Posts Tagged ‘South Carolina’

Judge Says 1944 Execution Of 14-Year-Old Boy Was Wrong

Thursday, December 18th, 2014


More than 70 years after South Carolina sent a 14-year-old black boy to the electric chair in the killings of two white girls in a segregated mill town, a judge threw out the conviction, saying the state committed a great injustice.

George Stinney was arrested, convicted of murder in a one-day trial and executed in 1944 – all in the span of about three months and without an appeal. The speed in which the state meted out justice against the youngest person executed in the United States in the 20th century was shocking and extremely unfair, Circuit Judge Carmen Mullen wrote in her ruling Wednesday.

“I can think of no greater injustice,” Mullen wrote.

The girls, ages 7 and 11, were beaten badly in the head with an iron railroad spike in the town of Alcolu in Clarendon County, about 45 miles southeast of Columbia, authorities said. A search by dozens of people found their bodies several hours later.

Investigators arrested Stinney, saying witnesses saw him with the girls as they picked flowers. He was kept away from his parents, and authorities later said he confessed.

His supporters said he was a small, frail boy so scared that he said whatever he thought would make the authorities happy. They said there was no physical evidence linking him to the deaths. His executioners noted the electric chair straps didn’t fit him, and an electrode was too big for his leg.

During a two-day hearing in January, Mullen heard from Stinney’s surviving brother and sisters, someone involved in the search and experts who questioned the autopsy findings and Stinney’s confession. Most of the evidence from the original trial was gone and almost all the witnesses were dead.

It took Mullen nearly four times as long to issue her ruling as it took in 1944 to go from arrest to execution.

Stinney’s case has long been whispered in civil rights circles in South Carolina as an example of how a black person could be railroaded by a justice system during the Jim Crow era where the investigators, prosecutors and juries were all white.

The case received renewed attention because of a crusade by textile inspector and school board member George Frierson. Armed with a binder full of newspaper articles and other evidence, he and a law firm believed the teen represented everything that was wrong with South Carolina during the era of segregation.

Frierson said he heard about the judge’s decision from a co-worker. He had to attend a school board meeting later in the day, so the news hadn’t sunk in yet.

“When I get home, I’m going to get on my knees and thank the Lord Almighty for being so good and making sure justice prevailed,” Frierson said.

Attorneys argued that Stinney should get a new trial, but Mullen went a step further by vacating Stinney’s conviction. Her 29-page order included references to the 1931 Scottsboro Boys case in Alabama, where nine black teens were convicted of raping two white women. Eight of them were sentenced to death.

The convictions were eventually overturned before the teens went to the death chamber and the charges were dropped. Mullen noted Stinney did not even get the consideration of an appeal.

The judge was careful to say her ruling doesn’t apply to other families who felt their relatives were discriminated against.

“The extraordinary circumstances discussed herein simply do not apply in most cases,” Mullen wrote.

Man Gets 35 Years For Killing Police Dog

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014


A man in South Carolina recently killed a police dog while running from police after committing a crime. He was just sentenced to 35 years, even though no one else was hurt. When police around the country are always killing dogs with no repercussions, is this really just? The Resident (aka Lori Harfenist) discusses.

DMX gets arrested again in South Carolina

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013


(CNN) — DMX may realize by now that South Carolina police know who he is and that he does not have a driver’s license.
The rapper — real name Earl Simmons — spent three hours in jail Monday night before posting bond on charges of driving with a suspended license, having no car tag or insurance, according to the Spartanburg County Detention Center website.
A police officer who was familiar with Simmons and his several recent arrests stopped him for questioning as he drove up to the front of the Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport Monday evening,

South Carolina Gas Falls Below $3 a Gallon

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

(CNNMoney) — Gas prices continued their nationwide decline on Tuesday, as South Carolina became the first state in nearly a year and a half to hit an average of less than $3 per gallon.

The statewide average price for South Carolina was $2.987 per gallon of unleaded gasoline on Tuesday, according to AAA. This is the first time that the statewide average in any state has dipped below $3 since Missouri crossed that line on Feb. 22, 2011.

McDonald’s Worker Faces Felony Charges After Being Caught Spitting In Customers Drinks

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

A McDonald’s employee is facing felony charges after caught spiting in two customers’ cups of iced tea after the drinks were returned for not being sweet enough.

Authorities in South Carolina say 19-year-old Marvin Washington Jr. was arrested Wednesday and charged with malicious tampering with food.

‘They go home, pop the lids off their sweet tea to put some sugar in it and low and behold, to much of their surprise, a very large chunk of bodily fluid and phlegm in the top of their drink,’ a health worker told WSPA

Greenville County investigators say surveillance video caught Washington leaning over the cups before he filled them Saturday at the Simpsonville restaurant for a mother and her daughter.

Naked man steals fire truck, runs over & kills pedestrian

Saturday, February 25th, 2012

PORT ROYAL, S.C. (AP) — A naked man stole a fire truck at a South Carolina apartment complex and sped away, killing a pedestrian who was walking on a sidewalk, authorities said Saturday.

