Laurens man sentenced to 15 years in prison for drug, property offenses

Bryan Roeker

Laurens, S.C.; February 21, 2018 – Eighth Circuit Solicitor David M. Stumbo announced Wednesday that a Laurens man was sentenced to 15 years in prison following a plea proceeding Tuesday at the Laurens County Courthouse.

Bryan Lee Roeker, 35, pleaded guilty Tuesday afternoon to charges of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, malicious injury to property, and resisting arrest in connection to an incident in July 2017.

Circuit Judge Donald Hocker accepted Roeker’s guilty plea and sentenced Roeker to 15 years in prison. Roeker had a lengthy criminal history that included numerous property offenses.

In July 2017, Roeker was attempting to break into the Cross Hill home of a 70-year-old woman. The woman went outside to feed her dog and spotted Roeker standing behind her residence. The woman immediately retreated back inside her house and called 911.

Deputies with Laurens County Sheriff’s Office spotted Roeker in the Cross Hill Town Park. When Roeker noticed the deputy approaching, he began to flee and ran inside the Cross Hill Volunteer Fire Department. Deputies waited outside the building and were able to apprehend Roeker after a brief struggle.

Assistant Solicitor Jim Todd handled the case for the state with assistance from 8th Circuit Investigator Joey Pittman and Victim Advocate Rhetta Christian. Roeker was represented by Ivan Toney of the Greenville County Bar.

Solicitor Stumbo praised the work of his staff along with Deputy Darin Boyd of LCSO in securing the conviction and prison sentence.

“I cannot say enough about the great work done by my staff along with Sheriff Don Reynolds and his deputies in getting this career criminal off the streets and behind bars where he belongs,” Solicitor Stumbo said following the proceeding. “We will continue to diligently pursue justice until we remove every menace to society like Bryan Roeker from the streets of our communities.”

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Abbeville County drug dealer sentenced to 12 years in prison

PHILLIP McGAHA

Abbeville, S.C.; February 20, 2018 – Eighth Circuit Solicitor David M. Stumbo announced Tuesday that an Abbeville County drug dealer will be spending the next 12 years in prison after he pleaded guilty Tuesday morning at the Abbeville County Courthouse to multiple charges.

Phillip Oscar McGaha, 45, pleaded guilty Tuesday to charges of trafficking methamphetamines and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime in connection to a December 2016 incident.

Circuit Judge Eugene Griffith sentenced McGaha to 12 years in prison on the trafficking charge and five years in prison on the charge of possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime, with the sentences to run concurrently. McGaha has several prior drug convictions.

In December 2016, while following up on a missing persons case, deputies with Abbeville County Sheriff’s Office spotted McGaha, a female and a juvenile in a truck at the missing woman’s residence. The female told deputies she was there to retrieve a stolen motorcycle that was taken by the missing woman. Deputies observed a gun on the seat and smelled the odor of burnt marijuana in the truck.

Deputies searched the vehicle and located a burnt marijuana cigar and a pill bottle containing two small, plastic bags. The two bags contained in excess of 40 grams of methamphetamines.

Assistant Solicitor Wade Dowtin handled the case for the state, with assistance from 8th Circuit Investigator Chris Wilkie. Kami Granade of the Abbeville County Public Defender’s Office represented McGaha.

Solicitor Stumbo praised the work of his staff along with Lt. Matthew Graham and Sgt. Jeffrey Hines with the Abbeville County Sheriff’s office in securing the conviction and lengthy prison sentence.

“Meth has burdened our communities for far too long,” Solicitor Stumbo said following the plea proceeding. “People like Phillip McGaha who don’t have enough respect for their neighbors and fellow citizens to not peddle their poison on the streets belong in prison. Phillip McGaha will spend the next dozen years there and my staff will continue to work with Sheriff Ray Watson and his deputies to remove meth and other illegal drugs from the streets of our communities.”

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Long-time drug dealer sentenced to 15 years in prison

GERALD NIX

Greenwood, S.C.; February 12, 2018 – Eighth Circuit Solicitor David M. Stumbo announced Monday that a long-time Greenwood drug dealer was sentenced to 15 years in prison after pleading guilty Monday to charges of possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine and resisting arrest.

Gerald Nix, 37, of Greenwood, chose to enter the guilty pleas Monday morning rather than facing a jury trial scheduled to be called by the state this week.  Circuit Judge Frank Addy Jr. accepted the plea and sentenced Nix to 15 years in prison.

Nix had several prior drug convictions on his criminal record, including at least two prior convictions for distribution of illicit substances.

In May 2017, law enforcement officers spotted Nix immediately following a shooting walking along Taggart Avenue in Greenwood. Nix matched the description of the shooter and had on the same type of clothing as the shooter. Officers stopped to speak with Nix and found him in possession of some crack cocaine and a large amount of cash.

When officers discovered the drugs, Nix attempted to flee. Officers were able to restrain Nix and stop him from fleeing, but Nix continued to struggle until officers were able to get handcuffs on him.

Assistant Solicitor Josh Thomas handled the case for the state with the assistance of 8th Circuit Inv. Courtney Smith. Nix was represented by Tristan Shaffer of the Greenwood County Public Defender’s Office.

Solicitor Stumbo praised the work of Thomas and Smith in preparing the case for trial, as well as Senior Master Patrolman Cory Boyter of the Greenwood Police Department who made the arrest.

“The Greenwood community got a little safer today as we removed yet another poison pusher from the streets,” Solicitor Stumbo said.  “My office will continue to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with law enforcement until we remove this threat to health of our children and safety of our neighborhoods.”

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Newberry man facing 15 years for sexual abuse of teen

CRAIG C. BUSSE

Newberry, S.C.; February 8, 2018 – Eighth Circuit Solicitor David M. Stumbo announced Thursday that a Newberry man was sentenced to 15 years in prison late Wednesday afternoon after a Newberry County jury returned a verdict of guilty for second degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor. Continue reading

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Child predator sentenced to 18 years in prison

TREMAINE V. DANIELS

Greenwood, S.C.; February 8, 2018 – Eighth Circuit Solicitor David M. Stumbo announced Thursday that a 28-year-old Greenwood man will be spending the next 18 years in prison after pleading guilty to sexually abusing a young girl. Continue reading

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Domestic abuser facing 18 years in prison

TRAVIS SENTELL WILLIAMS

Greenwood, S.C.; February 5, 2018 – Eighth Circuit Solicitor David M. Stumbo announced Monday that a Greenwood man has pleaded guilty to aggravated domestic violence and sentenced to 18 years in prison, just days before his case was scheduled to be called to trial. Continue reading

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Abbeville County domestic killer sentenced to life in prison

CHARLES TILLMAN

Abbeville, S.C.; January 26, 2018 – Following a week-long trial that stretched into the early evening hours Friday, an Abbeville County jury returned guilty verdicts on an Iva man who killed his long-time girlfriend in November 2016. Continue reading

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Solicitor’s Office distributes toys to needy children

Greenwood, S.C.; December 13, 2017 – The Christmas season is often associated with merry family gatherings and celebrations bursting at the seams with yuletide glee. For many families, however, the Christmas season can be a disheartening time as parents struggle to provide a nice Christmas for their children. Continue reading

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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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