Career criminal sentenced to 20 years in prison for dealing meth

TODD ANDREW ALLEN

Abbeville, S.C.; September 11, 2019 — An Abbeville man will spend the next 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to a methamphetamine-related charge, 8th Circuit Solicitor David M. Stumbo announced Wednesday.

Todd Andrew Allen, 39, pleaded guilty Wednesday morning to a charge of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamines. A jury was selected on the case at the Abbeville County Courthouse on Monday afternoon, but Allen elected to change his plea to guilty prior to start of testimony on Wednesday.

Circuit Judge Donald Hocker sentenced Allen to 20 years in prison. Allen has an extensive criminal history, including a number of drug related offenses.

In October 2018, investigators with the Abbeville Narcotics Task Force set up a controlled buy with Allen. Allen arrived at the meeting location where police were waiting.  Deputies took Allen into custody and located approximately 44 grams of methamphetamine in a pouch at Allen’s feet, in addition to scales and a pipe.

Assistant Solicitor Micah Black and Deputy Solicitor Yates Brown handled the case for the state with the assistance of 8th Circuit Investigator Chris Wilkie.  Allen was represented by Aaron Taylor of the Greenwood County Bar.

Solicitor Stumbo praised the work of his staff and the Abbeville Narcotics Task Force in securing the conviction and lengthy prison sentence.  In particular, the Solicitor recognized the stellar proactive narcotics work done by Sheriff’s Department Investigators Matthew Graham and Jeffery Hines, as well as Abbeville Police Department Investigator Dwayne Balchin.

“The future is brighter for the people of Abbeville with another career criminal like Todd Allen behind bars for a many to come,” Solicitor Stumbo said following the sentencing. “My office will continue to stand alongside Sheriff (Ray) Watson and his guys to remove drug dealers like Todd Allen from our community.”

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Career criminal sentenced to 20 years in prison

STERLING MAYBIN

Newberry, S.C.; August 28, 2019 — A Newberry man with a criminal history spanning nearly 30 years was sentenced Wednesday afternoon to 20 years in prison after being convicted of multiple theft offenses, announced 8th Circuit Solicitor David M. Stumbo. Continue reading

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Gray Court woman sentenced to 15 years for crash that killed one highway worker, injured another

PAMELA M. TACKETT

Laurens, S.C.; July 19, 2019 — A Gray Court woman was sentenced Thursday afternoon to 15 years in prison after a Laurens County jury returned a verdict of guilty on three charges related to the death of a highway worker and the severe injury of another, 8th Circuit Solicitor David M. Stumbo announced Friday morning.

Pamela Michelle Tackett, 32, was found guilty Thursday afternoon of felony driving under the influence resulting in death, felony driving under the influence resulting in great bodily injury, and on one count of child endangerment following a four-day trial in the Judicial Center at Hillcrest Square.

Circuit Judge Roger Couch then handed down a sentence of 15 years in prison on the charge of felony DUI resulting in death and seven years in prison on each of the other two charges. The sentences are to run concurrently, but the defendant will not be eligible for parole and must serve a minimum of 85% of the 15-year sentence.

Just before 10:00 a.m. on March 28, 2018, Tackett was driving her 2012 Chevrolet SUV north along Interstate 385 near mile marker 19. Multiple orange state Department of Transportation signs warning drivers of road work ahead were staggered along the roadway leading up to the incident location. According to eyewitnesses, Tackett’s vehicle veered erratically to the left and struck the cable barrier in the median along with the victims’ parked work vehicle before striking two workers who were repairing sections of the cable barrier, 28-year-old Zechariah Ivey and 23-year-old J.C. Howell.

Both men were seriously injured as a result and were transported by helicopter and ambulance to area hospitals for treatment.  Ivey succumbed a week later to his injuries.

Deputy Solicitor Warren Mowry and Special Assistant Solicitor R. Knox McMahon prosecuted the case for the state, with assistance from 8th Circuit Investigator Walter Bentley and Victim Advocate Rhetta Christian. Tackett was represented by David F. Stoddard of the Anderson County Bar.

Solicitor Stumbo praised the work of his staff along with the South Carolina Highway Patrol in both the March 2019 trial which resulted in a hung jury and this week’s trial which resulted in convictions on all counts.  The Solicitor also spoke highly of the patience and resolve of the surviving victim and both victims’ families who have endured much suffering as a result of this tragedy.

“We’re satisfied that, after two week-long trials, the defendant is finally being held accountable for her actions and the horrific loss of life in this case,” Solicitor Stumbo said following the trial. “We will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with our hard-working state troopers to keep our roads safe from impaired drivers.”

