Update: “Pickens County Sheriff’s Office Announces Arrest in Last Week’s Fatal Shooting”

10/21/2021

For Immediate Release

Contact: Chuck James, Captain

Pickens County Sheriff’s Office

A 71-year old female has been taken into custody following an extensive investigation into the circumstances surrounding the October 13th shooting death of Augustin Demsa.  

On October 13th, 2021, deputies responded to 110 Zion Heights Court in Easley, South Carolina, in reference to a report that someone at the residence had been shot. Upon arrival, deputies encountered Virginia Louise Cook (71 YOA), who stated that she had shot a male resident following an altercation at the residence. Shortly after encountering Cook, deputies located Augstin Demsa inside a camper that served as his living quarters, deceased from apparent gunshot wounds to the torso.  

Over the past week, detectives have continued to investigate the circumstances surrounding the shooting incident, which included collecting additional evidence and interviewing parties associated with both Cook and Demsa in an effort to identify what transpired.   

Earlier today, Virginia Louise Cook was taken into custody by the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office and booked into the Pickens County Detention Center where she was charged with the following:

Charge:        Warrant #:                  Bond:                   Date of Arrest:

Murder        2021A3910101164      TBD                     10/21/2021

Poss. Weapon during Violent Crime   

2021A3910101165       TBD                     10/21/2021

“Pickens County Sheriff’s Office Investigates Domestic Shooting Incident”

10/14/2021

For Immediate Release

Chuck James, Captain

Pickens County Sheriff’s Office

Around 7:00 PM on October 13th, 2021, the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office was notified of a shooting incident on Zion Heights Court in Easley, South Carolina.  Upon arrival, deputies located an adult female at the residence who informed deputies that she had shot an adult male resident following a heated altercation.   While clearing the property, deputies located an adult male deceased with visible injuries that are characteristics of a gunshot wound. 

The circumstances surrounding the incident remain under investigation by the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office and the Pickens County Coroner’s Office.  At this time, no one has been taken into custody during the early stages of the investigation as Detectives continue to conduct interviews and gather evidence. 

Any inquiries concerning the identity of the victim should be directed to the Pickens County Coroner’s Office.

“Large Scale drug sweep results in Pickens County Drug Arrest”

08-19-2021

For Immediate Release

Chad Brooks, Chief Deputy

Pickens County Sheriff’s Office

Pickens County Drug Arrest

Over the last week, multiple Upstate Law Enforcement Agencies came together to execute a large scale drug sweep within Pickens County. The criminal drug charges resulted from a combination of undercover operations, and street level drug investigations by Pickens County Sheriff’s Office Special Operations Unit, Pickens County Sheriff’s Office Community Action Team, and Pickens City Police Department. Several of these cases began with citizen complaints about drug activity in their community.

The primary warrant roundup began on 08-16-2021, when Officers with Pickens County Sheriff’s Office, Pickens City Police Department, Easley City Police Department, Clemson City Police Department, US Marshal’s Fugitive Task Force, South Carolina Department of Probation, Parole & Pardon, and South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED), set out to serve 76 drug related arrest warrants on 37 suspects.

The week long operation has seen additional suspects charged with drug crimes, bringing the total number of drug related suspects and warrants to 42 offenders and 94 arrest warrants.

As of 08-19-2021, a total of 39 suspects have been arrested or are in the custody of another law enforcement facility, with 85 warrants served or accounted for. Officers are continuing to pursue the remaining few suspects, and anticipate having them in custody very soon.  

Officers also arrested 7 non drug related suspects that were processed at Pickens County Detention Center during the course of this operation. Offenses range from Criminal Sexual Conduct to bench warrants.   

Sheriff Clark would like to thank all the above listed agencies and their officers that assisted in the service of these warrants and who worked together to construct these criminal cases. Cooperation within the law enforcement community is essential to protect our citizens, and this operation is another example of the excellent working relations many upstate agencies share.

All defendants are presumed innocent until they are proved guilty in a court of law.

