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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Child abuser sentenced to a decade in prison

Daniel Joseph Hagman

Laurens, S.C.; August 28, 2017 – Eighth Circuit Solicitor David Stumbo announced Monday that a Laurens man has been sentenced to 10 years in prison in connection to fondling a girl in 2013.

Prior to prosecutors calling his case to trial by jury on Monday morning at the Laurens County Courthouse, Daniel Joseph Hagman, 36, changed his plea to guilty on one count of third degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor.

Circuit Judge Frank Addy then handed down a sentence of 15 years in prison, suspended to 10 years of active prison time followed by three years of probation. Addy also ordered GPS monitoring and for Hagman to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

The victim reported the incidents to her mother in 2015, approximately two years after they occurred.  The child told her mother that Hagman masturbated in front of her and made her touch him on his genitals.  She also disclosed that Hagman had shown her pornographic movies on multiple occasions.

Assistant Solicitor Julie Kate Keeney handled the case for the state. Hagman was represented by Chelsea McNeill of the Public Defender’s Office.

Solicitor Stumbo praised the work of Keeney, along with 8th Circuit Solicitor’s Office Inv. Walter Bentley and Inv. Jared Hunnicutt, formerly of the Laurens Police Department and currently with the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office, in preparing the case for trial and securing the conviction.

“I made a promise that my office would vigorously defend the children of our communities from the sick individuals who would do them harm,” Solicitor Stumbo said following the sentencing. “As we stand with law enforcement and remain ever vigilant against child predators, I hope that the parents in our communities can feel more secure as they tuck their children into bed tonight, knowing that an abuser like Daniel Hagman is behind bars for years to come.”

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Solicitor distributes school supplies

Greenwood, S.C.; August 8, 2017 – Eighth Circuit Solicitor David Stumbo on Tuesday continued a time-honored tradition of distributing school supplies to the school districts of the Eighth Judicial Circuit, which is comprised of Abbeville, Greenwood, Laurens and Newberry counties. Continue reading

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Ninety Six child abuser sentenced to 20 years in prison

Christopher Glenn Seymour

Abbeville, S.C.; July 20, 2017 – Eighth Circuit Solicitor David M. Stumbo announced Thursday that a Ninety Six man was sentenced to 20 years in prison following a hearing at the Abbeville County Courthouse Wednesday afternoon. Continue reading

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Thief gets nearly five years in prison for string of auto break-ins

William Christopher Turner

Greenwood, S.C.; July 12, 2017 – Eighth Circuit Solicitor David M. Stumbo announced Wednesday that a Greenwood man was sentenced Tuesday to nearly five years in prison after pleading guilty to numerous theft-related charges in connection with a string of auto break-ins around Christmas 2015. Continue reading

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Laurens man sentenced to 45 years in prison for 2016 murder of Laurens High School student

FABIAN GREEN

Laurens, S.C.; June 5, 2017 – Eighth Circuit Solicitor David M. Stumbo announced Monday that a Laurens man was sentenced to 45 years in prison for the brutal 2016 killing of 17-year-old Edwin Diaz. Continue reading

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Laurens man sentenced to 25 years in prison for 2016 burglary

Laurens, S.C.; May 26, 2017 – Eighth Circuit Solicitor David M. Stumbo announced Friday that a man was sentenced to 25 years in prison for the 2016 burglary of a Laurens County residence. Continue reading

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