Crime & Courts

South Carolina Victims’ Rights Rally Scheduled

When will Palmetto State leaders listen?

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For the second year in a row, victims’ rights advocates in South Carolina are rallying at a pivotal moment in the fight to fundamentally reorient the Palmetto State’s so-called “justice” system.

Will this be the year they finally succeed in convincing powerful lawyer-legislators to start putting victims’ interests – and the interest of public safety – ahead of the interests of the violent criminals who continually re-victimize them?

Or will their appeals for fair treatment continue to go unheeded?

The S.C. Victim Assistance Network (SCVAN), the S.C. Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (SCCADVASA), community partners, assault survivors and their families and friends have announced plans for a rally at the S.C. State House on May 9, 2023 at 9:00 a.m. EDT.

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Last year’s rally came as the saga of accused teen rapist Bowen Turner was generating national headlines.

To recap: Turner controversially received probation last April after pleading guilty to simple assault in connection with his June 2019 arrest on a criminal sexual conduct charge. Despite the 2019 charge being the third sexual assault charge leveled against Turner in a period of less than two years, he didn’t even have to register as a sex offender.

Turner’s plea deal – adjudicated by S.C. circuit court judge Markley Dennis – was appealed due to multiple alleged violations of victims’ rights. While awaiting the outcome of this appeal, however, Turner was arrested in his hometown of Orangeburg, S.C.

S.C. circuit court judge Roger M. Young Sr. sent Turner to prison last July – revoking the sweetheart probation deal negotiated by his lawyer, powerful state senator Brad Hutto of Orangeburg, S.C. Turner is currently serving time at Turbeville Correctional Institution – a medium security prison for youthful offenders located in Clarendon County, S.C. He is eligible for release on July 13, 2023.

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SCVAN/ SCCADVASA Rally poster (Provided)

This year’s rally comes on the heels of another high-profile judicial branch scandal – the illegitimate, illegal and unconstitutional release of convicted murderer/ gang leader Jeroid J. Price last month.

Price – a leader of the Bloods gang – shot and killed University of North Carolina football player Carl Smalls in the early morning hours of December 7, 2002 following an argument at Club Voodoo in Columbia, S.C. A jury took just thirty minutes to convict him of Smalls’ murder – and he was sentenced to 35 years in prison by former S.C. circuit court judge Reggie Lloyd.

At the time of the shooting, Price was referred to as a “superior” in the Bloods gang – heading up a chapter referred to as the “GKB,” or “Gangster Killer Bloods.”

Price was supposed to serve every day of his sentence per the Palmetto State’s mandatory minimums statute – S.C. Code of Laws § 16-3-20 (A). In other words, he was ineligible for release until 2038. Nonetheless, circuit court judge Casey Manning set him free with more than fifteen years remaining on his 35-year sentence.

Price was released on March 15, 2023 from a prison in New Mexico – where he was being held as part of an “interstate cooperation compact.” He was previously held in numerous S.C. Department of Corrections (SCDC) facilities since his 2003 conviction – as well as a New York prison as part of another “interstate cooperation compact.”

According to sources familiar with the situation, Price was moved to New Mexico on at least one occasion after allegedly calling in “hits” on not one but two SCDC wardens.

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Price’s release also violated the victims’ bill of rights provision of the S.C. Constitution (Article I, Section 24) – which holds that crime victims “be informed of any proceeding when any post-conviction action is being considered, and be present at any post-conviction hearing involving a post-conviction release decision.”

Neither of those things happened in this case …

“Every day, it seems that we see another headline or story where victims have been failed in some way,” SCVAN attorney Sarah Ford said. “Enough is enough. Victims deserve better, and we will rally and advocate and file motions on behalf of crime victims until the words in the Victims’ Bill of Rights in our South Carolina Constitution are enforced in ALL courts, across our entire state.”

The upcoming rally will feature a press conference at 9:30 a.m. EDT followed by advocacy efforts in the lobby of the State House at approximately 10:30 a.m. EDT. Ford told us she is hoping for a large turnout as the need for reform within the Palmetto State “justice” system becomes more apparent – and more pressing – every day.

“This is for victims and survivors, advocates, law enforcement, EVERYONE to support victims and their rights,” she said. “We will hear from victims rights lawyers, victims, legislators – and more.”

As we did last year, this news outlet will attend the rally and provide coverage …

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

Jenn Wood (Provided)

Jenn Wood is FITSNews’ incomparable research director. She’s also the producer of the FITSFiles and Cheer Incorporated podcasts and leading expert on all things Murdaugh/ South Carolina justice. A former private investigator with a criminal justice degree, evildoers beware, Jenn Wood is far from your average journalist! A deep dive researcher with a passion for truth and a heart for victims, this mom of two is pretty much a superhero in FITSNews country. Did we mention she’s married to a rocket scientist? (Lucky guy!) Got a story idea or a tip for Jenn? Email her at jenn@fitsnews.com.

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2 comments

Avatar photo
The Colonel Top fan April 24, 2023 at 10:06 am

Where is Price? GOB Turner is down in the Youthful Offenders program at Turbeville.

Reply
Bye, shitbird April 24, 2023 at 1:18 pm

Wonder if Tucker Carlson will address this on his show tonight?

Reply

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