Drug suspects by charging agency:

Pickens County Sheriff’s Office:

Anders, Makayla Louise:

  • Distribution of Methamphetamine 1st
  • Distribution of Methamphetamine 1st

Bruce, Alex Tyson:

  • Distribution of Methamphetamine 2nd
  • Distribution of Imitation Controlled Substance

Chastain, Jason Leroy:

  • Distribution of Methamphetamine 2nd 
  • Distribution of Methamphetamine 2nd 
  • Distribution of Methamphetamine 2nd 

Cobb, Hannah Ann:

  • Distribution of Methamphetamine 1st
  • Possession of Methamphetamine 1st

Cole, Shana Carter:

  • PWID Methamphetamine

Collins, Jeffrey Lavern:

  • Trafficking Heroin 14-28 grams 1st
  • PWID Controlled Substance Schedule I-III 1st
  • PWID Controlled Substance Schedule I-IV 1st
  • PWID Marijuana 1st
  • Possession of a weapon during a violent crime

Davis, George Jameson:

  • Trafficking Methamphetamine 10-28 grams1st

Fowler, John Cameron:

  • Distribution of Methamphetamine 3rd

George, Stanley Scott:

  • Distribution of Methamphetamine 3rd
  • Distribution of Methamphetamine 3rd

Harris, Sherry Renee:

  • Possession of Methamphetamine 1st

Holcombe, Judith C:

  • Distribution of Methamphetamine 2nd
  • Distribution of Methamphetamine 2nd
  • Distribution of Methamphetamine 2nd

Holcombe, Randall Claude:

  • PWID Methamphetamine 1st
  • PWID Marijuana 1st

Hudson, Scarlett O’Harro:

  • Distribution of Methamphetamine 1st

Kelly, Israel Dale:

  • Distribution of Cocaine 3rd

Lay, Torrey Tremayne:

  • PWID Marijuana 1st

Lee, Carla Michele:

  • Possession of Methamphetamine 2nd

Lester, Marinda Kaye:

  • Distribution of Methamphetamine 2nd

Looney, Jonathan David:

  • Trafficking Methamphetamine 2nd 28-100 grams 

Maloyed, Jerry Wayne, Jr.:

  • Trafficking Methamphetamine 1st 10-28 grams
  •  Possession of a firearm during a violent crime.      

Metz, Timothy Jacob:

  • Distribution of Methamphetamine 2nd

Murray, John David:

  • PWID Methamphetamine 1st
  • PWID Heroin 1st
  • Possession of Methamphetamine 1st
  • PWID Marijuana 1st

Neely, Shayna Marie:

  • Distribution of Methamphetamine 1st

Nichols, Christopher Eugene:

  • Distribution of Methamphetamine 3rd

Owen, Kevin Mitchell:

  • Distribution of Marijuana 1st
  • Distribution of Marijuana 1st
  • PWID Marijuana

Patterson, Jessica Gale:

  • Failure to Stop for Blue Light
  • Driving Under Suspension
  • Possession of Methamphetamine 3rd 
  • Receiving Stolen Goods less than $2000

Pinyon, Joshua Luke:

  • Trafficking Methamphetamine 28-100 grams 3rd
  • Distribution of Methamphetamine 3rd

Rasberry, Sabrina Nicole:

  • Trafficking Methamphetamine 28-100 grams 2nd
  • Exposing a Child to Methamphetamine 1st
  • Exposing a Child to Methamphetamine 1st
  • Unlawful Neglect of a child
  • Unlawful Neglect of a Child

Rochester, Sabrina Nicole:

  • PWID Heroin 2nd 
  • Possession of Methamphetamine 2nd 

Rogers, Zachary Todd:

  • Possession of Controlled Substance 1st
  • Possession of a Sawed off Shotgun

Sexton, Lauren Gene:

  • Distribution of Controlled Substance 1st

Seymore, Lacey Deanna:

  • Distribution of Heroin 1st 
  • Distribution of Imitation Controlled Substance
  • Distribution of Imitation Controlled Substance

Smith, Victoria Ann:

  • PWID Methamphetamine

Turner, Jennifer Lynn:

  • Distribution of Methamphetamine 1st
  • Distribution of Methamphetamine 1st
  • Distribution of Imitation Controlled Substance

Thrift, Harrison David

  • Trafficking Heroin 4-14 grams 1st
  • PWID Heroin 1st
  • Possession of Controlled Substance 1st

Underwood, Amber Nicole:

  • Distribution of Methamphetamine 2nd

Watson, George (Jamie):

  • Trafficking Methamphetamine 2nd 10-28 grams
  • Possession of Controlled Substance 2nd
  • Possession of Marijuana.

