meth cook was sentenced to 15 years in prison after entering a guilty plea just moments before jury selection was to begin in his trial.

William Robert Richardson Sr., 47, changed his plea to guilty Thursday morning just as prosecutors and defense attorneys were ready to begin the process of selecting a jury in his trial. Richardson pleaded guilty to manufacturing methamphetamine, first offense, and threw himself on the mercy of the court. He was initially charged with manufacturing methamphetamine, third offense.

Circuit Judge Donald Hocker then sentenced Richardson to 15 years in prison, the maximum sentence allowed under state law for the crime.

On April 7, 2017, the Greenwood Drug Enforcement Unit executed a search warrant at a residence located in the Greenwood Mill Village. Inside the home was the defendant and his wife. Agents located an active one-pot meth lab as well as all the necessary items to make meth. Agents also located empty bottles with meth sludge indicating additional meth had recently been made, along with additional items used to manufacture meth in the garage of the home.

Assistant Solicitors Wade Dowtin and Julie Kate Keeney handled the case for the state. Richardson was represented by Ivan Toney of the Greenville County Bar.

Solicitor Stumbo praised the work of his staff along with Lt. Jaime Lovett, Sgt. Dyar Archibald, Agent Wesley McClinton and former agent Bryan Louis of DEU in securing the conviction and lengthy prison sentence.

“Though much of the focus has rightfully shifted to the opioid crisis in our country, homespun meth labs continue to destroy families and ravage our communities,” Solicitor Stumbo said following the proceeding. “My office will continue to take the fight to poison pushers like William Robert Richardson until we get it off of our streets.”

Posted in Greenwood County, News | Comments Off on Meth cook sentenced to 15 years in prison

Greenwood man sentenced to 18 years for armed bank robbery

THOMAS ALLEN SMITH

Greenwood, S.C.; June 15, 2018 – Eighth Circuit Solicitor David M. Stumbo announced Friday that a Greenwood man was sentenced to 18 years in prison after being convicted of a 2016 bank robbery.

A Greenwood County jury needed just 13 minutes to deliberate and return a guilty verdict on Thomas Allen Smith, 53, for the 2016 armed robbery of the South State Bank located at 1224 Bypass 72 NE. Circuit Judge Donald Hocker then handed down an 18-year prison sentence to Smith.

On February 18, 2016, a male subject later identified as Smith entered the South State Bank wearing blue overalls with a dark colored hoodie underneath and sunglasses. The armed robber approached the teller in the bank and handed her a note that said he had a bomb and that she was to give him all the money. The teller did what she was told and gave the armed robber what money she had in her drawer at the time, $2,330, and placed the money in a blue bank bag that he brought in with him. The bank bag is where the alleged bomb was located. Once the armed robber had the money, he took the note and left the bank. He fled on foot and then got in a white Volkswagen Passat fleeing the scene.

A picture of the suspect and the white vehicle were posted in the local media and approximately four hours after the incident occurred, a tip was called in that the subject had recently purchased the vehicle used in the armed robbery from Ballentine Ford. The name of Thomas Allen Smith was given as the customer who bought the vehicle and his address was 407 E. Northside Drive, Greenwood.

A search of his home revealed the white Volkswagen Passat, the blue overalls, dark colored hoodie, sunglasses and a fresh burn pile. However, Thomas Allen Smith was not located at the home.

A former employer of Thomas Allen Smith viewed the bank surveillance video and was able to positively identify Smith as the armed robber.

The investigation continued and two days later an anonymous caller gave a tip that the armed robber was seen at the Lil Cricket on Bypass 72. The tipster believed Smith to be at the America’s Best Value Hotel under another name. The Greenwood County SWAT team responded and took Smith into custody.

Deputy Solicitor Yates Brown and Assistant Solicitor Micah Black prosecuted the case for the state with the assistance of 8th Circuit Investigator Chris Wilkie. Smith was represented by Carson Henderson of the Greenwood County Bar.

Solicitor Stumbo praised the work of his staff along with Capt. Mitchell McAlister, Lt. Mike Dixon, Lt. Jaime Lovett, Sgt. Blake Moore, Sgt. William Kay, and Sr. Master Patrolman Wesley McClinton of the Greenwood Police Department, along with Lt. Josh Hood and Det. Whitfield Brooks of the Greenwood County Sheriff’s Office in securing the conviction.

“Bank robberies can have a devastating effect on the feeling of security in a community, from employees of the bank to the average citizen who hears about it and wonders if something like this will happen the next time they are at their own bank,” said Solicitor Stumbo said following the trial. “I cannot say enough about the excellent work of our law enforcement officers and their dogged persistence in bringing Thomas Allen Smith to justice. My office will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with our brothers and sisters in blue to keep our families safe.”

