Showing posts with label criminal justice. Show all posts
Showing posts with label criminal justice. Show all posts

The guy who killed my brother

The Blogland may be down for a few days (but given the slowdown in writing since I started the new job, that may not be as unusual as it might've once been) as I'll be in court in Charleston this week.

Many of you have asked about the status of the case regarding Brandon Ancrum, who was charged with reckless homicide in the death of my brother back in July 2010. Well, that's why I'm going to be in court - the case is going to trial.

The case has moved forward with a very hands-on treatment by the Solicitor's Office. Some of the delay was due to the need to move some very time-sensitive major cases forward (let's face it, nothing in this case is changing) - moves which my family, myself included, endorsed.

Since getting out on bond, Mr. Ancrum hasn't let life slow him down, as evidenced by two subsequent traffic-related convictions. Apparently the requirement to turn in his driver's license and stay under house arrest didn't last long.

Let's hope the Lowcountry streets are a little safer after this week.






S.C. Prison cell phone hit survivor sues cell phone companies


For years, Robert Johnson was a prison Captain responsible for keeping contraband out of Lee Correctional Institution, a maximum security facility in Lee County. It's these efforts which authorities believed resulted in a hit being put out on him, resulting in someone bursting into his home and shooting him six times in 2010.

Investigators also believed the hit was ordered from inside the prison by an inmate using an illegal cell phone.

Johnson survived the shooting and no suspects have been identified in the case. He retired a year later and is now suing twenty cell phone companies, alleging they should have done more to block signals from inside the prison.

Johnson's experience isn't the only one. According to the Washington Post, it's not the first time a hit was ordered from prison:

Try Thug Control, not Gun Control

Two recent Rasmussen polls suggest that gun control advocates are going beyond the limits of popular support. While the first survey found that 74 percent of respondents agreed with the following statement: "Does the U.S. Constitution guarantee the right of an average citizen to own a gun?", the second one presented an even bigger question for those who think that passing laws is the answer to reducing gun violent. In that survey, 57 percent of respondents believed that there should be a greater emphasis on enforcing current laws over passing new ones.

When we see that, we can't help but think about websites like Charleston Thug Life, which recently ran this posting showing a collection of photos taken from Facebook pages of local hoodlums, some of whom are clearly underage, carrying weapons - including the photo shown on the right. This site has profiled many instances of convicted felons who committed crimes with weapons they weren't supposed to have in the first place and shown how, time and time again, dangerous criminals get light sentences and dropped charges, allowing them to run the streets and keep doing more of what they'd been doing.

Want to reduce the number of crimes committed by those with guns? It would seem logical that locking up the ones who commit them would be a good first step. 

Trooper Marvin Titus: End of watch, 11/20/1991

As Thanksgiving approaches, it's time to talk about what we're thankful for.

One of those things is our public safety officials, who look at places and situations we wouldn't  go into for a million bucks - and go there for a lot less. One of those heroes is State Trooper Marvin Titus. 

Twenty-one years ago today, Trooper Titus died in the line of duty in Bamberg County. He was shot three times with his own weapon and killed after chasing a man in a stolen car into a wooded area near the town of Denmark. The suspect was apprehended later in the night and sentenced to life in prison.

Titus is survived by his parents and eight siblings.



  • Marvin Leroy Titus' name has been engraved at the National Law Enforcement Memorial in Washington, DC. His name can be located on panel 8, E -18. 

  • A plaque bearing Marvin Leroy Titus' name is displayed at the South Carolina Law Enforcement Officers Hall of Fame in Columbia.

Charleston Thug Life has a posse?


The Blogland is a big fan of Charleston Thug Life - a website that has exposed the social media lives of hoodlums in the South Carolina Lowcountry, as well as those using illegal smartphones to communicate from prison. We've always enjoyed reading the website and occasionally linking to some of their research.

Their efforts have generated a lot of publicity. Dot Scott, the head of the Charleston NAACP (whose boycott of South Carolina doesn't seem to be working), accused the website of "concentrating just on these black guys" - but we're not buying it. Nor do we buy the charge by Chris Haire of the liberal Charleston City Paper that the website engages in "in-your-face race baiting" that is "is festering sore of libel and making an ass-out-of-you-and-me assumptions."

When one posts records from court websites showing arrests and convictions, it's not assumptions and it's not libel. 

