Alleged crime and fatality

FATAL --- Laurens motorcyclist dies --- Authorities have identified Jeffrey Ravon Smith Jr., 27, of Laurens, as the victim of a motorcycle-car wreck on Sunday, on Swygert Street in Laurens. The wreck happened about 6 p.m. Smith’s cause of death was blunt force trauma, according to the Laurens County Coroner’s Office. He was driving a motorcycle that collided with a 2012 Kia driven by a Laurens woman. A Highway Patrol report said the vehicles were traveling north of Swygert Street, and when the Kia made a left turn onto Stevens Street, the motorcycle struck the left side of the car. The victim, Smith, was ejected and was not wearing a helmet. Two passengers in the Kia and the driver were wearing seat belts; none of them were injured.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE; Attempted murder; domestic assault; a not-guilty verdict -- and a child trafficking allegation (federal).



Attempt to Run Over Wife with Car

Monday, August 31, 2020 -- WLBG on-line


An attempt to run over his wife with a car was alleged with an arrest near Lake Greenwood Saturday. Deputy Croker of the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office arrested 37-year-old Mark Steven Woods of the 28,000-address range on Highway 76, Clinton and charged him with Domestic Violence of a High and Aggravated Nature.

Mr. Woods is accused of assaulting the victim by attempting to run over her with his car and of hitting her with his fist. He is further accused of verbally assaulting her while in the presence of a Sheriff’s Deputy Saturday at a location on Ridge Hill Road, Cross Hill.

Mark Steven Woods remained in the Johnson Detention Center this morning, awaiting a bond hearing.


Two Counts, Attempted Murder

Monday, August 24, 2020 -- all reported by WLBG radio, on-line


Laurens Police have charged a local man with shooting two men on Spring Street back on June 7th. Following his arrest Thursday, 27-year-old Tevin O’Neal Brown of Creamer Street, Laurens was charged with two counts of Attempted Murder and with Possession of a Weapon in a Violent Crime.

Captain Cheek states that an investigation indicates that on June 7th, Brown attempted murder by shooting one man in the back of his head and another man in his stomach. Both shootings reportedly occurred at 218 Spring Street. Tevin Brown is also charged with Possession of a Weapon During Commission of a Violent Crime, accused of having been in possession of a handgun during the June 7th shootings.

A $20,000 cash or surety bond was seat on the firearms warrant. With bond denied on both Attempted Murder charges, Tevin O’Neal Brown remained in Laurens County’s Johnson Detention Center this morning.



Aggravated Breach Wednesday, Attempted Murder July 10th Friday, August 21, 2020 


A man is facing Attempted Murder charges from a shooting in Laurens last month while he and a woman are now charged from another altercation this week during which both were allegedly armed on Woodrow Street. Following the alleged incident in town Wednesday, Laurens Police arrested 29-year-old Tyson Isaiah Williams of the 21,000 address-range of Highway 72 East, Clinton and 22-year-old Maria Celeste Garcia-Tapia of Woodrow Street, Laurens.

Mr. Williams was charged with two counts of Attempted Murder along with Possession of a Weapon during a Violent Crime and, from this week’s altercation, he is charged with Breach of Peace, Aggravated in Nature and Unlawful Carrying of a Firearm.

Tyson Williams is accused of engaging in a loud argument with his girlfriend Wednesday while possessing an assault-style rifle, making threats to use the weapon. He also allegedly had a small handgun concealed in his pants during the Wednesday Woodrow Street incident.

The two Attempted Murder warrants cite another incident that allegedly occurred last month. He is accused of discharging a firearm into a vehicle that had two victims inside it on Apex Street, Laurens on July 10th.

Bond was denied on both Attempted Murder charges from the July 10th incident. Cash or surety bonds have now been set totaling $35,000 on the charges from Woodrow Street this week. Tyson Isaiah Williams remained in the Johnson Detention Center this morning.

