Laurens man sentenced to max prison time for threatening to rape, kill officers, families

Henry Kevin Grant

Laurens, S.C.; November 29, 2017 – Eighth Circuit Solicitor David M. Stumbo announced Wednesday that a Laurens man will be spending the next several years in prison after he threatened to kill two Laurens police officers and rape one of the officers’ infant daughter. Continue reading

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Long-time drug dealer found guilty in his absence, faces mandatory 25-year prison sentence

Calvin Whitener

Newberry, S.C.; November 16, 2017 – Eighth Circuit Solicitor David M. Stumbo announced Thursday that a North Carolina man was convicted of trafficking cocaine, third or subsequent offense, after the man failed to appear for his court date.

Calvin Whitener, 43, of Kings Mountain, N.C., was found guilty by a Newbery County jury of trafficking cocaine, third and subsequent defense, following a two-day trial at the Newberry County Courthouse.

Circuit Judge Frank Addy issued a sentence, but the sentence will remain sealed until Whitener can be brought before the court to have the sentence read onto the record. The sentence range is between 25 and 30 years and carries a fine of up to $50,000.

Whitener was a passenger in a vehicle that was stopped for speeding in September 2014 near the intersection of S.C. 56 and Mudlick road in Chappells, S.C. The vehicle was recorded doing 80 mph in a 55 mph zone. The driver was driving on a suspended license and one of the other passengers in the vehicle was wanted out of Gaffney, S.C. Officers searched Whitener and discovered about 36 grams of cocaine hidden in Whitener’s underwear and nearly $800 in cash in his pocket.

A bench warrant was issued for Whitener’s arrest after he failed to appear for his mandated court dates. The case was moved into failure to appear statues in on April 16, 2015. Whitener’s attorney, Ricky Harris, of the Spartanburg County Bar, contacted prosecutors and asked for a plea offer to be made. Prosecutors notified Harris that if Whitener failed to appear to plead guilty during the current term of court that Whitener would be tried in his absence.

Whitener failed to appear in court on Monday and prosecutors extended the deadline to Wednesday. When Whitener failed to appear on Wednesday, prosecutors proceeded to have the trial in Whitener’s absence.

Deputy Solicitor Dale Scott and Assistant Solicitor Taylor Daniel handled the case for the state.

Solicitor Stumbo praised the work of his prosecutors. He also praised the work of Newberry County Sheriff Lee Foster’s Investigators, particularly Lt. Michael Claytor and Inv. Michael Stribble, in securing Whitener’s conviction.

“I am proud of the cooperation between my staff and law enforcement that led to Calvin Whitener’s conviction,” Solicitor Stumbo said. “This man came to our community from somewhere else to push his poison, and I encourage anyone with any information on Whitener’s whereabouts to immediately notify law enforcement.”

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Greenwood man facing 15 years in prison for burglary, firing shots into house

Terrance Lee Bland

Greenwood, S.C.; November 10, 2017 – Eighth Circuit Solicitor David M. Stumbo announced Friday that a Greenwood man was sentenced Thursday afternoon to 15 years in prison for a pair of incidents in which he assaulted a man and fired shots into the man’s residence, all in the presence of the victim’s 2-year-old daughter. Continue reading

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Juvenile arbitrators receive training on human trafficking

Jen Thompson, executive director of Lighthouse for Life, conducts training for 8th Circuit Juvenile Arbitrators last Thursday evening at the 8th Circuit Solicitor’s Office.

Greenwood, S.C.; November 2, 2017 – It’s a problem few want to talk about and even fewer fully acknowledge.  It is a growing problem not just overseas, but right here in our own backyards. While there are no firm statistics at this time, it is clear that human trafficking is a growing problem based on recent investigations that have uncovered predators sexually exploiting young men and women for profit. Continue reading

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North Carolina man convicted of DUI after driving wrong direction on I-385

Robert Clayton Moore

Laurens, S.C.; October 26, 2017 – Eighth Circuit Solicitor David M. Stumbo announced Thursday that a North Carolina man was found guilty Thursday morning on charges connected to an incident in which the man was driving the wrong direction on Interstate 385 in Laurens County. Continue reading

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Abbeville meth dealer sentenced to 15 years in prison

Greer Hanie Ashley Jr.

Abbeville, S.C.; October 24, 2017 – Eighth Circuit Solicitor David M. Stumbo announced Tuesday morning that an Abbeville County man was sentenced to 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to trafficking methamphetamine. Continue reading

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Long-time Clinton menace sentenced to 15 years in prison

Jeraka Jerome Choice

Laurens, S.C.; October 16, 2017 – Eighth Circuit Solicitor David M. Stumbo announced Monday that a Clinton man with a lengthy rap sheet dating back to 1998 was sentenced to 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to a drug charge at the Laurens County Courthouse.

Jeraka Jerome Choice, 37, pleaded guilty Monday to a charge of possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine, second offense, in connection with a 2016 incident. Choice’s case was first on the trial docket and was set to be called for trial had he not entered the guilty plea Monday morning.

During the sentencing, Choice’s attorney told Circuit Judge Frank Addy that Choice did not use crack and asked the court to “consider this is just a drug case” and that Choice “realizes that the true victims are himself (Choice) and his family.”

“I understand that you may be trying to support your family,” Addy admonished from the bench. “But you cannot support your children by poisoning other people’s children.”