One City Paper reader responded to Haire, defining the website as "like peopleofwalmart.com, but with guns...and in front of the bathroom mirror instead of in the checkout lane." That description fits rather well.

However, it seems others are taking the website more seriously. According to the Holy City Sinner website:

Parole Alert: Brian Nelson, Lowcountry double cop killer

It's not every day we ask for Blogland readers to help us - but it's not every day that someone who killed two cops has a parole hearing in South Carolina.

Brian Nelson (the guy on the right) faces a parole hearing for the hit-and-run deaths of Summerville Police Officer William Bell and Berkeley County Sheriff's Deputy Gene Wright, who were killed in the line of duty while attempting to assist a motorist on U.S. Route 17-A in Summerville. To date, he has served just EIGHT YEARS of a twenty year sentence. In our view, you don't drive over and kill two cops and just serve eight years (in our world, he'd be swinging from the gallows).

So yeah, we're opposed to Nelson's release, and we hope you will will join us in doing so.

If you want to go ahead and register your objections without reading any further, please visit the Department of Probation and Parole website (http://www.dppps.sc.gov/oppose_parole.html) and state your opposition to the release of Brian Nelson, SCDC inmate # 00292367.

His parole hearing is scheduled for July 25 - THIS WEDNESDAY - at 9:30 a.m. The hearing will be held via TV connection at the National Guard Armory in North Charleston on Cross County Road - AND IS OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.

If you can make it, we encourage you to attend.

If you'd like to know more about what happened, Valarie Bell Wright, the daughter of officer William Bell, provided this narrative about what took place:

More phones in SC prisons


While the FCC opposes allowing states to jam cell phones in prisons, the problem of inmates using cell phones in South Carolina prisons continues, as it does in many other states.

We'd like to share three Facebook profiles courtesy of the good folks at Charleston Thug Life, who do a great job of catching lowlifes online. All three are doing time  in South Carolina prisons: 

Mr. Green even posted his cell phone number in the photo above. We're sure he's lonely so give him a call.

Parole Alert: Brian Nelson, Lowcountry double cop killer

It's not every day we ask for Blogland readers to help us - but it's not every day that someone who killed two cops has a parole hearing in South Carolina.

Brian Nelson (the guy on the right) faces a parole hearing for the hit-and-run deaths of Summerville Police Officer William Bell and Berkeley County Sheriff's Deputy Gene Wright, who were killed in the line of duty while attempting to assist a motorist on U.S. Route 17-A in Summerville. To date, he has served just EIGHT YEARS of a twenty year sentence. In our view, you don't drive over and kill two cops and just serve eight years (in our world, he'd be swinging from the gallows).

So yeah, we're opposed to Nelson's release, and we hope you will will join us in doing so.

If you want to go ahead and register your objections without reading any further, please visit the Department of Probation and Parole website (http://www.dppps.sc.gov/oppose_parole.html) and state your opposition to the release of Brian Nelson, SCDC inmate # 00292367.

His parole hearing is scheduled for July 25 at 9:30 a.m. We'll keep you posted on the location.

If you'd like to know more about what happened, Valarie Bell Wright, the daughter of officer William Bell, provided this narrative about what took place:

Prison violence and the Clyburn connection

Our most recent discussion of the issue of cell phones in prison was a month ago. Guess what? It's becoming an increasing security risk in South Carolina prisons, as well as in other states.

Yesterday, inmates seized a guard and rioted at Lee Correctional Institution (prison). According to news media accounts, "inmates with illegal cell phones called Lee County dispatchers about the seizure of the guard. Many different inmates made the calls".

We're pretty sure that being able to jam cell phone signals in prison might've helped prevent the coordination of this attempted prison takeover.


Since Jim Clyburn's association with his daughter, FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, no doubt helped get her that well-paid job, perhaps he could ask her to allow the thirty-one states which have requested FCC approval to jam cell phone signals in prison. After all, if that brat is gonna hog at the trough, she might as well do something for the money. 

Hammond's Black Bike Week bust

Atlantic Beach Bikefest, commonly known as Black Bike Week, has gained a high degree of notoriety for unleashing a crime wave across the Grand Strand. The event and the Town of Atlantic Beach have drawn fire from a number of Horry politicos, including County Council Chair Tom Rice and State Rep. Tracy Edge.

