Defend The Children

South Carolina Victims

Child abuse bill gaining support

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— Rep. Bill Sandifer received a resounding statement from more than a thousand community members Thursday requesting his support of Bill H3786, which requires tougher sentencing on those convicted of homicide by child abuse.

The bill, which was first introduced to the House Judiciary Committee in March of 2009 by Rep. Joey Millwood, has gained an ardent supporter. Pam Grogan, great aunt of Brianna Bright, who died on Aug. 18 two days after being hospitalized due to alleged abuse by her father, Matthew Hinton, has drafted a petition in support of the bill.

Bill H3786 would amend Section 16-3-85 in the South Carolina Code of Law to increase the penalty of homicide by child abuse to life without parole and even the death penalty if decided upon by prosecutors. The current law requires a minimum of 20 years imprisonment up to a life term, with no possibility of the death penalty.

Grogan said she discovered the bill soon after baby Brianna died.

“I was researching the crime of homicide by child abuse, what the sentence was, what happened in similar cases in South Carolina, and it just led me to this,” she said.

Grogan said she was well aware that even if the law is changed, it likely would not change the sentencing of Hinton if convicted of the crime.

“That doesn’t matter to us,” she said. “The last day we saw Brianna in the hospital, we vowed to her that we were going to bring some good out of this. You kill an adult who’s not helpless and you get a stiffer sentence in this state than if you kill a helpless baby.”

On Aug. 16, Seneca police officers were called to Oconee Medical Center in response to a possible case of child abuse after EMS took 5-month-old Brianna from Northwoods Apartments, Apartment 129-F off of South Radio Station Road. Brianna was soon transferred to Greenville Memorial Hospital. By Aug. 18, the child was dead. A later autopsy showed she’d died from closed head trauma and also sustained multiple broken bones.

Grogan and her husband, Pat, held Brianna in some of the last moments of her life.

“I was in disbelief that anyone could possibly do that to a child,” she said. “I can’t remember another time when I felt like my heart was being torn apart like that.”

Today, Grogan is at the head of a push to get the new bill passed. She is not alone.

“I actually received a letter with a petition that had 1,1,00 signatures on it today,” Sandifer confirmed Thursday. “I’m in favor of the bill. I was in favor of it before I received the letter.”

That letter, he said, only strengthened his personal stance on the matter.

“One of the things that alarmed me when I got this letter is they quoted a statistic that there were 22 children killed by abuse in South Carolina in 2006,” Sandifer said. “That is a staggering number. That’s frightening. I think we have to look at the death penalty or life in prison without parole as a deterrent. If that deterrent saves one innocent child’s life, then it’s worth it.”

The bill will be looked at by the House Judiciary Committee and assigned to a subcommittee. The subcommittee will then vote whether to pass, amend or vote down the bill. Regardless, the bill would then go before full committee, where it would then voted down, amended and passed or passed as-is to the House for a vote. Sandifer said he was not yet aware of a timeline for a subcommittee’s consideration of the bill.

“When you’re dealing with a child, that is a defenseless individual. And the fact that an adult would kill a child by abusing it I think is the highest form of murder,” Sandifer said.

Meanwhile, the toll of Brianna’s death remains with Grogan and the rest of the child’s family. Grogan recalls watching her 14-month-old grandchild playing over the holidays and feeling a sensation of grief over the child who wasn’t there.

“I couldn’t help but think ‘they would be playing together right now,’” Grogan said. | (864) 973-6684

A woman accused of abusing her child is headed toward a trial after a judge upheld her arrest during a Friday preliminary hearing.

Ebonee Bowers, 23, is charged with child abuse by inflicting great bodily injury.

She appeared in General Sessions Court, tearing up and turning to look at her family and friends as Detective Todd Owens of the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office described the 17-month-old child’s injuries.

Owens said Bowers confessed to being frustrated, stepping on the child’s face and shaking her. The first time detectives interviewed her, Bowers said the child fell twice, once while her boyfriend, Dametrius Freeman, was watching her and once while Bowers was present, according to Owens.

Bowers’ attorney, Bruce Byrholdt, questioned Owens about Freeman’s credibility.

