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Crime & Courts

Chief Justice Was Warned Convicted Killer Was A ‘Flight Risk’

And Donald Beatty did nothing …

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South Carolina chief justice Donald Beatty was warned a week ago that convicted killer and gang leader Jeroid J. Price – who was illegally and unconstitutionally released from the custody of the S.C. Department of Corrections (SCDC) last month by retiring judge Casey Manning – was both a flight risk and a danger to the community.

Not only that, Beatty was expressly encouraged to take Price into custody prior to Wednesday’s big hearing in front of the state supreme court – which voided Manning’s order by a narrower-than-expected 3-2 margin.

News of Price’s release was first reported by this news outlet last Monday. Over the intervening days, the story dominated headlines across the Palmetto State as prosecutors and politicians scrambled to determine how Price got out of jail … and more importantly, how to get him back behind bars.

S.C. attorney general Alan Wilson filed a “writ of prohibition” (.pdf) on Thursday, April 20, 2023 urging the court to “arrest Jeroid J. Price (and) return him to the custody of the South Carolina Department of Corrections immediately.”

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“While we are still unsure about several circumstances surrounding his release, we are certain Judge Manning’s order is void,” Wilson said in a statement accompanying the writ.

Indeed it was … although it was incredibly disappointing to hear Beatty and justice George C. “Buck” James use the hearing as an opportunity to evade accountability for the judicial branch’s latest travesty. It was especially troubling to hear James claim that Price’s release – which was engineered by powerful lawyer-legislator Todd Rutherford was “wholly irrelevant” to the ongoing discussion over

Manning’s order releasing Price – which was originally sealed from public view – expressly violated South Carolina’s mandatory minimums on murder convictions, as contained in § 16-3-20 (A) of the state’s code of laws. More egregiously, it violated the victims’ bill of rights provision of the S.C. Constitution (Article I, Section 24). That provision affords victims the right to “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.”

Wilson’s office won its motion on the strength of those arguments … but by the time it did, the “close monitoring” of Price had become a bit more distant. In fact, it had become nonexistent.

(Click to View)

Jeroid J. Price (S.C. State Law Enforcement Division)

Price was in the Midlands region of the state as recently as this week – getting a haircut and visiting a female friend, among other pursuits. At some point within the last few days, however, he traveled to Charlotte, N.C. – which is where law enforcement allegedly “lost him.”

Price was convicted in 2003 of murdering University of North Carolina football player Carl Smalls in the early morning hours of December 7, 2002 following a gang-related dispute at Club Voodoo in Columbia, S.C

Price is a leader in the Bloods gang – having been described as “Godfather of the G Shine Bloods” within SCDC. At the time of the Club Voodoo shooting, Price was referred to as a “superior” in the criminal organization – leading a chapter referred to as the “GKB,” or “Gangster Killer Bloods.” Price’s son – 23-year-old Jewayne M. Price – is also a gang leader. He was charged last year in connection with a gang-related shooting at Columbiana Mall in northwest Columbia, S.C. and is currently incarcerated at the Alvin S. Glenn detention center in Richland County, S.C.

S.C. first circuit solicitor David Pascoe – the prosecutor who put Price in prison for Smalls’ murder – referred to the gang leader as “one of the most dangerous individuals I have ever put in prison.”

“It is a travesty that Jeroid Price is out on our streets,” Pascoe told me last week.

(Click to View)

S.C. attorney general Alan Wilson (Dylan Nolan/ FITSNews)

In his bid to put Price back behind bars, Wilson didn’t merely argue the issue in the public sphere. On Friday, April 21, 2023, he sent Beatty a letter leaving no doubt as to the position of the state regarding the danger he posed to the public.

In that letter (.pdf) – a copy of which was obtained exclusively by this news outlet – Wilson said his office was “very concerned that Price is currently under no bond or order of any kind requiring his presence in South Carolina.”

“Mr. Price is not only a danger to the community but a flight risk,” Wilson wrote to Beatty. “We therefore respectfully request that the court immediately issue a bench warrant to hold Mr. Price until the court makes a final determination.”

Beatty declined to issue such an order. In fact he never responded to Wilson. And when the court finally ruled in Wilson’s favor five days later, he sided against voiding Price’s extralegal release. By that time, though, it was too late. Price was already “in the wind” – to quote sources of reporter John Monk of The (Columbia, S.C.) State newspaper.

As previously reported, I have called for a criminal investigation into Manning – who has a history of aiding and abetting judicial corruption in South Carolina (a call which has been echoed by Smalls’ family). I have also called on state lawmakers to enact a substantive overhaul of the way judges are chose in the Palmetto State.

