An Aiken, South Carolina jewelry store owner with a checkered and controversial past was found dead on Tuesday – the result of blunt force trauma to the head.
The murder was discovered when police responded to an 8:00 a.m. EST call reporting a burglary at the victim’s home – 915 Brookhaven Drive. Aiken public safety officers called in the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) to investigate upon finding the “suspicious circumstances.”
Swint Edward “Porky” Bradberry Jr, 78, was the longtime owner of Porky Bradberry’s Jewelry – a business started by his parents, Swint and Elizabeth Bradberry, in the 1950s.
A suspect in the murder, 27-year old Alexander Gage Boone, was taken into police custody at the Aiken Hospital parking lot on Wednesday afternoon. Boone remains incarcerated without bond at the Aiken County Detention Center facing charges of burglary and murder.
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An investigative report (.pdf) from Aiken public safety details evidence collected at the scene – and from another address on Heathwood Drive. In addition to photos and DNA swabs from the suspect, items seized include Porky Bradberry’s will and power of attorney, an iPhone, a .22 Magnum revolver, a black beanie and backpack, shoes, a jacket, a Spiderman blanket, a French press and an axe.
Police also made note of a jail house call made by Boone.
Marijuana, paraphernalia and a bag of mushrooms were also seized from Bradberry’s home.
Boone is no stranger to law enforcement. In 2015, he pleaded guilty to possession of a stolen vehicle, possession of a stolen pistol, larceny/ breaking into motor vehicle, petit larceny and grand larceny. He was sentenced under the Youthful Offender Act. In other words, had he stayed out of trouble he could have been eligible to have the charges expunged.
By February 13, 2017 that opportunity was revoked, though, after Boone was charged with assault and battery. In July 2019 and again in October 2022, Boone pleaded guilty to domestic violence in the third degree. Both times he was given the option of a fine or jail time – and opted to pay the fine.
As for Bradberry, in October 1972 he was indicted on drug charges. In response, he filed a million-dollar lawsuit against Aiken County sheriff Paul Grant in U.S. district court. In the lawsuit, Bradberry claimed Grant arrested him illegally to gain political publicity. Nevertheless, he was convicted in January 1973 for possession of LSD and marijuana. The Aiken Standard reported he was sentenced to a year behind bars along with a fine of $2,000.
A decade later, Bradberry was charged with murder following the death of his 35-year-old wife, Linda Bradberry, who was found with a gunshot wound to the head in a local grocery store parking lot on December 12, 1982. “Porky” and four others were arrested in what police said was a murder for hire case. In 1988, the charges against him were dropped after the state’s primary witness proved “unreliable.”
In September 2011, Porky exchanged fire with an armed robber who was trying to hold up his jewelry store in the middle of the day. He was shot in the arm, but prevailed against the cross-dressing assailant. Twenty-year-old Dominique Fortenberry was wearing a flowered dress when Bradberry shot him in the face. He was tracked down at the hospital and arrested immediately after receiving treatment for his injuries.
In 2020, Bradberry mourned the death of his then-wife, Connie Bradberry, and sold his jewelry shop – ending six decades in the business.
As with anyone accused of committing any crime, Boone is considered innocent until proven guilty by our criminal justice system – or until such time as he may wish to enter some form of allocution in connection with a plea agreement with prosecutors related to any of the charges filed against him.
No word yet on his bond or when he is scheduled to make his first court appearance. Count on this media outlet to keep our audience in the loop on the latest developments in this case.
THE REPORT …
(Via: Aiken DPS)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Callie Lyons is a journalist, researcher, and author whose investigative work can be found in media outlets, publications, and documentaries all over the world – most recently in the Parisian newspaper Le Monde and a German documentary for ProSieben. Lyons also appears in Citizen Sleuth – a 2023 documentary exploring the genre of true crime.
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