The fire engine driver, identified as 26-year-old Kalvin Hunt, drove about two miles Friday before he hit a man, careened off the road and crashed into some trees, authorities said. Hunt, who was pinned inside the fire truck, was freed by rescue workers, and then started assaulting two police officers, deputy police chief Dale McDorman told The Beaufort Gazette.

Brana Rogerson said she narrowly avoided a collision with the stolen engine, which plowed into six or seven other vehicles as it barreled through an intersection in Beaufort, which is located along the southeast coast of South Carolina.

“I’ve never seen a fire truck come out of nowhere like that,” Rogerson said. “The truck didn’t have its lights on. I knew it wasn’t a fireman behind the wheel.”

Justin Miller, 28, of Port Royal, was killed when he was hit as he walked with his brother, Beaufort County Coroner Ed Allen said Saturday. Firefighters with the Beaufort-Port Royal Fire Department had responded to the apartments for a rescue call, Allen said.

Hunt had not been charged Saturday in Miller’s death, said Lance Cpl. Judd Jones of the South Carolina Highway Patrol, which is investigating the fatality. Hunt is from Sumter, which is in the central part of the state.

Hunt, who did not have a telephone number listed, was taken to Beaufort Memorial Hospital with injuries. The hospital did not have him listed as a patient Saturday.

A Beaufort police spokeswoman told The Associated Press no one was available Saturday to talk about the crash.

Woman Used Two Hollowed Out Bibles To Try To Smuggle Weapons, Drugs And A Cell Phone To A Prison Inmate

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

Two Bibles sent to the South Carolina Department of Corrections weren’t intended to save an inmate – at least not in the way corrections officers would hope.

Deputies say Sareca Latoya Jones, 28, from Kershaw, South Carolina attempted to deliver contraband items to an inmate by hiding them in two Bibles, which were hollowed out and contained a cell phone, razor knives, 30 ecstasy pills, and more than 28 grams of cocaine.

Jones was charged with several felonies, including trafficking cocaine, distribution of a controlled substance, and providing contraband items to an inmate.


Monday, November 14th, 2011

A modern day renaissance woman, Justina Brown was born in a small town in South Carolina, but the city lights of Atlanta were only a heartbeat away.

Fluently speaking, Justina is as well-versed in Spanish as English. Senorita Brown has a passion for the Latin lifestyle and can show anyone just that when she puts her salsa shoes on!

As a professional in Atlanta’s legal community, Justina has worked with some of the city’s top law firms. However, a natural born starlet, she is finally allowing her talent to bloom. This “Delicate Flower” is sure to entertain, move and inspire all that are fortunate enough to see her acting debut in The “Delicate Flower”.

THE HEAT: When did you fall in love with the performing arts?
BROWN: It’s been a passion since high school. I took a Theater class in the ninth grade and joined the Drama Club shortly thereafter. I was only cast for one high school production, but thoroughly enjoyed helping the actors behind scenes with makeup, costumes and preparing for the shows. All throughout college and since then, I’ve watched stage plays, but this is my first real production.

THE HEAT: What has been your inspiration as you’ve traveled your journey to this point?
BROWN: I’m a dreamer; my mind is constantly racing and there are tons of things I want to do. My friends inspire me; they are all talented and pursue their passions even if it means going against the grain. When I see my friends following their dreams and making things happen, that hypes me up to do the same. So I surround myself with this type positive energy.

THE HEAT: How did you get the role as Orchid in “The Delicate Flower”?
BROWN: Last year, I decided I wanted to get involved with some form of art. I looked online and happened to see the audition posting for “The Delicate Flower” at The fact that it was a choreopoem that had been adapted from a book caught my attention because I love spoken word. I went home that same day, found a monologue and learned it in twenty-four hours for the audition the next day. I have been on a journey even as an actress with this production. Initially, I was the understudy for Plum. When one of the actresses was unable to continue with the workshop, my role changed to Violet. After the workshop, Leta Lagaunda, who was previously Orchid, and I switched characters.

THE HEAT: Most actors/actresses play roles that have nothing at all to do with their personal life. How does your part in this production relate to your life, if at all?
BROWN: Orchid is the searching self, trying to understand her life and her uniqueness. I believe I could describe myself with the same words. I’m constantly trying to figure things out, continually evolving as an individual, regularly checking to make sure I understood something correctly, and always asking for confirmation. The director, Ereatha McCullough, say all the time, “Justina’s always got a question in her voice or face.” And it’s true. As far as the story Orchid tells—yes, it’s very personal.

THE HEAT: What are some other productions you have been in or a part of?
BROWN: I was Ms. Klein in my high school stage play, Children of a Lesser God. We performed it at a Regional Competition, but that’s as far as we got. “The Delicate Flower” is my first professional debut.

THE HEAT: If you could have one dream to come true at this very moment, what would it be?
BROWN: I would love to live in South America. I’m going to make that happen very soon, but right now I have a few responsibilities keeping me in the United States.