Posted in Greenwood County, News | Comments Off on Greenwood man sentenced to 18 years for armed bank robbery

Georgia man sentenced to 26 years for murder of potential witness

MONTAVIOUS O. PARKS

Greenwood, S.C.; June 4, 2018 – Eighth Circuit Solicitor David M. Stumbo announced Monday that a Georgia man was sentenced to 26 years in prison for his role in the killing of a 21-year-old Greenwood man who was cooperating with police on another crime involving the Georgia man.

Montavious O’neal Parks, 33, of Walton County, Georgia, pleaded guilty Monday morning to voluntary manslaughter in connection to the 2012 shooting death of 21-year-old Tavaris Kiwan Lester. Circuit Judge Frank Addy Jr. accepted the plea and imposed a 26-year negotiated prison sentence.

The case against Parks was scheduled to be called for trial during the June 11 term of court in Greenwood County.

In November 2012, Parks and at least one other individual went to a residence on Moss Creek Lane in Greenwood and fired two shots into the window of the residence, hitting Lester in the back. Officers with the Greenwood Police Department were able to revive Lester at the scene, but Lester succumbed to his injuries a week later at Self Regional Healthcare.

Parks and Lester were involved in an armed robbery incident together in which a person was shot. Lester gave a statement to police about the incident. After Lester provided the statement to police, Parks and another man, Blake Parrish, began looking for Lester. Parrish received a text message from someone inside the Moss Creek Lane residence stating that Lester was at the residence. Parks, during the plea proceeding, asserted that it was Parrish who pulled the trigger. Parrish was charged in connection to Lester’s killing, but died in 2016.

Parks was located just days later in the custody of authorities in Georgia on unrelated assault charges. Parks was released in January of this year and immediately turned over to authorities from Greenwood.

Deputy Solicitor Yates Brown and Assistant Solicitor Josh Thomas handled the case for the state, with assistance from 8th Circuit Investigator Courtney Smith and Victim Advocates Mary Ann Stroup and Sarah Parris. Parks was represented by Montrio Belton of the Abbeville County Bar.

Solicitor Stumbo praised the work of his staff along with Lt. Mike Dixon, Capt. Travis Anderson, and Sr. Master Patrolman Wesley McClinton of the Greenwood Police Department in securing the conviction and lengthy prison sentence for Parks.

“Our community should never become desensitized to the senseless taking of another life, especially when a victim like Kiwan Lester is killed simply for trying to do the right thing,” Solicitor Stumbo said following the sentencing.  “Our folks have worked very hard over the past five years with the city’s investigators to finally bring this dangerous killer to justice, despite major obstacles to prosecution.  My hope is that the Lester family can now finally begin to heal.”

Posted in Greenwood County, News | Comments Off on Georgia man sentenced to 26 years for murder of potential witness

Career drug dealer sentenced to 25 years in prison

ARTHUR LEE WILLIAMS

Laurens, S.C.; May 25, 2018 – Eighth Circuit Solicitor David M. Stumbo announced Friday that a long-time Laurens County crack dealer was sentenced to 25 years in prison after being convicted at trial of distribution of crack cocaine, third offense.

Arthur Lee Williams, 27, of Laurens, was found guilty by a Laurens County jury of distribution of crack, third offense, following two days of trial and less than 20 minutes of deliberation.

Circuit Judge Donald Hocker then sentenced Williams to 25 years in prison. The crime is considered a serious offense under state law and Williams must serve 85 percent of the sentence before being considered for parole.

In July 2015, a confidential informant working with the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office purchased about one gram of crack cocaine from Williams. Williams has three prior narcotics convictions on his record, making him eligible for life without parole if he commits another serious or most serious offense.

Williams’ case was scheduled to be called for trial in July 2017, but the State’s informant was viciously attacked with a hammer the weekend prior to trial, leading to nearly a year-long delay in calling the case back to trial.

Assistant Solicitor Margaret Boykin and Deputy Solicitor Dale Scott handled the case for the state, with assistance from 8th Circuit Investigators Walter Bentley and Joey Pittman. Williams was represented by Ivan Toney of the Greenville County Bar.

Solicitor Stumbo praised the work of his staff, along with Sgt. Matt Veal of the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office and Capt. Tyrone Goggins and Sgt. Shane Prather of the Clinton Department of Public Safety, in securing the conviction and lengthy prison sentence.

“It is no secret that crack cocaine breeds violence in communities, and this case is a prime example of that,” Solicitor Stumbo said following the trial. “We cannot and will not stand by and let career drug dealers like Arthur Williams destroy our communities and my office will continue to fight until we get it all off the streets.”

Posted in Laurens County, News | Comments Off on Career drug dealer sentenced to 25 years in prison

Man sentenced to more than 18 years in prison for DUI crash that killed step-daughter

DONALD J. HARRIS

Abbeville, S.C.; May 21, 2018 – Eighth Circuit Solicitor David M. Stumbo announced Monday that a Honea Path man will spend more than 18 years in prison after pleading guilty to charges in connection to a crash that left his 7-year-old step-daughter dead.

