Pickens County Sheriff’s Office Continues to Search for Leads in the Fatal Shooting of Easley Resident
The Pickens County Sheriff’s Office continues to investigate the circumstances surrounding the shooting death of Heyward “Trey” Delno Price, III, an Easley resident who was found dead Monday morning at his residence located at 207 Shade Tree Circle. Sheriff’s Detectives have worked non-stop since the discovery of the victim’s body and continue to track down any lead that may give answers to some pending questions in the investigation.
As the investigation has progressed, the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office has developed a vehicle of interest and is requesting the public’s assistance in locating this vehicle. The vehicle of interest is believed to be an orange minivan, similar to a Dodge Caravan. (See below stock photo of what the vehicle is believed to look like).
Anyone with information regarding this incident or information about the vehicle of interest is asked to call the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office at (864) 898-5500 or Crimestoppers at 1-888-CRIMESC.
Pickens County Sheriff’s Office Investigates Death of Easley Man as a Homicide
The Pickens County Sheriff’s Office and the Pickens County Coroner’s Office are currently investigating the death of an Easley man as a homicide after being found dead yesterday morning at his residence located at 207 Shade Tree Circle.
The victim who is an adult male was found deceased with a visible injury that is characteristic of a gunshot wound. No weapon was found at the scene. Preliminary investigation is that the victim resides at the residence.
The Sheriff’s Office has not taken anyone into custody during the early stages of the investigation as Sheriff’s Detectives continue to conduct interviews with relatives, friends and acquaintances. However, Detectives also believe that this is an isolated incident and there is no immediate danger to the public.
Inquiries concerning the identity of the victim should be directed to the Pickens County Coroner’s Office.
Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to call the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office at (864) 898-5500 or Crimestoppers at 1-888-CRIMESC.
In the early morning hours on today’s date, Deputies with the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office responded to 3800 Calhoun Memorial Highway, Easley, South Carolina (the entrance to the South Carolina Upper State Fairgrounds) to assist Pickens County EMS. A passerby had reported discovering a male subject at that location who was unresponsive. Upon the arrival of the Deputies, EMS reported that the subject was deceased.
Detectives were called to the scene to begin their investigation. Early information obtained in the investigation thus far does not indicate any obvious signs of foul play.
The Sheriff’s Office has no additional information to release at this time pending results from an autopsy and completion of the investigation. The Sheriff’s Office is being assisted with the investigation by the Pickens County Coroner’s Office.
Inquiries pertaining to the identity of the subject should be directed to the Pickens County Coroner’s Office.
In June of 2018, a multiagency investigation that centered around the use of contraband cellphones by inmates in the South Carolina Department of Corrections to operate an illegal drug empire, was initiated. The investigation, known as “Prison Empire”, was venued in Pickens County for prosecution purposes and culminated in the indictment of 53 people on 191 criminal charges due to their participation in having trafficked over 500 kilograms of methamphetamine and large sums of other illicit narcotics with an estimated street value of over twenty million dollars. In November of 2019, Sheriff Clark and the Attorney General’s Office revealed the investigation to the public through a press conference that was held at the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office. Since then, the investigation into this large scale criminal drug conspiracy has continued and we are pleased to announce the second phase of “Prison Empire”.
On March 1st, 2021, an additional 47 defendants and 296 charges were unsealed. The second phase of the investigation also centered around inmates housed in the South Carolina Department of Corrections using contraband cellular telephones to coordinate large scale drug trafficking with people on the outside. After the indictments were unsealed, the defendants were taken into custody and transported to the Pickens County Detention Center to await bond hearings. To date, “Prison Empire” represents the largest drug conspiracy investigation ever in the State of South Carolina containing 487 charges, 297 counts, and 100 defendants.
To clarify, this investigation DID NOT involve inmates who were housed in the Pickens County Detention Center, as some have suggested. Instead, the basis of the investigation revolved around inmates housed in various prisons maintained by the South Carolina Department of Corrections. The Special Operations Unit of the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office, working in conjunction with their state and local partners, provided the investigative resources necessary to bring these charges forward against the accused offenders. The Pickens County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank all the Agencies involved with long and very complicated investigation. Agencies involved in this investigation are the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office, the Greenville County Multi-Jurisdictional Drug Enforcement Unit, the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office, the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office, the Edgefield County Sheriff’s Office, the Lexington County Sheriff’s Office, the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office, the Easley Police Department, the South Carolina Department of Corrections’ Division of Police Services, and the State Grand Jury Division of the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office.
See link the Attorney General’s press release below.
Late last night the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office was called to the scene of an accident involving an Anderson County Sheriff’s Office patrol vehicle. The accident occurred on Midway Road in Williamston, South Carolina.
The investigation revealed that an Anderson County Deputy was responding to a call for service with his emergency equipment activated. As the Deputy attempted to pass another vehicle and move back into his lane of travel, he lost control of his vehicle causing a collision with a vehicle traveling in the opposite direction.
The driver of the other vehicle was treated and released at the hospital. The Deputy was not injured in the crash. Both vehicles suffered significant damage.
The Deputy was found to have contributed to the accident.