Freeman, 22, was arrested the same day as Bowers, Aug. 5, and he is charged with the lesser offense of child neglect.

SC police: Mom killed children before sinking car

ORANGEBURG, S.C. (AP) — A South Carolina mother who claimed her children drowned when her car careened into a river was charged with murder Tuesday after authorities said she confessing to suffocating the two toddlers and then faking the accident.

Sheriff Larry Williams said 29-year-old Shaquan Duley told investigators she was distraught about her money troubles and unemployment and that she killed her killed her children by putting her hand over their mouths after a dispute with her own mother. He says Duley then strapped the children into her car and drove it into a river Monday morning.

Anderson County Deputies arrested a couple, charging one of them with abusing her infant child, and the other for failing to report the abuse.

Deputies said a 17-month-old girl arrived at the hospital with a fractured skull and face, and burns on her body. Investigators determined the injuries were not accidental.

Deputies arrested the child’s mother, Ebonee’ Angelica Bowers, 23, and boyfriend Dametrius Wadell Freeman, 22.

Freeman is not the child’s father.

Bowers is charged with inflicting great bodily injury on a child, and Freeman is charged with unlawful neglect of a child. Warrants show Bowers to be the only one accused of phyically hurting the child.

Deputies say the two waited more than 24 hours to get the child medical help.

Warrants say Bowers stomped on the child's head repeatedly with her foot, while her shoes were on.

Bowers’ other two children – the infant’s twin sister and a two-year-old boy, showed no signs of injury.

All the children have been placed in protective custody.

The baby’s condition is listed as critical.

Bowers was denied bond Friday night, while Freeman was allowed bond.

Missing SC boy buried in concrete; dad arrested

MONCKS CORNER, S.C. — As the fruitless search was on for a missing 2-year-old boy with an infectious smile, authorities believe that all along he was buried under 400 pounds of concrete in a trash can.

The boy's father and his girlfriend were arrested Thursday, two days after the couple concocted a story about the boy falling into the Charleston Harbor near a popular tourist destination, authorities said.

On Wednesday, human remains were found that matched the description of the boy the couple had given. The body was wrapped in 32-gallon trash bags encased in concrete in a bin so heavy a farmer had to hoist it onto a county vehicle using a backhoe.

Authorities are awaiting DNA to confirm that it is Rodricus Williams, but they left little doubt they believe it is by charging Roger Williams and Grace Nichole Trotman with homicide by child abuse.

Police are still trying to figure out how the boy was killed, but Berkeley County Sheriff Wayne DeWitt said he had been beaten in the past and they were serving a hospital with search warrants to get more information on the treatment he received.

"During interviews, there was some talk about the child being struck on occasions," DeWitt said. "Our interpretation is, it was not by accident."

The saga started late Tuesday, Rodricus was reported missing to Charleston police. A woman said he possibly slipped through the railing at the Battery downtown, a tourist area and Civil War site known for its antebellum homes on the city's peninsula. The boy's mother was supposed to pick up Rodricus there, but police said he was never even in the area.

Officials and rescuers searched the historic harbor into the night by boat and helicopter, calling on nearly a dozen agencies to scour the sea and land for any sign of Rodricus. The boy's father, Roger Williams, and his girlfriend, Grace Nichole Trotman, seemed to cooperate at first.

By 5 a.m. Wednesday, the search was abruptly called off. Later that day, interviews with Williams and Trotman led them to an abandoned mobile home in a rural area some 55 miles northwest of Charleston, where the remains were uncovered.

Trotman has been cooperating with police while Williams has given investigators false information, DeWitt said.

Trotman has been charged by Charleston police with filing a false report and her bond was set at $250,000. Another judge denied bond for both on the more serious charges later Thursday.

Williams had stopped speaking with police and asked for a lawyer. He did not qualify for a public defender and it was unclear if he had an attorney yet. Trotman did qualify for a public defender but it was unclear if one had been assigned.

Police think Rodricus was killed in Trotman's quiet neighborhood in Summerville, about 30 miles northwest of Charleston.