This year, Secretary of State "Dirty Harry" Mark Hammond joined the festivities, teaming up with Horry County cops to raid event vendor stands, which are leased out by town government, arresting three and seizing over half a million dollars in fake merchandise.

Merchandise items seized in the bust included counterfeit merchandise included CDs, jeans, sunglasses, hats, handbags, shoes, wallets, cell phone covers, iPad covers, and DVDs. Some companies whose products were counterfeited included Air Jordan, Burberry, Chanel, Coach, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Jimmy Choo, Lacoste, Louis Vuitton, Major League Baseball, Motion Picture Association of America, National Hockey League, NCAA, NFL, Nike, Oakley, Polo, Recording Industry of America, True Religion and Versace.

For the life of us, we can't fathom how people would think they'd be buying legit brand-name products from a vendor's table, but we suppose not everyone has a clue.

But this raid was just the tip of the iceberg for the town that looks like the most corrupt and/or inept in South Carolina.

8th Circuit Solicitor's office DUI friendly?

If you're a drunk driver, you may find the counties of the Eight Judicial Circuit - Abbeville, Greenwood, Laurens and Newberry Counties - a friendlier place to drive than other Upstate counties thanks to incumbent Solicitor Jerry Peace.

A brewing issue in the ongoing Republican primary battle between Peace and challenger David Stumbo is over the low DUI conviction rate in the Circuit. Last fall, WSPA TV News 7 in the Upstate reported that in a four-month period last summer, over eighty percent of DUI cases in Greenwood and Abbeville Counties were dismissed, with Greenwood County's conviction rate was 18% and Abbeville’s rate at 22%.

While Peace says this was because defendants offered to plead guilty to a lesser charge like reckless driving, but when compared to other Upstate counties for the same time period, this conviction rate came in well behind the following counties:

Cleaning out the gene pool in the Lowcountry

If you try to rob someone, you might get shot. You might even get killed. Just ask Racarlton Alphonse Scott.

Oh, that's right, you can't ask him. He's dead.

Mr. Scott died after getting shot while trying to rob someone who had a gun. Sometimes that happens. The pathetic piece of crap tried robbing a North Charleston resident while he was putting his four-year old daughter in the car. 

We qualify our assessment of Scott as a pathetic piece of crap based upon his criminal record: Assault and battery (2007), Simple Assault and Battery (2007), and Strong Arm Robbery (2008). Given this series of convictions, we're left wondering what he was doing on the streets in the first place.

Two others, 20-year-old Jamel Prezzy and 24-year-old Jermaine Venning, were arrested for their role in the robbery gone wrong. While Prezzy had a clean record, Venning, didn't. He was convicted of drug dealing in Charleston County in 2006. 

A more detailed history of the short life of Mr. Scott is available from our friends at Charleston Thug Life, a website which chronicles the online social media activities of Lowcountry vermin. Their website is ALWAYS worth a visit.

SC inmates still on the phone - FCC AWOL?


Thanks to revelations from the folks with the Charleston Thug Life blog, which has made a name for itself trolling the ever-burgeoning world of urban hoodlums using social media, we get more evidence of inmates using phones in prison to keep in contact with the outside world. Two weeks ago, the website outed a number of inmates online, followed by a story in the Charleston Post and Courier which looked at the ongoing problem

Lieber Correctional Institution staff snagged well over seven hundred phones from inmates last year.

Meanwhile, South Carolina is one of 31 states which have requested permission from the FCC, which includes South Carolinian Mignon Clyburn - the daughter of S.C. Congressman Jim Clyburn (aka J.C. Hammer) - to implement cell phone jamming in prisons to neutralize this problem. 

We talked about this issue over a year ago - not surprisingly, they're still waiting.

Sex offender plea deal fuels heated 8th Circuit Solicitor race

A recent plea deal in a child molestation case has set off a storm of controversy in the GOP primary for the 8th Circuit Solicitor race, where incumbent Solicitor Jerry Peace's decision to cut a deal has generated a great deal of criticism, including from a national expert who declared "the handling of this case was highly irregular and troubling", as well as the family of the victim i the case.

This is the latest in a race which has turned into a heated battle between the incumbent and supporters of David Stumbo, a veteran prosecutor who has worked both in the state Attorney General's office as well as an assistant solicitor in the 11th Circuit.

