“Pickens County Sheriff Rick Clark Requests SLED Assistance in Investigation Involving Mile Creek Park”

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12-13-17 

On December 11, 2017, Sheriff Rick Clark submitted a request to the SC Law Enforcement Division for their assistance in the investigation of criminal allegations involving a former inmate trustee assigned to a work detail at Mile Creek Park.

Sheriff Clark was approached by the parents of a sixteen year old son in September of this year at which time the Sheriff’s Office first learned of allegations that their son had been sexually assaulted while working part-time during the summer months at Mile Creek Park.

Preliminary information given to the Sheriff at that time indicated that the activity occurred at the park while the alleged victim was assigned to a work detail alongside an inmate from the Pickens County Prison.

Just days following the initial complaint by the parents, the Sheriff’s Office was requested by the family’s attorney to temporarily suspend the criminal investigation for personal reasons.

In late November, the Sheriff’s Office was informed that the family of the victim wished to proceed with the investigation and on December 4, 2017, detectives with the Sheriff’s Office were able to interview the alleged victim for the first time.

Since that interview, the Sheriff’s Office has continued to conduct a preliminary inquiry into the allegations and have determined that the case does contain basic information that would merit an in-depth investigation to determine what, if any, criminal violations may have occurred.

Yesterday, the Sheriff’s Office received confirmation from the SC Law Enforcement Division that they had accepted the investigation and Sheriff’s detectives have already started to engage in conversations with SLED agents to facilitate the transfer of all information to SLED.

Sheriff Clark stated…

“This case contains allegations involving a juvenile that was working at a county facility in the presence of other county employees from departments within Pickens County Government.  

A former inmate from the Pickens County Prison/Stockade is being accused of physically assaulting the sixteen year old while both were assigned to a work detail.  

Though, I do not manage, supervise or have any authority over any of the potential witnesses or the former inmate that has been identified by the alleged victim, I feel that it would be improper for the Sheriff’s Office to proceed any further with this investigation due to our relationship with those departments and any of their employees. 

As with any allegation of criminal conduct, our first obligation is to ensure that the investigation is conducted in a fair and impartial manner. 

It is for this reason that I feel compelled to ask for outside assistance from a neutral and detached agency to avoid any appearance of impropriety.”

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“Pickens County Sheriff’s Office to be Dropped from Lawsuit”

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Recently, various networks including local newspapers have reported on a lawsuit filed in the 13th Judicial Court of Common Pleas against Pickens County that alleges improper supervision and conduct of inmate trustees at Mile Creek Park in Six Mile.

Details from those news stories also indicated that the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office was being named in the litigation for various reasons due to the inmates were from the Pickens County Detention Center which is under the supervision and control of the Pickens County Sheriff.

Upon learning of these allegations, the Sheriff’s Office immediately contacted the law firm representing the Plaintiff in this case and informed them that at no time were any inmate trustees from the Pickens County Detention Center ever assigned to perform any duties at Mile Creek Park.

Furthermore, the Sheriff’s Office never entered into any such agreement as alleged with any other county department as stated in the lawsuit. Inmates assigned to the detention center do not perform any work assignments offsite from the Law Enforcement Center.

After consulting with the attorney for the Plaintiff, it has been determined that the allegation is directed towards the Pickens County Prison commonly referred to as the Stockade and not the Pickens County Detention Center.

The Sheriff’s Office does not manage any of the operations, the staff or the inmate population at the Pickens County Prison and the county employees assigned to that facility are not employees of the Sheriff’s Office.

The Sheriff’s Office has been informed by White, Davis and White Law Firm in Anderson that the pending lawsuit will be amended and all allegations against the Sheriff’s Office will be removed.

Creed W. Hashe, Chief Deputy

“Pickens County Sheriff’s Office Expects No Criminal Charges in Fatal Shooting of Greenville Resident”

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09-26-17 

The Pickens County Sheriff’s Office has concluded the investigation into the deadly shooting of Henry Hugh Thomas (39yoa) on the evening of September 12, 2017, at 115 Walker St. in Easley.

Detectives have interviewed all known parties that were present on the night of the incident and reviewed the information learned from Sheriff’s detectives that were in attendance during the autopsy of the deceased.

The investigation revealed that Mr. Thomas entered the residence just before 8:00pm after he opened an unlocked but closed door and walked inside – unannounced and uninvited.

Upon entering, Thomas encountered the homeowner and four other adult guests inside the residence. The occupants immediately determined that Thomas was a stranger to everyone inside the residence and when questioned about his identity Thomas produced a .22 caliber semi-automatic handgun and proceeded to point it in the direction of the occupants.

Mr. Thomas discharged two rounds from the weapon in the direction of the guests at which time two of the men that were inside the home physically engaged Thomas. A struggle ensued and one of the occupants retrieved a .9mm handgun from a bedroom inside the home.