Ms. Garcia-Tapia was charged with Breach of Peace, Aggravated in Nature, accused of engaging in a loud argument with her boyfriend while possessing a handgun and of threatening the boyfriend during the incident on Woodrow Street Wednesday. Maria Celeste Garcia-Tapia has now been released from custody on a $5,000 personal recognizance bond.


Gunfire Cited in Domestic Violence Charge

Friday, August 21, 2020



A domestic assault reportedly involving gunfire Monday of this week is alleged in charges served yesterday by the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office. 33-year-old Travion Christeel Anderson of Hemingway Drive, Laurens reportedly turned himself in to the Sheriff’s Office yesterday. He’s now charged with Domestic Violence of a High and Aggravated Nature and with Breach of Peace, Aggravated in Nature.

Mr. Anderson is accused of firing multiple rounds from a gun in the direction of the victim Monday, following an altercation between him and her at a location on Boyd Road, west of Laurens.

Travion Christeel Anderson remained in Laurens County’s Johnson Detention Center this morning, awaiting a bond hearing.


Woman Found Not-Guilty of Assault On Her Sister

Thursday, August 20, 2020


The trial of Alexandra Reeder, of Clinton, ended at lunchtime yesterday, when the jury deliberated for only a few minutes then found her not guilty.

The prosecution’s argument to convict did not sway the jury, even after Senior Assistant Solicitor Wade Dowtin delivered final arguments saying, “We are not talking about what happened, we are talking about what could have happened, and  that her self-defense is not valid because the defendant had no defense wounds.”

Defense attorney Warder complained that the victim did not suffer serious injury enough to have his client charged with Assault and Battery of a High and Aggravated Nature. Judge Don Hocker allowed the charge to stand, considering what could have happened if the defendant hadn’t missed the victims eye with the screwdriver.

At the beginning of court yesterday, Judge Hocker told the lawyers that he would not consent to a reduced charge, as requested by Defense Lawyer, Richard Warder, due to what could have happened, noting that a screw driver could cause serious harm.

Russell Sanford, assistant to Warder, presented closing arguments for the defense pointing out that the victim is so much bigger and stronger. He said there was no full body check on the defendant that could have discovered defensive injuries.

The argument between the two sisters reportedly relates to disagreements with three sisters inheriting a Clinton house from their mother.


Anderson County Husband and Wife Among Five Indicted on Child; Sex Trafficking and Production of Child Pornography Charges


Greenville --- United States Attorney Peter M. McCoy, Jr., has announced that Gary Garland, Shannon Garland, Johnnie Wells, Michael Skelton, and Duwone Allen, all of Anderson, were arrested on a multi-count federal indictment charging violations of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of a minor and production of child pornography.   

Anderson County is Laurens County’s northwest neighbor.

“Child sex trafficking is one of the most offensive and reprehensible crimes possible,” McCoy said. “Sadly, many of the victims and offenders are hidden in plain sight. With support from our federal, state, and local partners, this office will find those who engage in all forms of human trafficking and bring them to justice. This includes those who patronize these victims. We will also continue to work with support groups here in our community to ensure these victims receive the services they need.”

“Sex trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery, and these cases are a top priority for HSI investigation,” said Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Charlotte Ronnie Martinez. “HSI is committed to working with our law enforcement partners to find and prosecute criminal traffickers while ensuring the victims of these terrible crimes are rescued and get the care they need.”

“These are heinous allegations, and this case would not have been possible without the coordinated efforts of federal, state, and local law enforcement departments,” said U.S. Marshal Thomas M. Griffin, Jr. “Any crime against a child is horrific and the United States Marshals Service will utilize any and all available resources so we can bring these offenders to justice.”

The ten-count indictment alleges human trafficking and child pornography violations against the Defendants beginning last year in South Carolina.  According to the indictment, the Defendants would advertise and transport at least two minors for the purpose of engaging in commercial sex acts, and the Garlands would produce visual depictions of the minors.

This case is being investigated by HSI, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Carrie Fisher Sherard and Winston Marosek of the Greenville office. The United States Marshals Service assisted in the arrest of the offenders.

U.S. Attorney McCoy stated that all charges in this case are merely allegations at this stage and that the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.



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