MERRIWEATHER SENTENCED TO 10 YEARS IN PRISON

Kelvin Merriweather pled guilty to ABHAN in front of the Honorable J. Cordell Maddox, Jr. and received a sentence of 20 years provided upon the service of 10 years active time and followed by 5 years of probation.  The defendant will receive credit for the 404 days he has already served in jail.   Assault and Battery of High and Aggravated Nature is classified as both a Violent and Serious offense, and is not parole eligible. 

This charge originated on November 18, 2018 when the victim was leaving her home in her vehicle and she was approached by the defendant in this case.  They had never met before this incident.  The defendant told the victim he was looking for her husband.  He asked her to call her husband for him, which she did, but her husband did not answer the phone.  The defendant then became agitated and began to reach into the victim’s vehicle.  The victim put her vehicle in reverse and accelerated toward the roadway, but the defendant began to fire at her vehicle, striking her in her right hand and injuring her.  The victim then drove herself to the hospital.  She identified the defendant in a 6 person photo lineup and following his arrest the defendant confessed to the incident.  All of this occurred within Anderson County. 

Investigator Kenny Pigman with the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office headed this investigation, and Senior Assistant Solicitor Lauren Davis Price handled the proceedings in Court for the State. 

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DRUG TRAFFICKER SENTENCED TO 12 YEARS IN PRISON IN ANDERSON

Anderson SC– Yesterday, in Anderson County General Sessions Court, Nancy Elaine Carswell was sentenced to 12 years in prison for charges she was tried and convicted of in her absence on October 29, 2019. A jury found her guilty of Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine. She did not appear for her trial and a bench warrant was issued for her arrest. Carswell was picked up on that bench warrant on November 20th. Judge Cordell Maddox’s sentence was sealed at that time until yesterday when the sentence was unsealed and Carswell learned she would be spending the next 12 years in South Carolina Department of Corrections. 

Her co-defendant, Roy Cecil Walters, had previously entered a guilty plea to the charge of Trafficking Methamphetamine between 28 and 100 grams on August 22, 2019.  At that time Judge Scott Sprouse sentenced Walters to 10 years in the South Carolina Department of Corrections.

The charges stemmed from an incident on March 12, 2018. Following a tip from an anonymous source, the ACSO Special Investigations Division conducted surveillance and executed a search warrant at 205 Fairlane Drive in Anderson. During the surveillance operation officers observed Roy Cecil Walters meeting with a female in a black BMW at the Watson Village Shopping Center. Walters then led the female back to 205 Fairlane Drive where she delivered a quantity of methamphetamine to Nancy Elaine Carswell. Officers observed the female leaving the home and stopped her vehicle for failing to maintain lane. Inside the car, investigators found $40,000 and a small quantity of methamphetamine. She told officers that she had had been contacted by Carswell and that Carswell sent Walters to meet her in order to lead her to the home where Carswell was staying. She also told officers that she had just sold approximately 80 grams of methamphetamine to Carswell. Upon receiving this information, investigators obtained a search warrant for the home and found Carswell and Walters in possession of a total of 140.22 grams of methamphetamine. Both were charged with Trafficking Methamphetamine between 100 and 200 grams. 

This investigation was led by Detective Andre Acevedo with support from all members of SID. The case was prosecuted by Tenth Circuit Assistant Solicitors Chelsey Hucker and Mary Holahan. 

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SLUDERS SENTENCED IN SEX ABUSE CASE

WALHALLA, SC–On December 16, 2019, Anthony Hugh Sluder, age 67, of Westminster, pled guilty to 5 counts of  Criminal Sexual Conduct with a Minor Second Degree and 5 counts of Incest.  He was sentenced by the Honorable Cordell Maddox to 25 years.

On December 18, 2019, his wife, Edna Sluder, age 56, pled guilty to 5 counts of Criminal Sexual Conduct with a Minor Second Degree and 5 counts of Incest.  She was sentenced by the Honorable Cordell Maddox to 20 years.

In December of 2018, a male relative of the couple came forward to the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office and recounted years of sexual abuse at the hands of the Sluders during the 2000’s timeframe.  He reported repeated, continuous abuse by both Mr. and Mrs. Sluder, acting together, over multiple years during his early adolescence.  When confronted by law enforcement, both Mr. and Mrs. Sluder confessed to repeatedly sexually abusing the boy.  They recounted using sexual abuse as a form of punishment for not completing things such as ordinary household chores, referring to the punishment as “naked sessions.”  Mrs. Sluder also expressed the couple’s belief that sexual education should begin in the home.

Solicitor David R. Wagner said “The crimes perpetrated by Anthony and Edna Sluder are some of most disturbing that I have seen during the course of my prosecutorial career.  The victim in this case has suffered immensely and I hope this resolution will provide some measure of justice for him.  Anthony and Edna Sluder deserve every day in prison that they received.”

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REYNOLDS SENTENCED TO 35 YEARS IN PRISON

Walhalla, SC– On November 21, 2019, Steven Reynolds, age 20 of 3 Padgett Street, Seneca, pled guilty to two counts of murder, armed robbery, and malicious injury to personal property.  He was sentenced by the Honorable R. Lawton McIntosh to 35 years in prison.  He will not be eligible for parole. 