Man who killed son also sentenced in beatings of two inmates

By Eric Connor • Staff writer • April 27, 2010


    A Greenville man who killed his son testified in court that it was his fear of going back to prison led that him to hide the 4-year-old’s body after he had drown in the bathtub in August 2007.

    Christopher Wilson, 35, was sentenced to 25 years in prison in the death of Javeion Mayes. Wilson also was sentenced to 10 years for severely beating two inmates while waiting for trial in his son’s death.

    In November 2007, Wilson stomped one inmate in the head and the other in the chest, said Assistant Solicitor Bryna Seay.

    The judge sentenced Wilson to 10 years in prison for the attacks, though the time will be served while Wilson serves the homicide by child abuse sentence. He must serve 85 percent of that sentence before he’s eligible for parole.

    The fight began, Wilson told the judge, when one of the inmates ridiculed him for being in jail on charges that he killed his son. The other inmate joined in to beat Wilson up, but Wilson told the judge, “I just got the best of them.”

    In late summer 2007, Wilson had just learned that he was the father of young twins.

    The 4-year-old boys — once cared for by another man who believed himself to be the father — were left in Wilson’s care on a sweltering night while their mother worked third shift.

    Taveion Mayes would live to see the next day.

    Javeion Mayes would lie dead beneath a forest of kudzu, his 33-pound body wrapped in trash bags and hidden by his father, who in a fit of frustration jerked him to the bathroom floor and left him to drown in a bath tub.

    “I’m sorry,” Wilson told a judge Monday. “If I could take it back, I would. This is something I get to live with the rest of my life.”

    The tragic details of Javeion Mayes’ final hours came to light in court as Wilson pleaded guilty to homicide by child abuse and described how a fear of going back to prison led him to hide his son’s body instead of calling for medical help while the boy clung to life.

    “He didn’t know anything about parenting,” Wilson’s attorney, Nihar Patel, told Circuit Judge Ned Miller, who also sentenced Wilson in the beatings of two men he attacked while housed in the Greenville County jail.

    Wednesday, March 31, 2010

    Dad charged with child abuse for serious injuries suffered by 19-month-old son (Laurens County, South Carolina)

    Police: Father Seriously Injured 19-Month-Old
    Child Has Bleeding On Brain, Retinol Tears

    March 31, 2010

    LAURENS COUNTY, S.C. -- A Laurens County man has been charged with child abuse after his 19-month-old son was rushed to Greenville Memorial Hospital with serious injuries including bleeding on his brain.

    According to a police incident report, Roderick Woodruff, 32, said he heard a noise from the child's room early the morning on March 26. Woodruff said he went in the child's room and found the toddler unresponsive laying on the floor next to a bunk bed the child shares with an older sibling.

    Deputies said Woodruff told them picked up the child and shook him to try to get the child to respond. When the child did not respond, Woodruff ran next door to his girlfriend's parents' home.

    Woodruff told deputies that the child's grandmother, Margaret Ginn, began performing CPR on the child. A short time later the child started breathing again.

    The report said Woodruff then picked up his son, and the child stopped breathing again. Ginn then performed CPR on the baby again.

    The toddler was rushed to Greenville Memorial Hospital. The police report said the child had bleeding on his brain and behind the eyes with severe retinal tears.

    The Laurens County Sheriff's office charged Woodruff with child abuse after they said the child's medical evaluation showed the injuries were too severe to have been caused by a fall.

    Woodruff was arrested Tuesday. He was released on a $40,000 bond.

    According the sheriff's office, the toddler and his older sibling were now in alternative care.

    Hillerby guilty
    Published Thursday, February 25, 2010 3:29 PM
    By Jim Tatum
    Berkeley Independent

    Summerville man gets life sentence for homicide by child abuse

    A Summerville man will spend the rest of his life behind bars after being convicted on a charge of homicide by child abuse/neglect.

    It took a jury a little over two hours Thursday afternoon to return a guilty verdict against Justin Hillerby in connection with the death of Blaise Preston Spoerl, the son of Hillerby’s live-in girlfriend at the time, Jennifer Spoerl.

    Despite requests from Hillerby’s attorney and his mother, Circuit Court Judge Kristi Harrington handed down the maximum sentence, life without parole.