As this news outlet has consistently argued, the current system has enabled institutional corruption, shredded the rights of victims, empowered violent criminals and materially eroded public safety. Now a powerful gang leader is on the run from the law thanks to this failed system … which state lawmakers have reflexively defended (and continue to defend, inexplicably).

“The system works,” state representative Gil Gatch tweeted following Wednesday’s hearing voiding Price’s release, claiming the outcome of the hearing “cuts against the judicial reform narrative.”

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THE LETTER ...

(Via: S.C. Attorney General)

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR ...

Will Folks on phone
Will Folks (Brett Flashnick)

Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children.

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15 comments

Chad April 28, 2023 at 2:33 pm

Slowly, South Carolina’s leadership and justice system is becoming akin to that of an underdeveloped African nation, or maybe Detroit.

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Francesco Smyth Top fan April 29, 2023 at 9:27 am

Concur

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SubZeroIQ April 28, 2023 at 3:12 pm

How can you possibly know that, FITS? And does that go for Justice James, too? Justice James dissented from the court’s order; and his questioning of the parties during oral arguments leaves no doubt that Justice James’ dissent will be correct and will, some day, God willing, be upheld by a federal court.
Okay, FITS! You proved you can generate enough hysteria to intimidate three out of five state justices. But you could not do it where it really matters: the heart-beat ruling.
So, your so-called conservative payors should ask themselves what they are really getting for their money from you.

Reply
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The Colonel Top fan April 28, 2023 at 8:59 pm

You must have listened to a different hearing than I did. It was abundantly clear that the order was a violation of state laws and our constitution as well.

I agree that James dissent is curious though he tends to come down on the liberal interpretation of just about every issue. Since he was originally appointed to fill Beatty’s slot when he became chief justice it has been said of him that he has to be careful when Beatty turns left or right for fear of having his neck broken since his nose if firmly up Beatty’s ass.

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Anonymous April 30, 2023 at 7:19 am

You cannot be serious and must not have watched the hearing at the Supreme Court.

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Anonymous April 29, 2023 at 8:40 am

Beatty is a moron and James is his co moron. Neither has the ability or intellect to be a judge they simply had friends in the legislature who put them there. They are the definition of incompetence

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Francesco Smyth Top fan April 29, 2023 at 9:37 am

I am more than happy to continue my subscription to FITSNews for their independent and unbiased reporting of the corruption that exists within and amongst our so called legislators, the judicial system and the self serving cronies who alone benefit from it.

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Frederick Barton Top fan April 29, 2023 at 9:28 am

1) we get the fun of reading the posts from idiots like you. 2) it is instructive to read about polices in SC from the perspective of a person who had a roll in the hay with darling Nicki. I plan to renew my prescription to Fits.

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SubZeroIQ April 28, 2023 at 3:18 pm

How could you possibly know that FITS?
But okay! You proved you can generate enough hysteria to intimidate three out of five state court justices.
Yet you could not do it where it really mattered: the hear-beat bill ruling.
So, your so-called conservative payors should ask themselves what they are getting for their money from you.

Reply
Shawn Patrick April 28, 2023 at 5:59 pm

It’s possible that this guy could go to another state and they refuse extradition based on the circumstance.

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Anonymous April 29, 2023 at 8:42 am

Keep dreaming, he will be back in a SC prison where he belongs or he will resist with a weapon and be killed. Both would be good outcomes

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daywaves1964 Top fan May 2, 2023 at 12:08 pm

It is probably going to be a while before Jeroid is back in an SC prison. Since he is, by several accounts, a fairly major player in the Bloods, he is probably deeply embedded in South Central LA or some other Blood location. Odds are it is going to take time and a lot of law enforcement manpower and resources to locate him which equates into substantial tax dollars having to be used because of the bone-headed and maybe corrupt decision to let him go.

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stephen henry Top fan April 28, 2023 at 8:33 pm

Three minutes of Chief Beatty’s opening remarks revealed him to be mentally and socially unfit for his office. And things only got worse from there.

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Jet Black April 29, 2023 at 5:17 pm

This seems like a political play by the courts to bring fear into minds of the public about incarcerated men and women. There is a national trend for second look legislation and high profile cases like this create fear so that second look legislation is compared to cases like this one. Just another way for South Carolina to justify the tough on crime narrative, but they are the ones creating the problem.

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Roger April 30, 2023 at 2:04 pm

You appear to be highly disassociated with reality. Do a little digging and you will find a few local articles a week, referencing yet another offender while out on bond whom has committed a violent crime. If you do not find that to be a problem, it is suggestive you don’t have much regard for protecting human life within our community. Judging by the above post, you not a big fan of personal accountability. You’d make a good defense attorney. If you’re good enough, perhaps you can get into the legislature and be appointed to the panel which appoints our judges. At that point, you’ve made it and can do whatever you want.

Reply

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