On September 10, 2018, the Defendant did shoot and kill Timothy Caldwell and David Thomas Tranah during the course of an armed robbery.  Prior to the killings, the defendant did also shoot an unoccupied vehicle belonging to the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office causing damage in an amount between $2000-$10,000. 

The incident in question occurred in an area of Seneca known as “The Compound”.  This is an area known to law enforcement as a hotbed of criminal activity, specifically significant drug, theft, and homeless activity.  The Defendant was well known to those who frequented “The Compound” and had a longstanding relationship with victim Caldwell.  At the time of this incident, both victims were reportedly staying at “The Compound”.  Multiple statements indicated that the Defendant had gone to “The Compound” to collect something victim Caldwell owed him, which is speculated to be a drug related debt.  The Defendant fled the scene after this incident and was apprehended by law enforcement at an Oconee residence the next day. 

 Solicitor David R. Wagner said “I would like to commend the combined efforts of our office and the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office to secure this lengthy prison sentence for Steven Reynolds.  Today’s outcome ensures our community will not be endangered by Mr. Reynolds for decades to come.   This case highlights the violent consequences of the drug epidemic facing our communities nationwide.”

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OCONEE MAN SENTENCED TO 15 YEARS IN PRISON

Walhalla, SC —  A Salem man was found guilty today in Oconee General Session Court; 56-year-old Clifton Eugene Smith was tried and convicted of Assault and Battery of a High and Aggravated Nature for his role in a knife attack that left the victim with life-threatening injuries. 

Testimony presented in court over the two-day trial showed that on December 26, 2017, Clifton Smith was riding in a vehicle with the victim, Mr. Michael Todd Reid. A verbal argument escalated until Mr. Smith eventually slashed the victim repeatedly with a pocket knife as his sat in the backseat of the car. The victim suffered from severe blood loss due to extensive lacerations to his hands, arms, chest, and thigh, and was transported from the scene directly to the Greenville Hospital trauma unit.

 Circuit Court Judge R. Lawton McIntosh noted the severity of the attack, as well as Mr. Smith’s extensive history of violent crimes as he imposed a sentence of 15 years in the Department of Corrections. He will not be eligible for parole.

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SERIAL BURGLAR AND THIEF SENTENCED TO 20 YEARS IN PRISON WITH NO PAROLE

Today in Oconee General Sessions Court, a 42-year-old Walhalla man, Joshua “Kid” Jackson entered a guilty plea and was sentenced for his role in a burglary and auto break-in spree that impacted communities across Oconee County. Investigators with the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office, as well as the Seneca, Westminster, and Walhalla Police Departments each contributed to the resolution of Mr. Jackson’s total of 114 individual charges. Circuit Court Judge R. Scott Sprouse accepted the 10th Circuit Solicitor’s Office negotiated sentence of twenty years in the South Carolina Department of Corrections. He will not be eligible for parole.

The majority of Mr. Jackson’s criminal activities spanned a period of time from October 2018 to January 2019 and involved at least two co-conspirators, both of whom pled guilty and were sentenced earlier in the week. Mr. Jackson’s charges included 19 counts of burglary, 50 counts of auto breaking, and 45 counts of associated larcenies and malicious injury to property.

Following sentencing Solicitor David Wagner stated, “Joshua Jackson is a thief and a career criminal who targeted innocent, hardworking citizens of Oconee County.  Today’s sentence ensures he will spend most of the remainder of his life in prison, where he deserves to be.”

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SEX OFFENDER SENTENCED TO 18 YEARS IN PRISON

Today, Brandon Partain entered a guilty plea to Unlawful Conduct Towards a Child, Dissemination of Harmful Material to Minors, Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor, and Assault and Battery 1st Degree. 

The allegations were that he fondled a minor on top of clothing, showed pornography to several minor children, smoked marijuana in the presence of two children under the age of 10, and allowed a 13-year-old to smoke marijuana with him. Partain is a registered sex offender. Judge Sprouse sentenced him to a total 18 years active sentence.

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BRYANT SENTENCED TO 10 YEARS FOR TRAFFICKING METHAMPHETAMINE

On September 10th, Shannon Randolph Bryant pled guilty to Trafficking Methamphetamine and received a sentence of 10 years.  This is a no-parole offense and classified as a serious offense for which he will have to serve at least eight and a half years.

On April 8, 2018, deputies from the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office  attempted to serve a domestic violence warrant at 211 Morningside Drive in Anderson County on this Defendant.  The deputies entered the home and found Methamphetamine on Bryant.  A search warrant was obtained for the residence and during the execution of the search warrant 282.62g of methamphetamine was found. 

Mr. Bryant is a long-time criminal and has a record that dates back to the early nineties. 