    A gasp and a heartfelt shout of “yes!” from a family member of Blasé Spoerl greeted the sentence, despite the judge’s warning not to show outbursts of emotion.

    The incident occurred in September 2008 when Summerville Police responded to a call at a home on Dovetail Circle in Summerville. There they found 22-month-old Blaise Preston Spoerl lying dead in his crib. According to a report, the boy’s body was stiff, cold, and covered in blood.

    According to an arrest affidavit, Hillerby told investigators he had accidentally bumped into the child, striking him with his knee hard enough to knock him to the floor. Hillerby said that after striking him, he told the child to get up and “walk it off,” the affidavit says.

    The child wobbled to a seat, looking like a “zombie,” Hillerby told police.

    However, at first Hillerby told officers the boy was falling asleep in his highchair so Hillerby put him to bed, an incident report shows.

    According to the affidavit, after being placed in his highchair, the boy’s head “began to sway back and forth as if he had no muscle control.”

    Hillerby told officers he took the child from the highchair and carried him into his bedroom, accidentally hitting the boy’s head against the doorframe and against the crib, according to the affidavit.

    Later, about 1 a.m., the boy’s mother came home, intoxicated, according to witness testimony. She did not check on the child but did get into an argument with roommates about late rent. Then everyone went to bed.

    The next morning, Jennifer Spoerl found her son in his crib, lying on his back with a pool of blood near his body, the incident report says.

    A pathologist at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston performed an autopsy and determined the cause of the child’s death was blunt trauma to the head and the manner of death as homicide, the affidavit says.

    During the defense’s cross examination Thursday, Hillerby admitted to the jury he had changed his story several times because he was led by police detectives to believe that if he modified his statements, his story would match forensic evidence.

    “They said it was an accident and people don’t get in trouble for accidents,” he said.

    He also admitted to having a number of run-ins with the law, but never for any violent offenses. Finally, while he maintained throughout the entire 18-month ordeal that he does not know what happened that night, he also said he was not intoxicated that evening and he never, ever hit Blaise.

    His attorney, Michael Bosnak, characterized the case as a series of false confessions, with no physical evidence of any type pointing to Hillerby as the one responsible for the child’s death. Two roommates home that evening testified that they did not see anything unusual or out of the ordinary either with Hillerby or the child. One asked why the child was crying and sitting in the corner and Hillerby told them he had put the child in “time out” because he had spilled a drink.

    “I wouldn’t have hurt him – why would I,” Hillerby said, “If I had wanted to, I could have left.”

    Melissa Georgoulis, the mother of Hillerby’s own son, testified that she uses corporal punishment when her children misbehave, but that Hillerby never would.

    “Justin was a good father to my children – never laid a hand on any of them,” she said.

    However, she admitted that Hillerby had “popped” his son on his bottom at least once.

    “I wouldn’t call it a hit,” she said.

    Assistant Solicitor Anne Williams said that Hillerby’s story changed as time went on. When he found out the child had died from blunt force trauma, he gave a little more information.

    “He wanted to put his story in the best possible light,” she said.

    Williams also noted that Hillerby’s own words show he’s responsible. For example, in a telephone call between Jennifer Spoerl and Hillerby, Hillerby is heard saying, “Maybe I smacked him. When he hit the floor is when I guess it all started. I didn’t notice. I was drunk.”

    The prosecution pointed out that the horrific nature of the child’s injuries clearly showed that his death was no accident. According to a pathologist, the boy died of blunt force trauma, with some 23 different injuries inflicted around his head or face. The pathologist said those injuries could not have been inflicted by either open-handed blows or a fall to a carpeted floor.


    Trial Set To Begin For Man Accused In Child Abuse Case

    Child Suffered Bruises, 27 Fractures

    POSTED: 7:50 pm EST January 24, 2010
    UPDATED: 8:17 pm EST January 24, 2010

    The trial for a man whose son was brought to the hospital with 27 fractures is slated to begin Monday at the Oconee County Courthouse.
    Walhalla police called the case "one of the worst cases of child abuse they had ever seen."
    Michael Daniels, 19, is charged with three counts of inflicting bodily injury on a child and three counts of unlawful conduct toward a child.
    Investigators said Daniels lived at the Walhalla Gardens Apartment Complex with his 2-month-old son and the child's mother. In March 2008, the child's mother took the boy to Greenville Memorial Hospital.
    That's when medical staff found bruises and 27 fractures on the boy's body.

