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Crime & Courts

Becky Hill Fallout: Deputy Colleton County Clerk Announces Candidacy

Candidate seeking to replace embattled clerk boasts of “the backing of my courthouse family.”

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Colleton County, South Carolina clerk of court Becky Hill’s top deputy has announced his candidacy for the position she currently holds – fueling speculation (and concern) her influence over this office might extend beyond the expiration of her term at the end of the year.

Gary Hale, 35, of Walterboro, S.C., announced his candidacy for clerk of court on Sunday (February 25, 2024). His announcement appears to be the latest confirmation that Hill – who is staring down multiple investigations – will not seek another four-year term in office.

Hill has privately told several county employees she is not running again, but has yet to make a public announcement regarding her future plans.

A former Colleton sheriff’s deputy and detention center supervisor, Hale moved to the courthouse in 2022 and was recently promoted to deputy clerk of court under Hill. Of interest? Hale referenced his campaign as being launched with the “blessing” of his family and “the backing of my courthouse family.”

(Click to View)

Gary Hale (Facebook)

“Getting into the political realm and running for office was never in the plans, but God has led me down this path, and I look forward to this as an opportunity to continue my service to all the communities of Colleton County,” Hale noted in his announcement post.

If Hale’s name sounds familiar to our audience, it’s likely because it was associated with a controversial photo used in the promotion of Hill’s ill-fated book about the double homicide trial of convicted killer Alex Murdaugh, Behind the Doors of Justice

The photo in question – an oft-discussed image of Murdaugh “resting in his holding cell while the jury deliberated” – was used to drum up sales of the book last spring. Hill claimed Hale snapped the photo from a publicly available monitor located in the main hallway of the courthouse – i.e. an area where anyone with a cell phone could have presumably taken a picture. In reality, though, the image was taken from a large-screen television located within Hill’s office.

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Why does this matter? Because it bolsters claims that Hill relied on her taxpayer-funded position to write her Murdaugh book – which is a key component of one of the two ethics complaints the embattled clerk of court is currently facing. In addition to those two ethics complaints, Hill is also staring down a wide-ranging criminal probe that has already yielded wiretapping charges against her son, former Colleton County information technology director Jeffrey “Colt” Hill.

Our media outlet updated the status of the Hill investigation in a report filed last week …

“(Hale) fell on the sword for Becky,” a courthouse insider told this media outlet, referring to the infamous Murdaugh image.

Hale isn’t the only candidate seeking this office. Colleton County detention center administrator Wanda Taylor, 54, has made it clear she will be mounting a campaign. A veteran deputy, Taylor was the first female ever to attain the rank of captain in the Dorchester County sheriff’s office. A native of Colleton County, she has served as detention center administrator since July 2021.

(Click to View)

Wanda Taylor (Colleton County)

Taylor ran for this office in 2020, but was narrowly defeated in the Democratic primary by Debra Bright – who went on to lose to Hill in the 2020 general election by an 11.73 percentage point margin. According to our sources, Taylor plans on seeking the Democratic nomination again in 2024 while Hale will campaign as a Republican.

The filing period for partisan primary races in South Carolina begins at 12:00 p.m. EST on March 16, 2024 and closes on April 1, 2024. Partisan primary races will be held on June 11, 2024. If no candidate receives a majority of ballots in a given race, a runoff election would be held two weeks later (June 25, 2024) between the top two finishers.

Given the ongoing investigation into Hill, count on our media outlet to keep close tabs on this election – and to extend our open microphone to any and all contenders who submit statements of candidacy.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

(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 seven (soon to be eight) children.

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1 comment

ZubZeroIQ February 27, 2024 at 5:50 pm

A black female Democrat will run against a while male Republican who looks out of Duck Dynasty central casting, in Colleton County, SC.
Who really has a chance and who never had a chance?

Reply

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