“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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“Pickens County Deputy Receives Minor Injuries after Being Struck by Civilian Vehicle “

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An on-duty deputy with the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office was injured late last night just before 10:00pm after he stopped to offer assistance to the Easley Police Department on Hwy 123 near Ross Ave.

The deputy who was on routine patrol observed several Easley Police Department vehicles stopped in the median of Hwy 123 with their emergency equipment activated.

The deputy exited his marked patrol unit and walked across the highway to where the police officers were investigating and restraining a passenger from a vehicle originally involved in the Easley PD investigation.

Another civilian vehicle, unrelated to the Easley investigation, was also traveling on Hwy 123 when the driver of that vehicle left the roadway and struck several of the officers to include the Pickens County Deputy.

The deputy received minor injuries and was treated and released from a local hospital. The SCHP is investigating the incident.

Previous reports that the deputy was involved in a police pursuit with the Easley Police Department are unfounded.

 

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“Eclipse Safety Tips”

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We hope everyone enjoys this momentous event. Please stay safe!

Here’s some humor and some tips for your Friday before the eclipse!

“It is very likely this is the end of life on this planet as we know it,” One Sheriff Joked,

“There is no need to wait until Sunday night to buy bread and milk. The shelves will be empty already as vast hoards descend on grocery stores. If you wait, the only thing left will be potted meat and knock-off brand cereal, with such names as RaisinO’s and Cheeribran”

He also jokingly advised people not to look directly at the sun “unless of course you live in the backwoods. In that case no one will hear you scream as you stumble blindly into a moonshine still or a bear trap.”

Seriously though, here are some safety tips,

Safely view the solar eclipse:

  • Get to your viewing spot early and do not trespass on private property
  • Only wear certified eclipse viewing glasses
  • Do not view the eclipse or wear your eclipse glasses while driving
  • Do not pull your car over on the side of the road to view the eclipse
  • Have a plan for your family:
  • Buy groceries before the weekend (don’t forget about your pets)
  • Fill your car up with gas before the weekend
  • Refill prescriptions ahead of time so you will have needed medication on hand
  • Determine how you will communicate if cell service is down
  • Do not overload residential decks and balconies, which could collapse from too much weight
  • Identify a meeting location for your family in case you get separated from one another
  • Have a plan for your business:
  • Encourage employees to fill their cars with gas before the weekend
  • Be prepared for the impact of heavy traffic on employees’ ability to get to and from work
  • Review delivery schedules with suppliers and adjust to avoid heavy traffic times and areas
  • Be prepared for more cash transactions and potential challenges with credit/debit card transactions.

“Pickens County Sheriff’s Office Closes Homicide Investigation at Greenville-Pickens Speedway as Murder/Suicide “

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07-24-17 

The Pickens County Sheriff’s Office has completed the investigation into the deaths of two small children and their mother following the discovery of their bodies in a black colored Jeep Patriot that had been parked on the property of the Greenville- Pickens Speedway.

The incident which occurred on Thursday, July 13, 2017, was the tragic conclusion in the events that started a couple of hours earlier with the investigation of a woman later identified as Meredith Rahme (28yoa) that was shot and killed in a parking garage located in downtown Greenville.

Detectives from the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office have determined that Jessica Edens (36yoa), the mother of the two children, ages 5 and 9, went into her parent’s home the day before the shootings and stole a .40 caliber handgun while the parents were out of town.

That weapon which was legally owned by the parents is believed to be the same weapon used in the Greenville murder and the murder/suicide that subsequently occurred inside the shooter’s vehicle while parked in Pickens County.

The Sheriff’s Office has reviewed telephone records obtained via Search Warrants that have confirmed that Mrs. Edens became distraught following a Family Court preceding that was held earlier the same week prior to the Thursday shootings.

Texts messages and other written content clearly indicate that Mrs. Edens developed a plan in the next couple of days that she felt would cause everlasting consequences for her husband-Benjamin Edens.

The investigation has confirmed that Mrs. Edens drove her vehicle directly from the parking garage in Greenville just moments after Ms. Rahme was murdered to the site where it was later discovered by a passing motorist at the speedway.

Based on a phone call made by Mrs. Edens to her husband while he was in the presence of Greenville authorities, along with other evidence and observations at the scene, it is believed that the children were shot while seated in the rear cargo area of the SUV. There were no signs of a struggle.

Detectives feel that the children were shot before Mrs. Edens placed what would be her final phone call to her husband and then she took her own life as she sat in the back seat of the Jeep.

As previously reported, first responding deputies found the vehicle in a locked condition with the engine running. Deputies used a baton to break the driver’s side window in order to gain access to the interior.

Both children and their mother were all deceased at the scene when deputies arrived and gained entry into the vehicle.