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Abusive mother gets 15-year prison sentence

ERICA S. KELLEY

Laurens, S.C.; May 24, 2019 — A woman was sentenced to 15 years in prison after pleading guilty Thursday afternoon at the Laurens County Courthouse to a charge of inflicting great bodily injury on a child, 8th Circuit Solicitor David M. Stumbo announced Friday. Continue reading

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Laurens career meth cook sentenced to 17 years

RONALD J. EATON

Laurens, S.C.; May 22, 2019 — A Laurens man with a lengthy history of manufacturing methamphetamines will spend the next 17 years behind bars after being found guilty at trial of manufacturing and possessing meth, 8th Circuit Solicitor David M. Stumbo announced Wednesday.

Ronald Jeffrey Eaton, 52, was found guilty of manufacturing methamphetamines, third offense, and possession of methamphetamines, third offense, late Tuesday afternoon by a Laurens County jury following a day-and-a-half trial and less than an hour of deliberation.

Circuit Judge Alison Renee Lee then sentenced Eaton to 17 years in prison on the charge of manufacturing methamphetamines, third offense, and 10 years in prison on the charge of possession of methamphetamines, third offense, with the sentences to be served concurrently.

Eaton has a length criminal history, including multiple past meth-related convictions.

In March 2018, the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office was actively investigating Eaton and a meth cooking operation at a property on Bobcat Drive where Eaton had his camper parked. The camper was abruptly moved and, shortly thereafter, a tipster reported that Eaton was cooking meth at a property on Boyd Road. Investigators confirmed with Eaton’s probation agent that Eaton had not reported the change in address.

Investigators went to the property on Boyd Road and discovered Eaton’s camper in the woods with Eaton inside. Investigators obtained a search warrant and discovered the remnants of a broken down one-pot meth cooking operation. Investigators were able to establish a timeline showing that Eaton had been manufacturing methamphetamines since his release from prison on a previous manufacturing charge.

Deputy Solicitor Dale Scott and Assistant Solicitor Margaret Boykin handled the case for the state, with the assistance of 8th Circuit Investigator Walter Bentley. Eaton was represented by Dorothy Manigault of the Greenville County Bar.

Solicitor Stumbo praised the work of his staff along with narcotics investigators Sgt. Matt Veal and Inv. Charles Nations of the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office in securing the conviction and lengthy prison sentence.

“Drug addiction continues to plague our society in the new millennium,” Solicitor Stumbo said following the trial. “While we recognize that it is only part of the solution, Sheriff (Don) Reynolds and I are pleased to see a lifelong meth cook and dealer like Ronnie Eaton sent to prison for a long time to come, and we will continue our commitment to stopping anyone pushing destructive drugs in our community.”

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Repeat domestic abuser sentenced to 20 years for violent assault

ROBERT L. BRYANT

Abbeville, S.C.; May 14, 2019 — An Abbeville man was sentenced to 20 years in prison Tuesday morning after changing his plea to guilty on the day his trial was to begin in connection to a 2018 incident in which he attacked a woman with a box cutter, 8th Circuit Solicitor David M. Stumbo announced Tuesday.

Robert Lamont Bryant, 41, pleaded guilty to a charge of domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature. Jury selection in the trial was set to begin Tuesday.

Circuit Judge Roger M. Young Sr. then handed down a 20-year prison sentence to Bryant, which is the maximum sentence under state law for the offense.

Bryant has multiple previous convictions for domestic assaults and had been released from prison only months before committing the box-cutter attack.

In February 2018, the victim, Bryant’s girlfriend, went to pick her son up from school following a bomb threat. Upon arriving back at her home, Bryant accused the victim of leaving to see another man. The victim told Bryant that was not true and went to lie down in her bed. A short time later, Bryant entered the room and cut the victim’s nose with a box cutter, slicing all the way through the side of one nostril, before fleeing the residence. Bryant was arrested and charged in connection to the incident the following day.

Deputy Solicitor Yates Brown and Assistant Solicitor Micah Black prepared the case for trial on behalf of the State, with assistance from 8th Circuit Investigator Chris Wilkie and Victim Advocate Sarah Parris. Bryant was represented by Clarke McCants of the 8th Circuit Public Defender’s Office.

Solicitor Stumbo praised the work of his staff along with first responder Sgt. Aaron Crowe of the Abbeville Police Department in securing the conviction and lengthy prison sentence.