THE HEAT: What has been the most challenging part of “The Delicate Flower” to get produced and to the stage in your opinion?
BROWN: I work a full time job in a law firm and am a freelance Spanish translator. Juggling rehearsals with work schedule and finding time for salsa dancing and guitar practice has personally been my biggest challenge. I think the same can be said as true for the other cast members. We’re all either mothers, wives, full-time workers or students juggling responsibilities and making time for our passion. We’ve all had to sacrifice time we didn’t think we had to dedicate more energy to this production, but it’s going to make for a great show.

THE HEAT: Is there someone that today you would call your hero/shero?
BROWN: I do have role models like: my mom because she is so compassionate and possesses an overwhelming self-sacrificing spirit; my father’s determination is relentless; and my sister’s perseverance is unconquerable. I also admire folks like my grandmothers for their humility and wisdom and my grandfather, who has an unbelievable work ethic. But I don’t view any of these as my “heros” or “sheros”, they’re just amazing people I look up to.

THE HEAT: What’s next for you after “The Delicate Flower”?
BROWN: I’ve got a lot on my plate. I may take a brief break from the stage to focus on becoming proficient in speaking French and playing my guitar. I know for sure that my next audition will be for a role as a Latina. I speak Spanish fluently and enjoy Latin culture, so I think it’ll be exciting. Also, I recently had a photo shoot which was a load of fun. I’ve already submitted the pictures to a modeling agency… so who knows what door that might open.

THE HEAT: What is one thing you’re hoping that the audience will take away from “The Delicate Flower”?
BROWN: This play speaks to everyone, no matter what gender or walk of life they come from. Even if you haven’t gone thru some of the issues discussed in “The Delicate Flower”, you do know someone who has lost their home, been molested as a child, abused physically or emotionally, battled with feelings of regret from having had an abortion, or is struggling with a mental illness. All of us have been shaped by these or similarly traumatizing experiences, but the message of “The Delicate Flower” is “HEAL“. We can’t allow our past to hinder us from enjoying the future or building our self-worth. I hope everyone who sees the play will walk away knowing that they have the power to change any negative circumstance in their life for the better. No, it’s not easy; but it’s not impossible.

We will be looking to see what Justina is up to on the guitar days to come. As for her landing her first debut role in “The Delicate Flower” tells us that she’s truly ready for her season of opportunity. Justina thanks for stopping by “The HEAT” and sharing your story with our readers.

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It’s just “HOT” over at “The HEAT”…

Women Convicted Of Killing 3-Year Old Girl Fall Out In Court After Being Sentenced To Life In Prison (VIDEO)

Sunday, November 6th, 2011

Charleston County Courthouse officials tend to Erica Butts after she collapsed

A dramatic scene played out in a South Carolina courtroom as two women convicted of murdering 3 year old Serenity Richardson back in 2009 were sentenced to life in prison.

Serenity was in the care of Erica Mae Butts when she died. Police said Butts was caring for the girl while her mother tried to move from Detroit. Cunningham was living with Butts at the time of the girl’s death. Authorities said Serenity had bruises all over her body, a large burn on her leg and was beaten with a belt after wetting her pants.

Both women had been charged with homicide by child abuse.

Butts entered an Alford plea, meaning she maintains her innocence but acknowledged that she would likely be found guilty. Cunningham pleaded guilty.

After the verdict, court officials had to carry out both women as they collapsed and family members from both sides sobbed. Circuit Court Judge Deadra Richardson said nothing had ever affected her as strongly as the photos of the little girl’s battered body.


Sunday, November 6th, 2011

Bizarre courtroom scene as lesbian lovers collapse and wail after hearing they will serve life for murdering three-year-old girl Serenity Robinson.

A Charleston courtroom was the setting for a bizarre scene when two lesbian lovers collapsed, wailed uncontrollably and hyper-ventilated after hearing they would serve life for killing a three-year-old girl.

Erica Mae Butts and Shanita Latrice Cunningham had to be picked off the floor by court officials and held in chairs as they were wheeled out of the room.

Erica Mae Butts

Shanita Latrice Cunningham

The mother of Butts was physically thrown out by three staff members after shouting loudly at her daughter to, ‘Get up!’ then screaming, ‘I can’t leave my baby like this, my baby is out!’

As sobs echo from the gallery, a clerk can be heard to ask, ‘Do we have any EMTs in the building?’ while others try to get a panting Butts to slow down her breathing.

Butts and Cunningham, both 25 from Summerville, South Carolina, were told on Friday they will spend the rest of their lives in prison for beating Serenity Richardson to death in 2009 while the toddler was in their care.

Serenity was visiting Butts, her godmother and her mother’s best friend, and Cunningham, who was Butts’s lover, for two weeks at their home in Summerville, South Carolina when the abuse took place.

‘It is nearly impossible for words to accurately describe what these women did to that poor little girl,’ said Elizabeth Gordon, assistant managing solicitor for Charleston County.

‘They beat her repeatedly both with a belt and with plastic coat hangers. You can see the outlines of the strikes on this child’s body. There is not one area of this child’s body that was unharmed except for the soles of her feet.’

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