Suspended South Carolina sheriff Kenney Boone has rejected a plea agreement that would have forced him to give up his office and serve a short jail sentence – but would have also allowed him to keep his law enforcement pension, sources familiar with the situation tell this news outlet.
Boone was prepared to plead guilty to a misconduct in office charge earlier this week, we are told, but reportedly changed his mind at the last minute.
It is not immediately clear what compelled Boone – who has been dealing with health issues in recent weeks – to reject the deal that was on the table after previously agreeing to accept it. According to our sources, the agreement initially reached between the suspended sheriff and prosecutors included a six-month prison sentence followed by three years of probation.
Boone, 53, would have been forced to give up his job as sheriff in connection with the guilty plea – but he would have been permitted to “keep his police retirement.”
None of our prosecutorial or law enforcement sources would speak to us about the case, although none of them disputed the information provided by our sources on the ground in Florence.
Indicted back in April on corruption charges, Boone was immediately suspended from office by statute. According to prosectors in the office of S.C. attorney general Alan Wilson, he used money from a federal narcotics fund to purchase “a variety of consumer type goods, including but not limited to bicycle equipment, groceries, coolers, baseball equipment, electronics or clothing.”
Meanwhile, a separate embezzlement indictment against Boone alleged that he used county funds on “a variety of consumer type goods, including but not limited to window tinting, floor mats, tools, lights, cooking appliances, a cooler, and groceries.”
In addition to these two embezzlement charges, Boone was slapped with a misconduct in office charge.
Boone has yet to be charged at the federal level with any crimes, although we are told charges could be filed against him at the conclusion of the state’s case against him.
(Click to view)
Last December, this news outlet exclusively reported that Boone was facing scrutiny at the county level related to the misuse of certain drug seizure funds.
Our reporting referenced “alleged irregularities in at least one account – a forfeiture fund comprised of cash seized during drug raids, traffic stops and related anti-narcotics actions.” We added that “county officials may dig deeper into the sheriff’s budget in the weeks to come, with one source hinting that a formal, forensic audit may be in the works.”
It has been a rocky few years for Boone, who was once widely respected within the Palmetto State’s law enforcement community. In addition to lingering health issues – which kept him out of the saddle for several months in 2017 and 2018 – things in his personal life have gotten dramatic.
Very, very dramatic …
In fact, we are told this drama is continuing as Boone reportedly made at least one 911 call last week in connection with some sort of domestic incident involving a friend of his wife, Anna Boone.
Interestingly, Boone remains a candidate for a fifth term as sheriff of Florence, although he is facing credible opponents in both the Republican primary and (should he miraculously win his party’s nomination) the 2020 general election.
WANNA SOUND OFF?
Got something you’d like to say in response to one of our stories? Please feel free to submit your own letter to the editor (or guest column) via-email HERE. Got a tip for us? CLICK HERE. Got a technical question or a glitch to report? CLICK HERE. Want to support what we’re doing? SUBSCRIBE HERE.