“Violent offenders like Robert Bryant belong in one place: behind bars,” Solicitor Stumbo said following the sentencing. “It was moving to see the courage of this victim by coming forward to confront her abuser in court this week, knowing she would have to relive that horrific attack.  I hope this sentence sends a clear message that, in the 8th Judicial Circuit, we will continue to fight for and protect women who have lived the nightmare of suffering at the hands of an abusive partner.”

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Greenwood man convicted, faces life sentence for 2017 murder

Xzariera O. Gray

A Greenwood man was found guilty late Thursday night of a 2017 murder following a four-day trial at the Greenwood County Courthouse, 8th Circuit Solicitor David M. Stumbo announced Friday.

Xzariera Okevis Gray, 30, was found guilty by a Greenwood County jury of murder and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime. The jury returned the verdict just before midnight Thursday night. Circuit Judge Frank Addy Jr. ordered that sentencing will be held on Tuesday for Gray, who faces up to life without parole on the conviction.

In the early morning hours of August 26, 2017, Gray and 46-year-old Demetrius “Meatball” Fuller were involved in an argument that eventually led to Gray pulling out a gun and shooting Fuller one time. Greenwood police officers were in the area and heard the gunshot. Officers began canvassing the area and located Fuller’s body on Tanyard Avenue. Gray fled the area, but was arrested in Columbia just a few days after the shooting.

Eyewitnesses were able to identify Gray as the shooter and to assist officers in recovering the murder weapon. Investigators were also able to locate surveillance footage from a nearby home that showed Gray shooting Fuller. Gray testified on his own behalf and told the jury he shot Fuller in self defense. The jury rejected that assertion and found Gray guilty of murder and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime.

Violent Crimes Prosecutor Josh Thomas and Assistant Solicitor Carson Penney handled the trial for the state. Gray was represented by Janna Nelson and Shane Goranson of the Greenwood County Public Defender’s Office.

Solicitor Stumbo praised the work of his staff along with Sgt. William Kay of the Greenwood Police Department in securing the conviction.

“Our community has grown sick and tired of senseless gun violence on our streets,” Solicitor Stumbo said. “I am pleased that this week a dangerous criminal has been removed from society and my office will continue to seek justice against those who willfully disregard the law.”

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Newberry man sentenced to 10 years for church thefts

TERRANCE LENARD CHISOLM

Newberry. S.C.; April 24, 2019 — A string of church break-ins that spanned two counties landed a Newberry man a 10-year sentence after he entered a guilty plea Monday afternoon to charges stemming from the incident, 8th Circuit Solicitor David M. Stumbo announced Wednesday

Terrance Lenard Chisolm, 38, changed his plea to guilty on the day of his scheduled trial Monday on to five counts of second-degree burglary.  Circuit Judge R. Scott Sprouse sentenced Chisolm to 10 years in prison on each of the charges, with the sentences to run concurrently. Chisolm has two prior convictions for burglary.

During the night of May 15, 2018 and the early morning hours of May 16, 2018, Chisolm broke into five churches in Laurens and Newberry counties and stole computers, flat-screen televisions and various other electronic items. Chisolm left a tire iron behind at one incident location and a milk carton with a straw in it at another incident location. Both of those items showed Chisolm’s DNA on them.

Deputy Solicitor Dale Scott and Assistant Solicitor Taylor Daniel handled the case for the state with assistance from 8th Circuit Investigator Walter Bentley and Victim Advocate Rhetta Christian. Chisolm was represented by Charles Verner of the 8th Circuit Public Defender’s Office.

Solicitor Stumbo praised the work of his staff as well as the Laurens and Newberry Sheriffs’ investigators for their stellar work in securing the convictions and sentences.

“The churches in our communities are beacons of light for our communities,” Solicitor Stumbo said following the sentencing. “Terrance Chisolm violated these peaceful sanctuaries simply to pad his own pockets. It is my hope and prayer that Chisolm being brought to justice this week will bring some closure for these bodies of believers across our counties.”

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Career drug dealer sentenced to 15 years in prison

KEVIN WIGGINS

Greenwood, S.C.; April 3, 2019 – A career drug dealer was sentenced to 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to a number of charges on the morning his trial was set to begin, 8th Circuit Solicitor David M. Stumbo announced Wednesday.

Kevin Jermaine Wiggins, 42, of Greenwood, pleaded guilty Tuesday morning to trafficking heroin, trafficking crack, trafficking cocaine, second degree assault and battery, two counts of failure to stop for blue light, and two counts of possession of a firearm by a violent felon.

Circuit Judge William Keesley then sentenced to Wiggins to 15 years in prison.