Agents of the S.C. Law Enforcement Division yesterday arrested a Pickens County man who on November 2, 2020 was in possession of an explosive that had been configured to cause damage, injury or death. David Scott Halsey, 58, was charged with Possess, Manufacture, Transport Destructive Device Or Explosive For Damage, Injury Or Death. SLED, Easley Police Department and Pickens County Sheriff’s Office are working in conjunction with a federal investigation. Halsey was booked at the Pickens County Detention Center. The case will be prosecuted by the 13th Circuit Solicitor’s Office.
On Thursday, November 5, 2020, Deputies from the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office extradited the 29 year old male that had been taken into custody in Johnson County, Tennessee following the investigation into the circumstances surrounding the shooting death of Dustin Lee Smith.
David Michael Watkins (29 YOA) was booked into the Pickens County Detention Center on the following charges:
2020A3910101349 – Murder
2020A3910101353 – Possession of Weapon During a Violent Crime
A 29 year old male has been taken into custody following the investigation into the circumstances surrounding the shooting death of Dustin Lee Smith. Mr. Smith was found deceased on the shoulder of Ponderosa Drive, Six Mile, early Sunday morning.
A team of detectives have worked around the clock since the deceased was first discovered the morning of Sunday, November 1, 2020.
The suspect was identified during the investigation which led detectives to Johnson County, Tennessee, where the suspect was taken into custody without incident.
This investigation is still on-going as Sheriff’s detectives are investigating additional leads and information to determine if there are other potential co-defendant(s) that may have played a role before and/or after Mr. Smith’s death.
Sheriff Rick Clark stated…..
“Please join with us as we pray for Mr. Smith’s family and friends as they attempt to understand and cope with this tragic and senseless loss of life. Our hearts go out to each and every one of them as we remain focused on the mission at hand; which is to bring the person or persons responsible for his death to justice. I would also like to extend our sincere thanks to the excellent law enforcement officers from the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation who assisted us during this investigation. The success of this investigation would not have been possible without them”.
David Michael Watkins (29 YOA) taken into custody today in Johnson County, Tennessee, where he awaits extradition back to South Carolina. He will be booked on the following charge:
On Saturday, October 24, 2020, Agents with Pickens County Sheriff’s Office, Easley Police Department, and Clemson Police Department collected medications from the public at three locations within Pickens County. The agencies were participating in the DEA National Prescription Pill Take Back Day. The nationwide event was designed to remove unused prescription medications from public access, to help prevent drug addiction and overdose deaths. Often times, these medications are abused by family and friends of the person originally prescribed the medications. The program offers a safe way to dispose of unused pills. Pickens County Sheriff’s Office, Easley Police Department, and Clemson Police Department collect pills year round at their agency office, and actively participate in this program. Behavioral Health Services of Pickens in particular the Stepping it up Coalition, also assists with this national event. This year, all participants were able to collect three hundred ninety-five (395) pounds of medication. Thanks for everyone’s participation in reducing the prescription drug problem in our community.
It has come to our attention that this scam is very prevalent in the City of Easley and surrounding areas today! PLEASE DO NOT BE DECEIVED BY THIS SCAM!
SCAM ALERT – In the recent days, the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office has received numerous calls from citizens regarding a scam where fraudsters have been impersonating deputies with the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office to obtain pre-paid gift cards. Victims reported having received phone calls from telephone number (864) 397-7026 and that the subject on the other end of the telephone identified himself as a deputy with the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office before informing the victim that they had an outstanding warrant for missing jury duty. According to those who have notified PCSO of the incident, the subject impersonating a deputy informed them that they could resolve the issue by making a payment via pre-paid gift cards (ie: iTunes gift cards, Greendot cards, prepaid Visa cards, etc.). This is a SCAM!
No representative of the Pickens County
Sheriff’s Office will EVER call any citizen and request that they
submit a payment via telephone, this is not a practice of the Pickens County
Sheriff’s Office and if you receive such a phone call it is an immediate sign
that the phone call is a scam being facilitated by a fraudster.
The Pickens County Sheriff’s Office DOES NOT
take payment in lieu of serving an arrest warrant. If a warrant has been
issued, there is only two ways to resolve warrant: (1) for the warrant to be
served or (2) for a judge to recall the warrant.
If a subject asks you to submit a payment via a
non-traditional method, such as an iTunes gift card or Greendot card, this is
generally a red flag you are dealing with a scam. Fraudsters typically
choose these unconventional payment methods method because they are more
difficult to track. Therefore, be weary of anyone who requests that you
submit a payment through using those methods.
Fraudsters will frequently keep you on the
telephone to prevent you from calling the appropriate authorities. If you
have concerns that the person you may be dealing with may be legitimate,
hang-up the telephone and look-up the phone number of the agency the subject
claimed they represented. DO NOT rely upon the number they
provide you. Instead, find the number for the agency yourself so to
ensure that you are calling the proper agency and not the telephone number of
the fraudster. Upon calling the agency, be sure to ask to speak
with a deputy about the phone call so that they can properly advise you and
look into the matter on your behalf.