South Carolina Circuit Judge Keith Kelly of Spartanburg was assigned to hold a term of General Sessions Court in Dillon recently. It was a non-jury term, so only bonds, guilty pleas and other hearings were held rather than jury trials. Given the issues surrounding COVID-19, hearings were held remotely with all parties participating by WebEx.
Joshua Manning and William Mason, both charged in the 2019 murder of J.W. Bailey, asked the Court to give them a bond. Judge Kelly denied both motions, claiming both Manning and Mason could be a danger to the community. Manning was represented by Linward Edwards, and Mason was represented by Deputy Public Defender Nathan Scales. Assistant Solicitor Shipp Daniel, who is prosecuting the case, told the court that this case will most likely be scheduled for final disposition in the first quarter of 2022. Daniel also told Judge Kelly that Mason, who has confessed to the murder, is willing to testify on behalf of the State against Manning, who has not admitted any involvement in the crimes.
Zephania Baker, who was charged in the 2020 murder of Danielle Dixon, asked the Court to give him a bond. Judge Kelly denied the motion, claiming Baker could be a danger to the community. Baker is represented by Edwards.
Kendell Harley, who was charged in the 2020 murder of Mark Jackson, asked the Court to give him a bond. Judge Kelly denied the motion, claiming Harley could be a danger to the community. Harley was represented by Scales.
All people charged with a crime are presumed innocent unless and until a finder of fact finds them guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Drug Court Terminations
Three Dillon County defendants who had previously been sentenced to successfully complete the Drug Court program were terminated from the program for noncompliance. Therefore, all three defendants had their original sentences activated. Landon McPhatter was sentenced to five years in prison. Summer Davis was sentenced to six years in prison. Terry Harrelson, who refused to come out of his jail cell to participate in his virtual hearing, was sentenced to seven years in prison. If a Drug Court client follows the rules of the program (passing drug screens, attending scheduled classes, etc.), then their charges are ultimately dismissed upon successful completion of the program.
Multiple people pled guilty during the court term. Jerry Covington pled guilty to voluntary manslaughter in the 2020 killing of Carl Norman. Judge Kelly sentenced him to 17 years in prison.
Neil Campbell pled guilty to multiple charges (drug possession, possession of a stolen vehicle, unlawful communication) and was sentenced to 5 years suspended to 3 years in prison to be followed by probation.
Among those who also pled guilty are: Leron Preaster (breach of peace), Catherine Long (aggravated breach of peace), Lakeyia Gurley (failure to stop for a blue light), Cassie Smithey (second degree assault and battery), Lacedrick Davis (drug possession and unlawful possession of a pistol), Kenneth Berry (drug possession and financial card theft), Johnny Short (trespassing), Terry Lee Davis (habitual traffic offender), Jermaine McGirt (domestic violence), Dustin Stewart (domestic violence), Guy McMurray (burglary, malicious injury to property, assault and battery), Michael Miles (aggravated breach of peace), Eric Green (shoplifting, resisting arrest), Deonte Roberts (weapons possession, aggravated breach of peace), Julius Johnson (failure to stop for a blue light, weapons possession), Christopher Gurley (felon in possession of firearm), Koby Bryant (habitual traffic offender), James Sweat (habitual traffic offender), Vodell Reaves (drug possession), Diquarius Brown (failure to stop for a blue light), Joseph Hughes (drug possession, resisting arrest), Katie Scott (aggravated breach of peace), and Shanda Gardner (aggravated breach of peace).