Pickens City Police Department:

Carver, Brandon Oneal:

  • Failure to Stop for Blue Light 2nd
  • Possession of Methamphetamine 1st
  • Driving Under Suspension 2nd
  • Operating a Uninsured Vehicle

Duckett, Tosh Matthew:

  • Distribution of Methamphetamine 1st
  • PWID of Controlled Substance within Proximity of a School

Franks, James Vincent:

  • Distribution of Methamphetamine 1st
  • PWID of Controlled Substance within Proximity of a School
  • Possession of Stolen Property

Gantt, Timothy Eric:

  • Distribution of Methamphetamine 1st
  • Distribution of Heroin 1st
  • PWID of Controlled Substance within Proximity of a Park

Gillespie, Lee Ann:

  • Distribution of Methamphetamine
  • Distribution Of Methamphetamine
  • PWID of Controlled Substance within Proximity of a School
  • PWID of Controlled Substance within Proximity of a School

Harper, Joseph Cody:

  • Unlawful Possession of a Weapon
  • Distribution of Methamphetamine 1st
  • PWID of Controlled Substance within Proximity of a School

Thrift, David Harrison:

  • Distribution of Heroin 1st
  • PWID of Controlled Substance within Proximity of a School

“Update on Pickens County Sheriff’s Office Death Investigation”

08-18-2021

For Immediate Release

Chad Brooks, Chief Deputy

Pickens County Sheriff’s Office

Update on Pickens County Sheriff’s Office Death Investigation

Over the course of the past two days, the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office has been conducting an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the shooting death of two males, identified as Alex Mitchell Moore (25 yoa) and Skylar Wolfgang Cary (24 yoa), who were found near 128 Edwards Lane in Central, South Carolina.

Through the course of this investigation, detectives have identified numerous witnesses and have since developed a person of interest in this case.   At this time, no arrests have been made due to our obligation to investigate claims of self-defense, as is alleged in this case.  The investigation remains ongoing while detectives continue to collect, analyze, and compare evidence against statements provided by witnesses and the person of interest.  

Anyone that may additional information regarding this investigation is asked to call the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office at (864) 898-5500 or Crime Stoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC.

###

“Pickens County Sheriff’s Office Conducting Death Investigation”

08-16-2021

For Immediate Release

Chad Brooks, Chief Deputy

Pickens County Sheriff’s Office

Pickens County Sheriff’s Office Conducting Death Investigation

The Pickens County Sheriff’s Office is conducting an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of two male victims found near 128 Edwards Lane in Central, South Carolina.

At approximately 12:57 am on Monday, August 16th, 2021, the Sheriff’s Office received a report of a shooting incident in the area of 128 Edwards Lane Central, South Carolina.

When deputies arrived on the scene, they located two male subjects deceased just feet from the paved roadway.  Detectives are actively investigating the incident and pursuing leads in the case.  Additional details will be provided in follow-up media release(s) when they become available.

Inquiries regarding the identity of the victims should be directed to the Pickens County Coroner’s Office.

Anyone that may have been in the area over the past 24 hours and noticed anything unusual or suspicious is asked to call the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office at (864) 898-5500 or Crime Stoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC.

“Pickens County Sheriff’s Office Seeks Help from the Public to Identify Carjacking Suspects”

08-06-21

For Immediate Release

Chad Brooks, Chief Deputy

Pickens County Sheriff’s Office

Pickens County Sheriff’s Office Seeks Help from the Public to Identify Carjacking Suspects 

On August 6, 2021 around 2:30 (PM), an individual had stopped at the car wash located at 2304 Farrs Bridge Road (Hwy. 183), Easley, South Carolina.  While there, two subjects traveling in what is believed to be a dark colored 90’s model Chevrolet pick-up truck pulled into that location.

One suspect exited the passenger side of the pick-up truck and proceeded to take the victim’s white 1999 Honda Civic at gunpoint.

