LAWYER SAYS SHOOTING VICTIM DISPLAYED “IRRATIONAL” BEHAVIOR …
It’s been a day of big, breaking news related to last month’s “Castle Killing” outside of Greenville, S.C.
First, S.C. thirteenth circuit solicitor Walt Wilkins announced that his office was declining to prosecute wealthy local businessman Allen Stephenson – founder of the Southern Tide apparel company – in connection with the death of 32-year-old Matthew Whitman.
Next, attorneys for Whitman issued a statement indicating their displeasure with this decision – accusing Stephenson of “aggressively initiating” the conflict.
Now Stephenson’s attorney – former assistant solicitor Sloan Ellis – has issued his own statement.
Here is that statement in its entirety …
Contrary to the Whitman family lawyer’s prior statements that Mr. Whitman’s actions on March 19 were uncharacteristic of him, we have obtained an incident report showing that, shortly before incident leading to his death, Mr. Whitman’s own family felt compelled to seek police protection because of his behavior. When the deputies arrived at the home, Mr. Whitman was armed with a knife. A copy of the incident report is attached.
The incident report also states that either Mr. Whitman’s mother or grandmother inquired of the deputies as to how she could “make Mathew get help for his depression and ‘not acting like himself.’” The deputies advised the family as to the mental health resources available to them and the process to have Mr. Whitman involuntarily committed. As the Solicitor noted in his press conference, there is at least one other report of Mr. Whitman being confrontational on someone else’s property.
The Solicitor also pointed out that the family members identified the knife Mr. Whitman used to attack Mr. Stephenson. The Solicitor stated that the knife in question, a Smith & Wesson, is accurately described as a hunting knife or deer knife.
The result of the in-depth and lengthy investigation confirmed what Mr. Stephenson has said all along. On the morning of March 19, Mr. Whitman attacked Allen Stephenson with a knife at Mr. Stephenson’s home. Mr. Whitman was not hiking in the woods or photographing nature, as his family’s lawyers have suggested. He was right outside the home and was acting in an irrational manner, apparently similar to the manner his own family described him as acting when they felt the need to call for police protection. Mr. Stephenson is deeply saddened by the tragic events of March 19. However, Mr. Whitman left Mr. Stephenson with no alternative than to defend himself and his fiancée. The lawyer’s efforts to impugn Mr. Stephenson’s reputation are inappropriate. As the Solicitor made clear today the facts of this case render Mr. Stephenson immune from prosecution.
This case keeps getting crazier, doesn’t it?