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Lengthy South Carolina murder investigation points to 2 suspects

The Kershaw County Sheriff's Department took a man and woman into custody for allegedly murdering a man. The suspects, a married couple from Bethune, have not yet had a bail hearing while authorities detain them in the Kershaw County Detention Center. The arrests came after a prolonged investigation that began on March 8, 2017 when police located the victim's body in Bishopville.

The 34-year-old male victim was last seen at a friend's house sometime in December 2016. When he failed to return to work on Jan. 4, 2017, the Bethune Police Department officially recognized him as a missing person. An anonymous tip 10 weeks later revealed the location of his shallow grave.

The sheriff said that two suspects emerged during their investigation. Law enforcement showed the evidence to the local Solicitor in January 2018 but did not receive authorization to make arrests. After obtaining more evidence, law enforcement gained arrest warrants for the Bethune couple from the Interim Solicitor. The 30-year-old woman now in custody for the murder has no previous criminal record, but her 38-year-old husband has been arrested on multiple occasions for assault, drug manufacturing and possession and DUI.

Pressure to produce arrests after violent crimes might cause police to misinterpret evidence. A person arrested on serious charges arising from accusations of assault, rape or homicide might prevent violations of Constitutional rights by obtaining legal representation. A defense lawyer could challenge weak evidence from unreliable witnesses and push for the dismissal of charges. If evidence survives legal challenges, a lawyer could sow doubt in the minds of jurors during a trial or pursue a plea deal that limits penalties.

Source: WIS TV, "Sheriff: Married couple charged with murder of SC man who disappeared, found in shallow grave 10 weeks later", Tanita Gaither, Oct. 19, 2018

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Christopher A. Wellborn, P.A.
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