Rose Petal Murder, Greg Leon Trial, Stephen Smith Investigation, Etc – Year In Review 2023

Rewinding the tape on all the big non-Murdaugh news of the past year …

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Two days ago, we posted a video in which our team reflected on our coverage of the ‘Trial of the Century’ in South Carolina – the double homicide trial of convicted killer Alex Murdaugh. To watch that clip, click here.

While the ‘Murdaugh Murders‘ crime and corruption saga – especially Murdaugh’s trial and his subsequent bid for a new trial – dominated our coverage this year, a ton of other news was broken by our team over the past twelve months. In this segment, our producer and director of special projects Dylan Nolan leads research director Jenn Wood and myself in a discussion of several of those big stories – including what to expect from them in 2024.

Among the biggest stories we covered this past year? The graphic ‘Rose Petal Murder‘ out of the South Carolina Upstate, the murder trial (and suicide) of prominent Midlands Mexican restaurant owner Greg Leon and the still-unfolding saga of Hampton, S.C. teenager Stephen Smith.

The Smith story was the focus of significant discussion on social media this week, however this episode was taped prior to all of that unfolding.



In addition to its true crime coverage, our team dove into some of the hot political races/ topics coming to South Carolina in the coming year – including the ‘First in the South’ presidential primary in February and several contentious congressional/ partisan state legislative elections on tap for June.

We also previewed some of the big issues on tap for state legislators when they reconvene at the S.C. State House in less than two weeks.

Thanks to everyone for watching our Week In Review. As I often note, your support enables everything we do here at FITSNews. If you want to help us continue holding those in power accountable – to continue pushing for reforms that enhance accountability at the institutional level – please consider subscribing today. In fact, we’ve got some great holiday offers for those of you considering subscribing for the first time … or those of you considering sending a gift subscription to a friend, family member or work colleague.

Thanks again … and Happy New Year!



(Travis Bell Photography)

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 and before that he was a bass guitarist and dive bar bouncer. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and eight children.



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Will Folks


RIP Mr Leon December 30, 2023 at 4:22 pm

Greg Leon sentenced to death when given a grossly excessive sentence by “Judge” McCleod for a crime of passion.

Goody3 Top fan December 30, 2023 at 4:35 pm

Terrific retrospective of 2023’s important stories – and what their individual prospective trajectories might be in 2024. Plenty of reasons to be either encouraged or concerned IMHO.

As ever, time will tell …..


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