Public news and announcements are brought to you by the Horry County Public Information Office.
On April 14, 2015
Conway, South Carolina- Yesterday morning in Horry County General Sessions Court, criminal defendant John Johnson, 25, pled guilty to two (2) counts of Armed Robbery. Johnson was scheduled for trial for April 20, 2015.
The Honorable John C. Hayes III accepted the guilty plea and sentenced the defendant to serve eighteen (18) years on each charge to be served concurrently at the South Carolina Department of Corrections. Johnson must serve 85 percent before being eligible for parole. Nancy Livesay, Violent Crimes Prosecutor for the Fifteenth Circuit Solicitor’s Office, represented the State of South Carolina on this matter.
On May 27th, 2013, officers responded to a report of an armed robbery at Sea Mist Motel on 309 12th Avenue South, Myrtle Beach. Victims reported that three black males held them at gunpoint and stole their wallets and a cell phone. A witness observed three men matching the description of the suspects running from motel and fleeing the scene in a red Dodge Charge. The vehicle was stopped at the south end of Myrtle Beach and the victims’ property and two guns were located.
The co-defendants charged in this case have either pled guilty or are awaiting trial.
Conway, South Carolina-Yesterday in Horry County General Sessions Court, defendant Gabriel Lee Gratto, 30, pled guilty to Felony Driving Under the Influence resulting in death, Felony Driving Under the Influence resulting in great bodily injury and Leaving the Scene of an Accident resulting in death. Gratto was scheduled to stand trial on the aforementioned charges with jury selection to begin today.
Yesterday morning, the Honorable John C. Hayes, III accepted the guilty plea and sentenced the defendant to serve fifteen (15) years at the South Carolina Department of Corrections without possibility of parole. Senior Assistant Solicitor Bradley C. Richardson of the Fifteenth Circuit Solicitor’s Office represented the State on this matter.
This incident occurred on May 15, 2013, when Gratto met with a group of friends at a local golf course in the North Myrtle Beach section of Horry County; during the course of that afternoon of golfing, Gratto consumed several alcoholic beverages. Upon leaving the golf course, Gratto and his companions travelled to a local bar where they then consumed more alcohol. At around 6:30 p.m., Gratto paid his bar tab, got behind the wheel, and drove south on Highway 31 toward the south end of the Myrtle Beach where he resided.
While traveling on Highway 31, several witnesses observed the defendant’s erratic and reckless driving and attempted to call law enforcement, utilizing both Horry County 911 and Star HP (*47), to contact the South Carolina Highway Patrol. Prior to the South Carolina Highway Patrol being able to intercept the impaired driver, Gratto exited Highway 31, traveled down Highway 544 and eventually to Secondary Highway 394 near the Prestwick Golf Course.
Unfortunately, at that time, victims Ms. Joan Errickson and her fiancé Mr. Charles Roach were travelling along the same road in the opposite direction of Gratto when they observed his Jeep Wrangler veer over into their lane. While Ms. Errickson attempted to escape the oncoming Jeep by pulling far onto her shoulder of the road, Gratto’s Jeep violently struck into her Buick LeSabre on the driver’s side door at a speed of approximately 51 MPH. The collision was captured on a security video that was later provided to the State by Prestwick.
The video further showed Gratto exit his own vehicle, peer into Ms. Errickson’s Buick and look into her window to see she and Mr. Roach trapped in the vehicle, prior to running away from the scene on foot. Ms. Errickson was pronounced dead at the scene and Mr. Roach was rushed to the hospital for treatment of his injuries. They were planning to marry that summer.
Gratto was located a short time later at his home and brought back to the scene where he was administered a field sobriety test, which he failed.
Thereafter, the defendant was charged with the aforementioned crimes. The investigation revealed that the defendant’s Blood Alcohol Content was well above the legal limit for impairment.
On January 22, 2015
A Bond Reconsideration Hearing will be heard before Judge R. Markley Dennis in regards to State vs. Sidney Moorer and Tammy Moorer. The hearing will take place at the Charleston County Judicial Center, 100 Broad Street, Charleston, SC 29401, phone: 843-958-5000. It will be held on January 30th, 2015. The time is yet to be determined.
On September 29, 2014
Conway, South Carolina- After deliberating only four (4) hours yesterday, a jury found thirty-four (34) year old Jamar Antonio Huggins guilty of Burglary in the First Degree, Kidnapping and Armed Robbery.
These crimes were committed in the early morning hours of December 20, 2012 on Memory Lane in the Conway section of Horry County. The incident was a true home invasion where a female deceived her friend, the victim in this case, to opening the door to her home around 1:00 a.m. to a terrifying attack. Two men, one being an armed Jamar Huggins, rushed in, pointed a gun at her and her twelve (12) year old daughter and demanded money from them. Before she could run to her daughter’s aid, the unidentified co-defendant forced the victim into the master bathroom.
Jamar Huggins’ criminal jury trial began on Tuesday, September 16, 2014 in Horry County General Sessions Court before the Honorable Benjamin H. Culbertson. Fifteenth Circuit Senior Assistant Solicitor Donna Elder represented the State and John Reuben Long, II, Esq. represented the accused. By Thursday afternoon on September 17, 2014, Jamar Huggins was found guilty on all charges and sentenced to serve fifteen (15) years at the South Carolina Department of Corrections in Columbia, S.C.
All three of these crimes are deemed “violent, most serious” and “no parole” offenses under South Carolina law. Offense like these are considered strikes against Jamar Huggins under South Carolina’s two-strike and three-strike laws. “No parole” offenses are any crimes carrying a penalty of twenty (20) years or more. That means that service of eighty-five percent (85%) of the sentence imposed is required before Jamar Huggins is eligible for release to community supervision (parole).
If you have any questions about this case, please contact Senior Assistant Solicitor Donna Elder at (843) 915-5460.
On May 6, 2014
Conway, South Carolina-Herbert Jordan Richardson of Conway pled guilty to Voluntary Manslaughter and was sentenced to 20 years by Circuit Court Judge Larry Hyman during the April 2014 term of Court.
When officers arrived they did locate the victim, 50 year old Raymond “Andy” Burkett. Burkett had multiple stab wounds and was believed to have been struck in the head by a blunt object. Burkett did tell the responding officer and a neighbor that the defendant, who was his roommate, had attacked him while he slept. Within hours of the attack Burkett did expire as a result of his injuries while undergoing medical treatment. The defendant was located in the apartment and was placed under arrest without incident. Burkett was survived by his sister Kathy Taylor of Virginia. The case was prosecuted by Assistant Solicitor J. Stephen Grooms.
For details please call J. Stephen Grooms at 915-8635
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