The Sheriff’s Office attended the autopsies conducted by the Pickens County Coroner the following day at which time it was confirmed that each victim had a single gunshot wound to the head.

Sheriff Rick Clark stated… 

“As we struggle to understand how a parent could possibly come to a decision such as this, we have to focus on tomorrow and the opportunity to provide services and solutions to those that feel that their life and the lives of their loved ones must end in order to find peace. 

We live in a stressful world during difficult times but there are resources that stand ready to offer help and assist you if you feel that you have no other options left in life. 

Please reach out to law enforcement so that we can be the bridge to lead you to a road of recovery. In time, you will see that all things come to pass and you too can become a stronger person with hope and faith in a brighter future. 

All of us need a helping hand from time to time as we walk through life and asking for help is not a sign of weakness that any of us should be ashamed of”. 

The Pickens County Sheriff’s Office would like to publicly thank our colleagues at the Greenville Police Department for their cooperation and support throughout this heartbreaking investigation.

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“Pickens County Sheriff’s Office Confirms Homicide Investigation is Connected to Greenville Murder “

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07-14-17 

The Pickens County Sheriff’s Office has continued to investigate the tragic deaths of three victims found inside a black colored Jeep SUV that was parked at the Greenville Pickens Speedway near Hwy 124 and Calhoun Memorial Hwy.

Late Thursday afternoon, a description of the vehicle had been provided to the Sheriff’s Office from Greenville authorities shortly after officers from the Greenville City Police Department located a deceased female that had been shot at her vehicle in a downtown parking garage.

A witness provided the description of the suspect vehicle to Greenville Police to include a license plate number that provided additional leads linking back to Pickens County.

As law enforcement agencies within Pickens County searched various locations for the vehicle, the Sheriff’s Office received information from a passing motorist that a dark colored SUV matching the description was backed up to a chain-link fence at the Greenville Pickens Speedway.

Pickens County Sheriff’s deputies arrived on the scene just before 7:00pm and as they approached the SUV they observed an adult female and two small children inside the vehicle that were unresponsive.

The vehicle was running and was locked thus requiring the deputies to break the driver’s side window to gain access to the interior.

All three occupants were determined to be deceased at the scene with wounds that were visually consistent with gunshots. A .40 caliber, semi-automatic handgun was recovered from the interior of the vehicle.

As the investigation continued throughout most of the night, it was determined that the adult female is the mother of the two deceased children whom have different biological fathers.

The mother was currently separated from her husband who is the father of one of the two children.

Forensic detectives from the Sheriff’s Office were in attendance at the autopsies conducted on the three Pickens County victims earlier today. Evidence and observations from those examinations have confirmed that all three victims were shot one time near the neck/head area.

The Sheriff’s Office is still collecting information and conducting interviews this afternoon. The investigation will remain open and active until further forensic testing can be completed and all interviews have been conducted.

The investigation thus far supports the theory that the motive and connection between the two incidents stems from the broken marriage and the subsequent domestic challenges associated with that break up.

The Greenville victim is not a relative to the three victims found deceased in Pickens County. Additional questions regarding the relationship between the Greenville victim and the three victims located in Pickens County should be directed to the Greenville Police Department.

Inquiries regarding the identities of the deceased parties should be directed to the Pickens County Coroner’s Office.

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“Two Juveniles Charged with Burning Cateechee Mill “

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07-07-17

The Pickens County Sheriff’s Office has charged two juveniles this afternoon following the investigation into the circumstances surrounding a fire on Thursday, July 6, 2017, that destroyed an abandoned mill commonly referred to as the Cateechee Mill.

The Sheriff’s Office first received reports of the structure fire at approximately 1:30pm on Thursday afternoon necessitating the response of multiple fire departments in the effort to extinguish the flames that had fully engulfed the entire facility.

Detectives from the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office investigated several leads that ultimately led to two juveniles that have been identified and charged with the intentional setting of the fire.

Both juveniles have cooperated with authorities and the investigation has determined that the fire occurred after a paper document was lit with a cigarette lighter and thrown onto the floor where the fire ultimately was able to grow and spread throughout the structure.

Due to the age of both male, juveniles who are currently between the ages of 8 and 14 years old they have been released to the custody of their parents pending court proceedings that will be scheduled and heard in Family Court for the charges of Arson 3rd Degree and Unlawful Entry into an Enclosed Area.

Sheriff Rick Clark stated…

“Thankfully, no one was physically injured as a result of this incident. The public should not lose sight of the fact that Pickens County is blessed to have a population of adolescents that will one day mature and become outstanding citizens for our communities.

These two kids obviously made a poor choice and they will have to be held accountable for their actions but that does not prevent us from lifting them in prayer in hopes that others will learn from this clear example of poor judgment”.

The Sheriff’s Office does not expect any additional arrests based on the investigation thus far.

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