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Kenney Boone Is Getting Baptized

Latest on Florence SC sheriff saga …

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Florence County, South Carolina sheriff Kenney Boone will receive the sacrament of baptism in two weeks’ time – just days before he is scheduled to wed his fiancée, Anna Hovey.  Arrangements for both religious services remain in the works, but the couple’s wedding date has reportedly been set for August 18.

Boone and Hovey have dated on-and-off for several years, with their relationship first crossing our radar in May of 2016 as Boone campaigned successfully for a fourth term as sheriff.

They became engaged earlier this summer.

Here’s a look at the happy pair …

(Click to view)

(Via: Provided)

As for his impending baptism, sources close to Boone tell us the embattled sheriff “recommitted his life a few months ago” and is planning a Sunday ceremony with “his friends and a few others.”

Meanwhile Boone’s critics – who appear to be gaining in number, confidence and volume in recent weeks – blasted the baptism as a publicity stunt.

“Seems like a marketing campaign to get people back on his side,” one former Boone backer told us.  “Such a scam.”

Either way, Boone’s baptism and wedding come at a chaotic time in the life of the 52-year-old lawman.  After an aborted stint in a North Carolina rehab facility last year to treat an addition to alcohol, Boone has seen his fair share of drama this year.

As we exclusively reported earlier this month (and followed up on here), Hovey’s ex-husband – Alex Curlington – is accused of threatening to kill Boone during a verbal altercation that allegedly took place on the evening of July 15 at 418 Chatham Place in Florence (a.k.a. Hovey’s home).  Threatening the life, person or family of a public official is a felony in South Carolina, and those convicted of it face up to five years in prison.

Curlington has denied threatening to kill Boone, but sources close to the energy industry worker tell us he was angry over a picture Boone posted to Facebook showing the sheriff kissing Curlington’s young daughter.

Take a look …

(Click to view)

(Via: Provided)

“That’s what set him off,” one of Curlington’s friends told us, referring to the picture.  “Wouldn’t it have set you off, too?”

Probably … but as we noted in our original coverage of this drama, the law is the law.

“It’s okay to criticize elected officials … including calling them vulgar names and wishing them dead,” we wrote.  “But you can’t threaten to kill them.  That’s when the right to free speech intrudes upon a greater liberty of another.”

The alleged threats against Boone were being probed by agents of the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) – but the statewide agency called off its inquiry after learning Boone had also contacted detectives of the Richland County sheriff’s department and gotten them to launch an investigation into the incident, too.

It’s not immediately clear how one sheriff’s office has jurisdictional authority over a case in another county … nor is it clear how Boone had the authority to choose which sheriff investigated him.

Frankly, we would have preferred it if SLED had stayed on the case.

Either way, our guess is those questions will loom large in the event charges are filed against Curlington.

Also, it is worth remembering that Curlington’s current wife – Genia Curlington – is currently employed by SLED and is alleged to have witnessed the exchange between her husband and the sheriff.

Quite the soap opera, huh?

Further complicating this criminal drama (to the extent that is possible)?  Any charges that may be filed against Curlington would be handled by S.C. seventh circuit solicitor Barry Barnette, whose office is based in Spartanburg, S.C.

This case is all over the map, in other words.  Literally …

Boone’s saga took another bizarre twist last week when this news site exclusively reported on threats allegedly made by the sheriff toward a local government official.

According to our sources, Boone was involved in a dispute with Kevin Yokim – the director of finance for Florence County (the governmental entity which oversees expenditures made by Boone’s office).

The nature of the dispute between Boone and Yokim is not immediately clear, but at some point during their disagreement Boone is alleged to have called Yokim “and left threatening voicemails” for him.  Neither the messages nor transcripts of the recordings have been provided to this news site, but a source who heard the tapes told us they “easily could qualify as unlawful use of (a) telephone.”

Robert Kittle, a spokesman for S.C. attorney general Alan Wilson, told us last week that his office had received copies of the voicemails.

“We do have the tapes and are reviewing them,” Kittle told us, adding that “no decision” had been made as to what action(s) would be taken.

We will update our readers as soon as Wilson’s office has made a determination regarding the voicemails.

In the meantime, what do you think of Boone’s baptism?  Is it a manifestation of true faith?  Or political opportunism?

Despite all of the drama swirling around him, Boone has made it clear he intends to seek a fifth term as sheriff in 2020.  Is this the unofficial launch of his reelection campaign?

Vote in our poll and post your thoughts in our comments section below …

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