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DRUG TRAFFICKER SENTENCED IN ANDERSON

(Anderson, SC).  Yesterday in Anderson County General Sessions Court Larry Edward Adger, III, was sentenced by The Honorable Lawton McIntosh to 25 years in prison and a fine of $50,000 on charges of trafficking methamphetamine 3rd offense, with a weight between 28 and 100 grams, trafficking cocaine base (more commonly known as “crack cocaine”) 3rd offense, with a weight between 28 and 100 grams, and also of possession of a controlled substance, 2nd offense.

After a two-day trial, in June of 2018, Adger was convicted of the charges for which he was just sentenced.  At that time, his sentence was deferred by Judge McIntosh following a request by Adger’s attorney for the opportunity to explore potential appealable issues prior to entry of the sentence. 

The incident that lead to Mr. Adger’s arrest occurred on September 28, 2017.  Members of the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office observed a single occupancy vehicle driven by Adger speeding on Market St. in Anderson County.  A traffic stop was initiated by law enforcement.  Before pulling over, Adger sped up and threw a brightly colored lunch bag out the passenger side window of his vehicle.   Deputies observed the lunch bag land in the roadway and quickly retrieved it.  Inside the bag, they found 29.25 grams of cocaine base and 25.08 grams of Pentylone, which is a controlled substance commonly known as bath salts.  A subsequent search of the vehicle uncovered a canister on the passenger side floorboard containing 48.8 grams of methamphetamine pills which were in the shapes of Hello Kitty, Darth Vader, and Optimus Prime, along with over $10,000 in cash.  

Both of the trafficking charges and the controlled substance charge were ordered by Judge McIntosh to be served concurrently.  Adger will also be given credit for 485 days he has already served. 

The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant Solicitor Kristin Reeves of the Tenth Circuit Solicitor’s Office, and private attorney Charles Whiten represented the defendant.

Following the sentencing, Solicitor David Wagner made the following comment: “So many people in our community suffer or know someone who suffers from drug addiction.  The drugs intercepted by law enforcement in this case could have eventually reached many individuals and affected and destroyed many lives.  The methamphetamine pills shaped into cartoon forms present an extreme danger to children.  It is horrific to imagine what could have happened if an innocent child had found these pills, as they could easily have been mistaken for candy.  I am very pleased with the strong sentence handed down by the Court this week, and hope it acts as a deterrent to those who would try to poison our community and expose our children to illegal narcotics and opioids.”

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30 YEAR JAIL SENTENCE FOR KILLING DURING BOTCHED ARMED ROBBERY

Today in Anderson County General Sessions Court defendant Ahmad Neely pled guilty to charges of Voluntary Manslaughter, Criminal Conspiracy, and Possession of a Weapon During the Commission of a Violent Crime for the 2017 killing of Charles Hillery. Neely received a negotiated 30 year active jail sentence. The plea was entered before the Honorable R. Scott Sprouse with attorney Tom Quinn representing the defendant and Senior Assistant Solicitor Lauren Davis Price representing the State. 

On August 13, 2017, Ahmed Neely and 4 co­defendants (Kailyn Dupree, Kemijai Anderson, Ethan Nichols, and Michelle Kirksey) conspired to commit an armed robbery of Travis Perry, who lived on Robinson Street in Pendleton. They believed Perry was a drug dealer and would have cash they could take from him. They retrieved a gun and drove to Perry’s residence. Their plan was for the three male co­defendants to rush into the house and commit the robbery, with Kailyn Dupree acting as their getaway driver. Michelle Kirksey had already proceeded to the home of Mr. Perry, as they had a prior relationship, and her role was to distract him and disarm him. It was confirmed by text messages sent between the defendants that Ms. Kirksey had successfully taken Mr. Perry’s gun and hidden it from him in his closet so he would be unarmed when the other co­defendants arrived. However, the group had not accounted for Mr. Perry’s housemate, Charles Hillery, who was on the front porch of the residence when the car pulled up and as the three male co­defendants approached. Anderson and Nichols, seeing Mr. Hillery, fled. Neely, however, engaged in a confrontation with Mr. Hillery. Mr. Hillary had a gun in his hand when he was struggling with Neely, but it was never fired, and it had apparently jammed. The defendant and Mr. Hillery struggled with one another, and during the struggle Neely stabbed Mr. Hillery at least 28 times, causing injuries which resulted in his death. Charles Hillery had no prior dealings or familiarity with the co­defendants in this case prior to this incident. 

Kailyn Dupree pled guilty to Attempted Armed Robbery and Accessory After the Fact to Murder, Kemijai Anderson pled guilty to Attempted Armed Robbery and Criminal Conspiracy, Ethan Nichols pled guilty to Accessory After the Fact to Murder and Criminal Conspiracy, and Michelle Guadalupe Kirksey pled guilty to Attempted AR and Criminal Conspiracy. All are now awaiting sentencing by the Court. 

Following the entering of the guilty plea, Solicitor David Wagner made the following statement: “This was a senseless act of violence committed by a young man who will now spend more years in jail than he has spent living on earth because he chose to take the life of another. I hope that young people who would be enticed to commit crimes in a misguided attempt to get cash fast will see how tragic this is and will instead pursue honest means of getting ahead through hard work.” 

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