As the two men continued to struggle with Mr. Thomas, one of the guests identified as James Christopher Murphy fired two rounds from the .9mm handgun that struck Thomas causing injuries to his upper and lower torso.

Witnesses stated that when those rounds were fired, Thomas was still holding the weapon that he had brought to the scene and was still actively fighting the two men that were attempting to disarm him.

Mr. Thomas dropped his weapon after he was wounded and was held on the floor until authorities arrived. He later died from his injuries during surgery at a local hospital.

Detectives interviewed numerous individuals pursuant to this investigation and determined that Henry Thomas had no known previous interactions with any of the occupants that were inside the home on the night of the shooting.

There is no known information that Thomas had ever previously been to the residence and he was residing in Greenville County at the time of his death.

The weapon possessed and brought to the scene by Mr. Thomas was previously reported stolen in Anderson County in 2015.

A records check of the handgun obtained from inside the residence that fired the fatal shots indicated that the handgun is not reported as stolen and the homeowner has stated that it belongs to him.

The Sheriff’s Office has consulted with the 13th Circuit Solicitor’s Office regarding this investigation and all known information along with the evidence collected from the scene has been presented for a legal review and opinion.

Under the SC Protection of Persons and Property Act (SC Code Ann. 16-11-410 et. Seq.), sometimes commonly referred to as the “Castle Doctrine”, a person is immune from prosecution when certain elements or facts are present.

Based on the evidence collected at the scene, observations during the autopsy and the statements provided by witnesses, the use of force by a permitted guest against Mr. Thomas was justified absent any other unknown information.

The Pickens County Sheriff’s Office concurs with the opinion of the 13th Circuit Solicitor’s Office in that the supporting evidence indicates that Mr. Thomas unlawfully entered an occupied dwelling while armed with a handgun and subsequently fired two shots that placed the occupants in fear of their life and safety.

The use of force by one of the permitted guests in self-defense and in the defense of others appears to meet the provisions of SC law that grants immunity from prosecution.

No criminal charges are expected to be filed in this incident based on the known facts and supporting evidence collected during the investigation.

 

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“Pickens County Sheriff’s Office Continues to Investigate Homicide in Easley”

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The Pickens County Sheriff’s Office continues to investigate the fatal shooting of Henry Hugh Thomas (39yoa) on the evening of September 12, 2017, at 115 Walker St. in Easley.

An autopsy was conducted on the deceased yesterday with detectives from the Sheriff’s Office in attendance. Examination of the body during the autopsy confirmed that Mr. Thomas was shot multiple times from what appears to be a .9mm caliber weapon.

Two handguns were recovered from the residence on the night of the investigation with one being a .9mm caliber.

Other occupants that were present inside the residence when the shooting occurred have stated that the deceased entered the residence uninvited and brandished a handgun. A physical confrontation ensued after the deceased allegedly fired two rounds in the direction of the occupants however no one was struck.

During a struggle between Thomas and the other occupants, the deceased was shot with a handgun that was allegedly retrieved from a bedroom inside the home.

Sheriff’s detectives have interviewed all parties and are continuing to investigate the circumstances of any event that may have occurred prior to the shooting.

No arrests have been made at this stage of the investigation and we expect to have the investigation completed within the next week at which time it will be turned over to the 13th Circuit Solicitor’s Office for their legal review.

The Sheriff’s Office is asking that anyone with information regarding this case to please call the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office at (864) 898-5500 or CrimeStoppers at 1-888-CRIMESC.

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“Pickens County Sheriff’s Office Investigates Fatal Shooting at Easley Residence”

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The Pickens County Sheriff’s Office is currently investigating the fatal shooting of an adult male that occurred late last night at 115 Walker St. in Easley.

The Sheriff’s Office received reports of a gunshot victim at approximately 9:00pm on Tuesday, September 12, 2017, at a residence located on Walker St.

Responding deputies arrived on the scene and found an adult male inside the home that had multiple injuries consistent with gunshot wounds. The man was transported to a local hospital where he died later during the night.

The identity of the deceased is unknown at this time and witnesses at the scene have stated that he does not live at the residence.

Information gathered during the preliminary phase of the investigation indicates that the unidentified male entered the residence uninvited while allegedly armed with a handgun.

A confrontation between the deceased and the other occupants inside the home resulted in multiple rounds being fired between at least two people to include the deceased. As many as five other adults were inside the location when the shooting occurred.

Detectives have continued to investigate the incident throughout the night and two handguns along with spent shell casings were recovered from inside the residence. No other injuries were sustained to any of the other parties inside the home.

No arrests have been made at this stage of the investigation and an autopsy will be conducted at the request of the Pickens County Coroner’s Office to determine the manner and cause of death.

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