Donald Jerry Harris, 36, of Honea Path, pleaded guilty Monday at the Abbeville County Courthouse to charges of felony DUI resulting in death, felony DUI resulting in great bodily injury, child endangerment, and driving under suspension. A trial on the same charges was scheduled for jury selection Monday morning before Harris elected to change his plea from not guilty to guilty.

Circuit Judge Frank Addy Jr. then handed down a sentence of 18 years and six months in prison.

Just after 6 p.m. on March 11, 2017, Harris was driving along Tornado Road near Honea Path in Abbeville County in a white SUV when he began to drift to the right. Harris jerked the vehicle back to the left, running off the left side of the road. Harris then jerked the vehicle back to the right, causing it to roll over. In the vehicle with Harris were his wife and three children, including his step-daughter Abigail who died at the scene.

Harris and his wife were both taken by helicopter to Greenville Health System to receive treatment for their injuries. The other two children were taken to AnMed before being transferred to Greenville Health System. Harris’ mother was also on scene and claimed to be driving he vehicle. It was later determined that Harris was driving the vehicle. Harris had a blood-alcohol level of about .10 at the time of the crash.

Harris’ mother, Penny Harris, pleaded guilty on May 9 to a charge of obstructing justice in connection to her dishonesty about driving the vehicle at the time of the crash.

Assistant Solicitors Micah Black and Wade Dowtin handled the case for the state with assistance from 8th Circuit Investigator Chris Wilkie and Victim Advocate Sarah Parris. Harris was represented by Kami Granade and Tristan Shaffer of the Abbeville Public Defender’s Office.

Solicitor Stumbo praised the work of his staff along with the S.C. Highway Patrol’s Multidisciplinary Accident Investigation Team in securing the conviction and long prison sentence.

“There are no sadder days than the days on which families have to bury a child for senseless, reckless behavior,” Solicitor Stumbo said following the proceeding. “While there is no conviction or sentence that can bring little Abby back, it is my hope and prayer that those who loved her can gain some closure by knowing Donald Harris will not be able to endanger the lives of any other human beings for a long time to come.”

Posted in Abbeville County, News | Comments Off on Man sentenced to more than 18 years in prison for DUI crash that killed step-daughter

Drug dealer receives maximum sentence for selling pills that led to overdose death

Octavious Calliham, left, stands with his attorney, Andrew Hodges, during sentencing Friday at the Greenwood County Courthouse.

Greenwood, S.C.; May 18, 2018 – Eighth Circuit Solicitor David M. Stumbo announced Friday that a Greenwood drug dealer was sentenced to 20 years in prison after selling the dangerous drug Fentanyl to a Ninety Six man, leading to the man’s overdose death.

Octavious Calliham, 26, pleaded guilty on May 8 to charges of involuntary manslaughter and distribution of Fentanyl, with sentencing being deferred until Friday morning.

Circuit Judge Frank Addy Jr. sentenced Calliham to 20 years in prison, suspended to five years in prison and four years of probation, with the first year of probation being under intense supervision. The imposed sentence is the maximum allowable under state law on both charges.

On August 10, 2017, authorities responded to the home of 31-year-old Michael Pridmore after receiving a report of an unresponsive male in the home. Greenwood County Coroner Sonny Cox pronounced Pridmore dead just after 5 p.m. of an apparent overdose of Fentanyl.

Agents with the Greenwood Drug Enforcement Unit were able to locate Calliham, who sold Pridmore the Fentanyl, and perform a controlled buy to obtain deadly Fentanyl pills. DEU agents immediately took Calliham into custody after the controlled buy was completed.

Assistant Solicitor Josh Thomas handled the case for the state, with assistance from Victim Advocate Mary Ann Stroup. Calliham was represented by Andrew Hodges of the Greenwood County Bar.

Coroner Cox noted the significance of the conviction, not only for Pridmore’s family, but also for families of overdose victims across South Carolina.

“In all my years in law enforcement and as Coroner, I have dealt with few cases as heart-breaking as this one,” Cox said following the sentencing. “I hope this sends a loud message to drug dealers all over South Carolina and the entire nation that they will be held accountable for peddling this poison on the streets.”

Solicitor Stumbo, who praised the work of his staff along with Lt. Chad Cox and Inv. Clint Burden of the DEU, echoed the Coroner’s sentiment and vowed to continue taking the fight to the dealers on the streets.

“We will continue to fight the opioid epidemic with all of the tools available to us under the law, including homicide indictments for drug dealers who are pushing deadly, concentrated amounts of fentanyl onto our streets,” said Solicitor Stumbo after the sentencing.  “I hope that Mr. Pridmore’s family can find some peace and closure in the wake of this, and other opioid dealers in South Carolina will take notice of this conviction and prison sentence.”

Posted in Greenwood County, News | Comments Off on Drug dealer receives maximum sentence for selling pills that led to overdose death