    Infant dies of apparent child abuse

    Charlotte, 01.24.2010



    A 6 month old Charlotte infant who was hospitalized in critical condition on Friday from apparent child abuse has died.

    Charlotte-Mmecklenburg police say baby London Brantley, died just before 5:00PM Sunday at the Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte.

    The boyfriend of the baby's mother, 23 year old Juan Sabastian Vega, was arrested and charged with felony child abuse on Friday. No word on if those charges will now be upgraded.

    Vega is currently being held undeer a $7500 secured bond.

    18-Year-Old South Carolina Father Charged With Shaking Son to Death

    Friday, January 22, 2010 

    LEXINGTON, S.C. —  An 18-year-old South Carolina man has been charged with homicide by child abuse after authorities say he killed his five-month-old son.

    Lexington County Sheriff James Metts says a judge denied bond Thursday for Lexie Dial III of Gaston.

    Authorities say Dial shook his son, Joshua, so violently Tuesday night at their home that the boy stopped breathing. Paramedics took the boy to a hospital, where he died the next day from swelling and bleeding on his brain.

    It was not immediately clear if Dial had an attorney. He could face life in prison if convicted.

    SPARTANBURG, S.C. -- A Lyman man was sentenced to 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to felony child abuse on Monday.
    July 7,2009

    A Lyman man was sentenced to 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to felony child abuse on Monday.
    July 7,2009
    Brian Hollingsworth was arrested after his 23-day-old baby was found to have suffered skull fractures and broken ribs, investigators said. They said Hollingsworth admitted to beating the baby.

    Lexington County (WLTX) -A man charged with homicide by child abuse has been denied bond.

    Christopher Jason Elrod, 30, had his first appearance in Lexington County Bond Court, Saturday afternoon. According to Lexington County Detention Center officials, he was denied bond and future court dates are pending. He is still being detained at the Lexington County Detention Center.

    Elrod was arrested Friday by Lexington County Sheriff's Deputies who say he killed his daughter by suffocation. He's been charged with homicide by child abuse.

    The warrant against him states that on December 7, 2008, Elrod held his daughter, Calen Elrod, tightly against his body. Deputies say his actions obstructed the girl's ability to breath, and the coroner's office determined she died from suffocation.

    Deputies say on Friday,  an interview with Elrod allowed them to get information that helped establish probable cause in the case, allowing them to formally charge Elrod.

    Published: Wednesday, July 8, 2009 at 4:47 p.m.
    Last Modified: Wednesday, July 8, 2009 at 4:47 p.m.

    CHESNEE — An 8-year-old girl who wanted to spend Wednesday afternoon swimming was brutally shot to death by the estranged husband of her father’s girlfriend, authorities say.

    The Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office plans to charge 50-year-old Ricky Lee Blackwell, of 248 Ridings Road, with murder and kidnapping once he recovers from surgery.

    Officials said Blackwell grabbed the child, put her in a headlock and shot her once in the head not far from his double-wide mobile home. The man proceeded to shoot her at least three more times as she was falling to the ground, and perhaps while she was on the ground, Spartanburg County Coroner Rusty Clevenger said.

    The tragedy occurred about 3 p.m. on 244 Ridings Road — a narrow road in a rural area of Spartanburg County not far south of Highway 11 between Chesnee and New Prospect. A few mobile homes are the only dwellings on the road.

    Blackwell and his wife used to live together on Ridings Road, though the two are now estranged. Their adult daughter lives in a unit nearby, at 244 Ridings Road — the scene of the crime.

    Blackwell’s estranged wife brought her boyfriend’s child, Heather, to 244 Ridings Road Wednesday afternoon to go swimming.