The suspect is described as a white male, in his late 20’s, with several tattoos located on both arms.  The suspect has short dark hair and was wearing a black t-shirt that reads, “ACDC.”  

The suspect(s) departed from the car wash traveling in the direction of Greenville on Highway 183.  

Attached are still images of the suspect, suspect’s vehicle, and victim’s vehicle.

Anyone with any information pertaining to this case is asked to contact Detective Jeremy Stone with the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office at 864-898-5500

###

“Update on Pickens County Sheriff’s Office Investigation into Deadly Fire in Six Mile”

07-30-2021

For Immediate Release

Chad Brooks, Chief Deputy

Pickens County Sheriff’s Office

Update on Pickens County Sheriff’s Office Investigation into Deadly Fire in Six Mile

This is a follow-up to a media release from July 1st, 2021

On the morning of July 1st, 2021, emergency personnel responded to a structure fire at 191 Duncan Road in Six Mile, South Carolina.  As firefighters extinguished the fire, a deceased subject, later identified as Beverly A. Harmon (57 yoa), was located within the residence.  At the time, an adult male resident was transported to the Augusta Burn Center for treatment for burn wounds.  Detectives with the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office, along with agents from the State Law Enforcement Division, subsequently responded to the incident location and began an extensive investigation.    

Through the course of the ensuing investigation, it was determined that the fire had been intentionally set by the victim’s 34-year old son, Eric James Harmon.   On July 30th, 2021, Harmon was taken into custody by the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office and charged with Arson 1st Degree and Murder.  Harmon is incarcerated at the Pickens County Detention Center and is presently awaiting arraignment. 

Charge:                                             Warrant:                              Bond:             Arrest Date:

Murder                                                2021A3910100711                  N/A                  07/30/2021

Arson 1st Degree                                 2021A3910100675                  N/A                  07/30/2021

A copy of the Arrest Warrants and his booking photo are attached to this Media Release.

“Applications for permits for nonferrous metals approved by SLED”

The application process for obtaining metal permits has changed in the State of South Carolina. See FAQ below along with the new forms for application. Save some time by printing and filling out these forms before coming to the Sheriff’s Office.

Hopefully the generated questions below will answer any you may have. You will need to bring your driver’s license and valid vehicle registration when obtaining your permit.

The download for the application is located at the bottom of this page.

Q.  I am a citizen who has removed my own catalytic converter (CC), what do I need to do to transport and/or sell my CC to a recycler?

      A.   Found in subsection (I)(2)(b):

Obtain a permit from the Sheriff of the county in which the person resides or has a secondary residence,

                        AND

                        Provide a permitted secondary metals recycler (SMR) the following information: 

  1. Name of person or company that removed the CC,
  2. name of the person for whom the work was completed,
  3. make and model of the vehicle the CC was removed from,
  4. VIN for the vehicle the CC was removed from,
  5. Part number or other identifying number of the CC
  6. Certificate of title or registration for the vehicle the CC was removed from.          

Q.  I am an SMR from out of state and I want to purchase CCs from different businesses, do I need a SMR permit from the Sheriff’s Office in each county I purchase CCs?

      A.   Found in Subsection (I)(3)(a):

Nothing in this item prevents an out-of-state SMR who maintains a fixed site and who complies with all other provisions of this chapter from obtaining, purchasing, or otherwise acquiring a used, detached CC or any other nonferrous part of a used CC.

So, it must comply with (B)(3):

A secondary metals recycler intends to purchase nonferrous metals at a location other than a fixed site, the secondary metals recycler shall obtain a permit from the sheriff of each county in which the secondary metals recycler intends to purchase nonferrous metals.

Q.  I am a SMR that purchases CCs from automotive repair businesses.  Do I need to retain records on the origin of each CC that I purchase or does the automotive repair business (etc.) retain those records?

      A.   YES

Found in Subsection (I)(3)(a)(ii):

Explanation.  The subsection states:

The CC was purchased from an auto repair service and the seller provides a valid business license is received and maintained,

OR (Can you be applied if business is in jurisdiction that business licenses are not issued)

Found in Subsection (I)(3)(a)(iii):

The seller provides a record or receipt showing the following:

  1. The repair order number, when applicable,
  2. The date the repair was done or the date the CC was removed, including who removed it,
  3. The VIN for the vehicle from which the CC was removed.