Allegations have been made that Peace's office mishandled the case regarding Norman Keesee, a former music minister accused of molesting a child with cerebral palsy during music lessons. Keesee pled guilty to First Degree Assault and Battery (a non-sexual offense) and was given five years of probation and required to register as a sex offender. While it was indicated that the victim's family agreed to the sentence, a post-trial media interview indicated the family was blindsided in the courtroom on the day of the sentencing and disagreed strongly with the plea deal which was reached by Peace's office.

Inside Interview: Eleventh Circuit Assistant Solictor Ervin Maye

One of the most important, but often overlooked, roles in state government is the role of criminal prosecution. Working long and late hours for less than attorneys with private firms, they play a key role in our state’s judicial system. As issues related to crime and courts are one of our favorite areas of discussion, we always enjoy the opportunity to meet with the attorneys, judges and other officials in the system.

Recently we met with Ervin Jerome Maye, a Midlands prosecutor, when he was visiting the Lowcountry. We had a great time meeting with him and he agreed to share a little bit about himself and his work with Blogland readers, via our Inside Interview series of interviews.

About Maye’s background:

Charleston thugs exposed online


Our hats are off to the newest group of citizen activists - Charleston Thug Life - who are following the Charleston area's criminal element online.

Scrolling through their blog, it's ... interesting ... to see how brazen the losers of Charleston's gutter are in showing off via social media. We invite you to check out their work.

Reportedly, the blog, whose unidentified authors say their goal is to “expose as many of these hidden thugs as we can; for as long as we can”, have become a tool for local law enforcement.

Parole Denied


It took just five minutes for the parole board to deny double cop-killer Brian Nelson parole today in a standing-room only hearing.

The Blogland was there to show support for the family of Officer William Bell of the Summerville Police Department, one of the officers killed by Nelson.

We want to thank our readers who have shown their support, including by signing the parole petitions to keep Nelson behind bars.

For those of you not familiar with the case, here are the facts:

America's Most Wanted ... cancelled? WTF?!?


After over two decades on the air, one of the longest-running television programs - America's Most Wanted - got the ax from Fox television network officials. This announcment comes just weeks after the most notorious criminal to be featured by the program - Osama Bin Laden - was brought to justice by U.S. Navy SEALs and at the end of a season which, according to host John Walsh, "caught more guys than we've ever caught".

Which leads us to ask ourselves this question: What the hell are they thinking over at Fox?!?

By engaging the American public in the search for fugitives and missing persons through this TV program, John Walsh was able to turn a personal tragedy - the abduction and murder of his son - into something positive. This program has been a major asset for law enforcement agencies and a defender of those victimized by major criminals.

Fifteen years ago, a similar decision to cancel the show was made, only to be rescinded. We hope for a similar reversal of fortune this time will keep the program on the air - and dangerous fugitives on the run.

The high cost of a life of crime in Berkeley County

It seems as if Berkeley County isn’t a very friendly place for criminals these days.

Less than two weeks ago, three tried to break into a Moncks Corner residence to steal guns. One perp, Bobby Gadsden, was snuffed out by a homeowner acting in self-defense, while two others were later arrested as accessories.

Today, there’s yet another perp taking up space in the Berkeley County morgue. Jerome Darby, who attempted to disarm an arresting officer, may have failed to get the gun, but he was successful at getting himself killed.

According to a Blogland search, it appears that he may have been a rather busy fellow. We found the following convictions in Berkeley County court records (in addition to other charges for which he was not convicted):

Getting tough on Lowcountry scumbags


Two losers will be gone for a long time, thanks to a couple of Lowcountry judges ...

Last Thursday, Circuit Judge Kristi "Handcuffs" Harrington sents this Berkeley pedophile away for life:


The jury found Ronald Lee McCauley of Summerville guilty of three counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor, three counts of unlawful conduct toward a minor and two counts of lewd act upon a child, according to a statement released by the 9th Circuit Solicitor's Office.



Circuit Judge Kristi Harrington sentenced McCauley to three terms of life without the possibility of parole.

Then on Friday, Circuit Judge Deadra Jefferson gave this cop-shooter the max:

A jury took less than one hour Friday to find Brandon Simmons guilty of shooting Charleston County Sheriff's Deputy Jeffrey DeGrow six times.

Simmons, 22, received the maximum 25-year sentence from Circuit Judge Deadra Jefferson, 20 years for one count of assault and battery with intent to kill and five years for one count of possessing a firearm during a violent crime. The years will run consecutively.