    “When she got here, her estranged husband showed up — he lives next door — I don’t know if he saw her pull in, if he knew she was coming or what,” said Master Deputy Tony Ivey with the Sheriff’s Office said. “That’s when everything took place.”

    Heather Brooke Center, 8, of 981 Lightwood Knot Road in Woodruff, died from a gunshot wound to the head, Clevenger said. He called the shooting “heinous.”

    Deputies were dispatched to the scene just before 3 p.m., a criminal domestic violence call.

    They arrived and saw the girl, Heather, lying facedown in a driveway. She had a gunshot wound in one leg, a pool of blood in the center of her back, and blood coming from her right ear, according to an incident report. She did not show any signs of life.

    Witnesses said Blackwell fled into the nearby woods. Investigators arrived and began searching for him.

    Blackwell emerged and shot himself in the side, Sheriff Chuck Wright said. When asked whether that was an attempt at suicide, Wright said he thought so.

    “Once our officers got on the scene, people here, at the home, began to point in the direction of Ricky’s home and said, ‘He’s that way.’ That’s when deputies began sweeping the area,” Ivey said.

    Deputies had their guns drawn and ordered the man to drop his weapon. He wouldn’t, Ivey said. They did not fire at Blackwell, Wright said.

    Late Wednesday, Blackwell was just out of surgery. Wright said investigators wanted to make sure he was fully coherent before they interviewed him so there would be “no excuses” later on.

    When the Herald-Journal contacted the girl’s biological father, Bobby Center, late Tuesday, he said, “Now is not a good time” but indicated he may be able to talk about his daughter in the near future.

    How long Blackwell and his estranged wife have been separated wasn’t immediately clear.

    “It’s a bad scene,” Wright said. “You have a baby who is deceased who had nothing to do with it. It’s pitiful.”

    Neighbors, who asked not to be identified, said they rarely heard any commotion from the residences over on Ridings Road.

    “He must have just lost it,” one neighbor said. “I really don’t know why he done what he done. But in my mind, Ricky has always been a fine man.”

    comment from Defend---  Losing it is no excuse for harming anyone much less an innocent child.  We believe this was an act of a depraved individual  and not simply a good man who lost it.  Everyone has stress and many get divorced and deal with exs finding others and they cope with it.  This was cold blooded murder and it is more than likely not the first act of violence this man has committed.  He wanted to hurt this child's father and he met his goal.  May this little girl rest in peace.

    Anderson County


    Victim(s): Jeremy Dickerson (7 years)

    Date of Death: July 2009

    Father with "full custody" charged in son's beating death.

    Chester County

    GREENVILLE, S.C. -- An 18-year-old man is now charged with homicide by child abuse after his girlfriend's 1-year-old son died Thursday of severe injuries.
    The battered child, identified as Xavier Lee Polston, was brought to Greenville Memorial Hospital on Tuesday night. He had been in critical condition and taken off life support just before noon on Thursday.
    Deputies said that the child was a victim of severe child abuse. Investigators said he was punched, slapped, struck with a belt and dropped 3 to 4 feet to the ground.
    Around 8 p.m. Tuesday, EMS was called to Heritage Mobile Home Park off Anderson Road after a report of a child not breathing.
    Deputies said that they found the baby's mother, Christina Angelina Miraglia, and her boyfriend, Timothy Leroy Massey, kneeling near the child inside the mobile home.
    Lt. Tim Ridgeway with the Greenville County Sheriff's office said emergency medical workers performed CPR on the 1-year-old and took him to Greenville Memorial.
    "It's always hard to see a child injured like this," Ridgeway added. "It's traumatic for everybody to see something like this because they're so helpless."
    Deputies said Massey was alone with the baby and Miraglia's 4-year-old child when the injuries occurred.
    Miraglia will not be charged in the case, investigators said, but the 4-year-old was removed from the home and is in Department of Social Services custody.
    The 4-year-old was also bruised around the face and had a bite mark on his shoulder, the sheriff's office said.
    Massey is being held without bond in the Greenville County Detention Center. If convicted, Massey faces 20 years to life in prison on the homicide charge.
    It didn't take long for people at the Heritage Mobile Home Park to learn that the boy had been hurt.
    "To be honest with you, I think I had maybe two hours of sleep last night because I haven't done anything but cry," said neighbor Debbie Banks.
    "It's real sad to me and all of us," neighbor Betty Whitaker told WYFF News 4's Myra Ruiz. "It's tore our nerves up.
    "This would be another example of a young individual that finds himself in a situation where either they're not able to control their emotions or for some reason they were just forced into doing something they wouldn't normally do," said Greenville Sheriff's Office Deputy Matthew Armstrong.
    The mobile home park manager said that Miraglia, Massey and the children had just moved in on Monday.
    "The child was struck, the child was dropped, the child was also beaten with a closed fist, open fist, as well as a belt," Armstrong said.