                        AND

                        Found in Subsection (J)(2)

A SMR shall maintain a record of transactions involving exempted entities listed in (J)(1), which includes automotive repair services.

Q.  Whose responsibility is it to ensure applicants for SMRs are SMRs before issuing the initial permit?

A.   The Sheriff’s Office where the SMR maintains a fixed site or each Sheriff’s Office that issues a permit to an SMR that maintains a fixed site elsewhere but purchases CCs in the Sheriff’s jurisdiction.

      Found in (B)(5):

A sheriff may investigate a secondary metals recycler’s background prior to issuing a permit for purposes of determining if the secondary metals recycler qualifies to be issued a permit.

Q.  If I am a SMR holder, who is authorized to buy or sell CCs, should the business have a list of employees who are authorized to sell the cats from one SMR to another.

      A.   NO, there is no provision or requirement in the original law or the amendment.

Q.  Should there be a separate permit for each fixed site?

      A.   YES If in a different County. If a SMR has multiple fixed locations in the same County one permit in the County covers the multiple locations.

      Found in Subsection (B)(2):

If a secondary metals recycler intends to purchase nonferrous metals at a fixed site or fixed sites, the secondary metals recycler shall obtain a permit from the sheriff of the county in which each of the secondary metals recycler’s fixed sites are located.

Q.  How does law enforcement verify the permits since there is no statewide database.

      A.   Currently, it is the obligation of each Sheriff’s Office, and LE would have to contact the issuing Sheriff.

      Found in Subsection (B)(7)

A Sheriff shall keep a record of all permits issued containing, at a minimum, the date of issuance, and the name and address of the secondary metals recycler.

“Pickens County Sheriff’s Office Investigates Deadly Fire in Six Mile”

07-01-21

For Immediate Release

Pickens County Sheriff’s Office Investigates Deadly Fire in Six Mile

At approximately 5:30 am this morning, neighbors reported a structure fire located at 191 Duncan Road, Six Mile, South Carolina.  The Six Mile Fire Department responded and upon their arrival they located one adult male subject in front of the residence.  That subject has been transported to the Augusta Burn Center for treatment.

As firefighters proceed to extinguish the fire which was actively burning a portion of the residence; they discovered one occupant who was deceased inside the structure.

Deputies and detectives from the Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene along with the Pickens County Coroner.

As is normal procedure when a death occurs in a structure fire; agents from the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division are assisting detectives from the Sheriff’s Office with the investigation.

Information on the deceased person should be obtained from the Pickens County Coroner’s Office.

More information will be released as it becomes available. 

“Pickens County Sheriff’s Office Responds to Accident and Vehicle Fire”

05-13-21

For Immediate Release

Pickens County Sheriff’s Office Responds to Accident and Vehicle Fire

Earlier this evening, a deputy with the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office, in a marked patrol unit, observed a 2007 Pontiac G6 traveling on Jameson Road in Pickens.  It was determined that the vehicle was displaying a South Carolina license plate that had been reported stolen.  As the vehicle approached the intersection of Jameson Road and Wolf Creek Road, the deputy activated his vehicle’s emergency lights in an attempt to conduct a traffic stop.

The driver of the Pontiac turned left onto Wolf Creek Road and accelerated the vehicle in an attempt to elude law enforcement.  The deputy then activated his vehicle’s siren.  Before the deputy could complete radio traffic with the Communications center, the driver of the Pontiac lost control of the vehicle leaving the roadway and completely flipping the vehicle.  The vehicle immediately caught fire and multiple explosions were heard inside the vehicle.

As the deputy approached the vehicle, the driver, later identified as Jessica Dale Patterson (28 YOA), exited the vehicle and was observed to be on fire.  The deputy pushed Ms. Patterson to the ground in order to put out the flames.  She was transported to the hospital by Pickens County EMS personnel.

Before leaving the scene, Ms. Patterson told deputies that she was transporting several containers of fuel that she was hoarding in the trunk of the vehicle.  These containers of fuel were the catalyst of the explosions.

The South Carolina Highway Patrol responded to the scene to investigate the accident.