Wiggins on Monday lost a pretrial motion to suppress evidence in his trial and changed his plea to guilty on all charges on Tuesday morning. Jury selection for the trial was held Monday and opening statements were scheduled for Tuesday morning.

In January 2017, agents with Greenwood’s multijurisdictional Drug Enforcement Unit were surveilling Wiggins’ home in preparation of serving a search warrant when Wiggins got into his truck and left the residence. DEU agents attempted to initiate a traffic stop, but Wiggins sped away. Agents pursued Wiggins briefly, but called off the chase after observing Wiggins driving the wrong way along McCormick Highway, endangering the lives of innocent motorists.

While agents were pursuing Wiggins, other officers executed the search warrant at Wiggins’ residence and discovered 6 grams of heroin, 64 grams of crack, 21 grams of cocaine, and 53 counterfeit oxycodone pills that were later tested by the State Law Enforcement Division and determined to contain heroin. A loaded revolver was also recovered at the residence. Wiggins is forbidden by law from possessing a firearm after being convicted in 2007 of trafficking cocaine, which is classified as a violent crime under state law. Agents obtained the search warrant as part of an ongoing investigation in which informants had purchased heroin, cocaine, and the fake oxycodone pills that contained heroin.

In July 2018, while out on bond awaiting trial for the January 2017 incident, officers attempted to stop Wiggins near Piedmont Technical College on Emerald Road and Wiggins led officers on a chase along Highway 246, through Hodges, and eventually into Abbeville County where Wiggins wrecked his vehicle near Donalds. Officers apprehended Wiggins in the woods near where he wrecked and located a .380 caliber pistol in his vehicle.

In January 2019, while still out on bond awaiting trial, Wiggins led officers on a third chase after officers attempted to initiate a traffic stop. As one officer approached Wiggins’ stopped vehicle, Wiggins sped away, nearly striking the officer with his vehicle. Wiggins weaved his way through the streets of Greenwood before crashing his vehicle along Pearl Street. Officers located and captured Wiggins immediately after he crashed the vehicle.

Violent Crimes Prosecutor Josh Thomas and Assistant Solicitor Wade Dowtin handled the case for the state. Wiggins was represented by Charles Grose of the Greenwood County Bar.

Solicitor Stumbo praised the work of his staff along with former DEU agents Bryan Louis and Dyar Archibald along with current DEU agent Jaime Lovett in securing the conviction and lengthy prison sentence.

“Our community has no place for repeat offenders like Kevin Wiggins who continually disregard the health and safety of others in order to pursue their self-serving criminal activities,” Solicitor Stumbo said following the sentencing. “We are glad that this man will not be wreaking havoc in the streets for many years to come and will continue to work aggressively with law enforcement to bring those like him to justice.”

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Prosperity man sentenced to more than 15 years in prison for boat ramp stabbing

MATTHEW L. JACKSON

Newberry, S.C.; March 29, 2019 – A Prosperity man will spend the next 15 years in prison after being found guilty Thursday afternoon of an aggravated assault and battery in connection to an incident at the Sunset Boat Ramp, 8th Circuit Solicitor David M. Stumbo announced Friday.

Matthew Legrande Jackson, 29, of Prosperity, was indicted for attempted murder, but was found guilty Thursday by a Newberry County jury of the lesser offense of assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature (ABHAN) following a four-day trial at the Newberry County Courthouse. Circuit Judge Donald Hocker then sentenced Jackson to 15 years three months in prison for the assault.

In June 2018, Jackson got into an argument with the victim while at the Sunset Boat Ramp. Jackson left the boat ramp but returned some time later. The victim was having trouble starting his motorcycle and was attempting to jump it off when Jackson returned and started a physical altercation with the victim. During the attack, Jackson produced a knife and stabbed the victim five times.

The victim was taken to the hospital in Newberry to receive treatment for his injuries and was later transported to Richland County Hospital to receive further treatment. Jackson could not be located initially but was ultimately apprehended by law enforcement in Sumter County.

Jackson has a lengthy criminal history dating back to 2003.  His prior offenses include number of assault-related crimes.

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

Solicitor Stumbo praised the work of his staff along with Lt. Garrett Lominack of the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office in securing the conviction.

“Matthew Jackson is a homicide waiting to happen if you look at his behavior throughout his adult life,” Solicitor Stumbo said. “Fortunately, the victim in this case survived this vicious, unprovoked attack.  We are glad that he was able to get some measure of justice this week, and we will continue to work shoulder-to-shoulder with law enforcement to take violent men like Jackson off our streets.”

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