    Baby Died From Starvation


    Siblings of starved toddler stay in foster care

    Three children living in a dilapidated S.C. home where a starving toddler was found will remain in foster care as their parents face homicide charges.

    The Item of Sumter reported Friday that Family Court Judge Jeffrey Young ruled the children - ages 4, 6 and 9 - will remain in protective custody while officials decide if the youngsters can be released to relatives.

    The 17-month-old boy weighed less than 9 pounds before he died. He was found Monday in a home in Sumter infested with rodents and dog feces.

    Twenty-three-year-old Marketta McCray and her husband, 25-year-old Kevin Isaac, face charges including homicide by child abuse or neglect. They could face life in prison if they are convicted.

    Parents ordered to take parenting classes while facing possible 20 years to life for murder by child abuse.

    The parents of a Bamberg County baby are facing child abuse charges…Harold Edward George, Jr., 23, is accused of injuring his eight-month-old daughter. The child’s mother, 21-year-old Thelma George is accused of allowing the abuse, and failing to report it.

    Click here to find out more!

    Month-Old Baby’s Skull Fractured; Father Arrested

    Father Hit Baby, Fractured His Skull, Deputies Say

    POSTED: 9:11 am EST January 24, 2008
    UPDATED: 11:20 am EST January 24, 2008

    Deputies arrested the father of a 1-month-old baby whose skull was found to be fractured.
    Deputies said the investigation started after the baby’s parents took him to the hospital. They told doctors that their child was just not acting normally.
    “The mother is the one that noticed something wasn’t right,” said Master Deputy Michael Hildebrand. “She called her parents and that’s how the child ended up in the hospital.”
    Doctors said when the baby boy arrived at the hospital last Tuesday, he had several fractures in his skull. Doctors told deputies the injuries appeared to be the result of child abuse.

    Investigators then started asking the baby’s parents questions.
    “The father came down here for an interview,” Hildebrand said. “As we were talking to him he admitted to hitting the child in the head, which we believed caused some of the fractures.”
    Deputies said 26-year-old William Dickson admitted he hit the baby on Jan. 12. They said the baby wasn’t taken to a doctor until five days later.
    The baby is now hooked up to a ventilator, but is expected to recover.
    Dickson was being held at the Greenville County Detention Center on a $100,000 bond.

    Click here to find out more!


    CHESTER, South Carolina (AP) -- South Carolina man held his wife and two sons captive for nearly four years, a in a house infested with maggots and human waste, authorities said.

    The boys slept on a bare mattress.  Their mother was kept in a drug-induced stupor. Police found maggots in the refrigerator. Human waste and used toilet paper littered the bathroom floor, and the house smelled like a dead animal, according to police photographs and authorities who visited the home after Dove was arrested this week.

    "There was chaos everywhere," Chester County Sheriff's Detective Scott Thompson said Thursday. "I don't think we'll ever really determine how it happened -- how you get to live like that. I think he got so wrapped up in drugs and wanting to control everything, nothing else mattered."

    The young boys, ages 4 and 8, did not go to school. and wererarely were allowed out of the house. A video camera monitored their room and the doors to the home.

    Dove, 45, fed his wife, Tamara, with prescription painkillers, cocaine and crack, and forbade her to go outside, police said. Thompson said he did not expect the 37-year-old mother would be lucid enough to be interviewed for weeks.

    "People don't understand why she just doesn't leave," Thompson said. "But with a little intimidation and a lot of drug use, this is what they grew to know as normal life."