Choice was caught with just under 6 grams of crack cocaine in July 2016 following a short foot chase with police. Choice’s criminal record dates back to 1998 and includes more than 20 convictions for crimes ranging from minor property crimes to five convictions for domestic violence to drug charges.

After considering Choice’s lengthy criminal record, Addy handed down a sentence of 15 years in prison. The offense is considered “serious” under state law and, because it is a second or subsequent drug offense, Choice must serve a minimum of 85 percent, or 12 years nine months, before being considered before parole.

Assistant Solicitor Jim Todd handled the case for the state with assistance from Eighth Circuit Inv. Josh Pittman.

Solicitor Stumbo praised the work of his staff along with Lt. Tyrone Goggins and Sgt. Stephen Lawton of the Clinton Department of Public Safety in securing the conviction.

“The idea that selling drugs only harms the drug dealer and his family is simply not true,” Solicitor Stumbo said following the sentencing. “There is a mountain of evidence that points to a direct link between drugs and violence. The citizens of Clinton can rest a little easier tonight knowing this menace to society will be spending a long time in prison.”

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Greenville man gets maximum sentence for bomb threat against women’s shelter

 

Greenwood, S.C.; September 21, 2017 – Eighth Circuit Solicitor David M. Stumbo announced Thursday that a Greenville man received the maximum sentence after pleading guilty to calling in a bomb threat to a local women’s shelter.

Rahim Aadil Taqwa Abdullah, 44, of Greenville, pleaded guilty Thursday morning at the Laurens County Courthouse to charges of conveying a bomb threat and stalking. Circuit Judge Donald Hocker then sentenced Abdullah to 10 years in prison, the maximum sentence allowable under state law.  Abdullah’s case was scheduled to be the first up for jury trial in the upcoming term of General Sessions court in Greenwood.

In August 2015, Abdullah called in a bomb threat to Meg’s House Shelter for Abused Women and Children. Abdullah’s former girlfriend was a resident at the shelter. An employee at the shelter was in the middle of transcribing a recorded call with Abdullah in which he claimed to be an agent with the State Law Enforcement Division when Abdullah called in the bomb threat.

The incident has had a lasting impact on the staff and residents of Meg’s House, according to Alice Hodges, Executive Director at Meg’s House.

“I hope that Mr. Abdullah’s guilty plea means that he accepts responsibility and understands that his actions had detrimental effects on the staff and the residents at Meg’s House,” Hodges said following the proceeding. “In addition, hopefully he will not repeat those actions ever again.”

Assistant Solicitor Josh Thomas prosecuted the case for the state. Abdullah was represented by Carson Henderson of the Greenwood County Bar.

Solicitor Stumbo praised the work of his staff along with Lt. Mike Dixon and Det. Blake Moore with the Greenwood Police Department, and SLED Agent Nick Parker, in securing the conviction.

“It is horrific that this man would even think of threatening violence upon a place like Meg’s House, an agency that I have an incredible amount of respect for along with Dr. Hodges and her staff,” Solicitor Stumbo said following the sentencing. “We will continue to take the problem of domestic violence seriously in the 8th Circuit, and fight to protect the not only victims of domestic violence from predators like Rahim Abdullah, but also to protect those that pour their lives into giving these victims shelter from the storm.”

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ABBEVILLE MAN RECEIVES MAXIMUM PRISON SENTENCE FOR 2016 FONDLING OF A CHILD

George Anthony Clark

Abbeville, S.C.; August 31, 2017 – Eighth Circuit Solicitor David Stumbo announced Thursday that an Abbeville man was sentenced to 15 years in prison Wednesday after being found guilty of sexually assaulting a girl under the age of 10 in 2016.

George Anthony Clark, 44, of Abbeville, was found guilty of third degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor Wednesday afternoon by an Abbeville County jury.

Circuit Judge Donald Hocker then handed down a 15-year prison sentence, the maximum allowed by state law on the charge of third degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor. Judge Hocker also ordered Clark be monitored by GPS and listed on the sex offender registry for life.

In April 2016, Clark molested a girl under the age of 10 while at his girlfriend’s house in Abbeville. The victim immediately reported the incident to her parents, who then notified law enforcement. Clark was arrested in May 2016 following a forensic interview with the victim and has remained incarcerated through his trial this week.

Deputy Solicitor Yates Brown and Assistant Solicitor Micah Black handled the case for the state, with assistance from 8th Circuit Solicitor’s Office Inv. Chris Wilkie. Clark was represented by Kami Granade of the Abbeville County Public Defender’s Office.

Solicitor Stumbo praised the work of his team along with Sgt. Sherri Ashley of the Abbeville County Sheriff’s Office for their work in preparing the case for trial and securing the conviction.

“There is simply no room in our society for predators like George Anthony Clark and we will continue to stand up and fight for those who have fallen prey to them,” Solicitor Stumbo said following the sentencing. “It is my hope and prayer that victim and her family can gain some closure with this result and move forward stronger.”

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MULTI-COUNTY DRUG DEALER SENTENCED TO 12 YEARS IN PRISON

Brandon Curtis Horne

Abbeville, S.C.; August 29, 2017 – Eighth Circuit Solicitor David Stumbo announced Tuesday that a multi-county drug dealer was sentenced to 12 years in prison Monday afternoon in connection to five arrests spanning three counties over a 7-month period. Continue reading

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