    Dove was charged with two counts of distribution of a controlled substance, two counts of criminal conspiracy, operating a gambling establishment and two counts of child neglect. He remained in jail Thursday without bail. If convicted, he faces up to 40 years in prison.

    But Dove's mother said that her son held no one hostage and that his wife was the root of the couple's drug addiction.

    "She's driven my son crazy," Helaine Young said in an interview at her home.

    Young said she threw up when she visited the home with police, her first visit since Christmas 2005, when she said she left after being threatened by her daughter-in-law.

    Young said her son was once a wealthy owner of several convenience stores, paying for anything his wife requested, including baby sitters and house cleaners. Her son installed the cameras for the family's security when he renovated the home in a rural town near the North Carolina line, she said. The pair met about 13 years ago, Young said.

    Young, who has taken care of the couple's 12-year-old son since he was an infant, said she has asked the Department of Social Services repeatedly over the last six years to investigate.

    "We have had reports in the past, and the nature of the reports are currently under review," agency spokeswoman Marilyn Matheus said. "It's too early to tell what exactly happened when."


    Rest in Peace
    Sandra and Jesse

    York County Detectives Rule Deaths Of Mother, Son A Murder-Suicide

    POSTED: 11:01 pm EST February 15, 2007
    UPDATED: 5:35 pm EST February 16, 2007

    YORK COUNTY, S.C. -- Detectives say a York County woman killed her child before shooting herself in a house on Saluda Road on Thursday evening.

    The woman’s boyfriend and the boy’s father, Joe Helms, came home from work and found the two dead on the kitchen floor at the home near Autumnwood Drive, right at the York and Chester County line. He called 911 around 6:45 p.m.

    Detectives with the York County Sheriff’s Department said the woman, 46-year-old Sandra Sue Glover, shot 7-year-old Jesse Helms in the back and in the head before turning the revolver on herself. The weapon was still in her hand when deputies arrived.

    Glover had been convicted of domestic violence against her boyfriend earlier in the week. The judge gave her a suspended sentence but said she had to agree to alcohol counseling and had to take a course for betterers. The couple was also ordered to stay apart.

    York County Sheriff's Lieutenant Tim Hager said officials are trying to put together a timeline of the incident. Glover picked her son up from Oakdale Elementary School, which she was allowed to do, and the shootings occurred sometime after 4 p.m., Hager said.

    Investigators would not say whether Glover left a note. Autopsies are being conducted on both bodies.

    Officers say they’re having a hard time with the investigation because many of them have young children themselves.

    “Everybody on scene from the uniform guys up to the captain has kids, so we had a job to do and we did it, but now the reality is sinking in a little bit, and it's a bit tough,” Hager said.

    Neighbors and the boy’s classmates are also trying to make sense of the tragedy. Oakdale Elementary School’s flag was flown at half-staff in honor of Jesse Helms, who others described as happy and gentle. They said he loved school.

    Principal Neil McVann said he feels a deep hurt for Jesse’s teacher, who had to break the news to her class of second-graders that one of their own is gone.

    “She is a true professional and really has a heart for the kids, and I think she’ll do a lot of crying this weekend,” he said.

    McVann said Glover always picked her son up, and he never thought anything was wrong. The incident has left him flabbergasted.


    While these statistics are about women, please think of the children impacted by these crimes.

    In 2005, South Carolina ranked seventh in the United States for the rate of women killed by men.

    --43 women were killed by men.

    --22 victims were black, and 21 victims were white.

    --38 knew their suspected killers.

    --30 were wives, common-law wives, ex-wives or girlfriends of the offenders.

    --21 women were shot to death; 17 of those were killed with handguns.

    --Nine women were slain with knives.

    --Five women were killed by bodily force.

    --One woman was killed with a blunt object.

    An overwhelming majority of women slain by men in South Carolina know their killers, according to the latest report from the Violence Policy Center. The

    Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit group analyzed 2005 homicide figures and found that all but five of the 43 women slain in South Carolina knew their killers. Thirty were wives, ex-wives or girlfriends of the assailants

    Click for South Carolina on my mind

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