Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Arrests Last of Five Wanted in 2013 Receiving Stolen Goods Case

Brain Lee Banks

Brain Lee Banks

Daman Paul Strickland, Jr.

Daman Paul Strickland, Jr.

Lesiel Anderson Finley

Lesiel Anderson Finley

Rip Patrick Bryant

Rip Patrick Bryant

Timothy Rip Bryant

Timothy Rip Bryant

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)———————————The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office arrested a Liberty man last Friday morning on an outstanding warrant of Receiving Stolen Goods from a case that occurred back in October of 2013.

20 year old Timothy Rip Bryant of 246 Joyce Road was booked into the Oconee County Detention Center around 1:46am. Bryant was picked up by the Easley Police Department, which notified the Sheriff’s Office. A deputy met up with officers at the Wal-Mart in Central to bring Bryant back to Oconee County.

Bryant was the last of five people arrested who were charged in the case. 46 year old Lesiel Anderson Finley, 40 year old Rip Patrick Bryant, and 48 year old Brian Lee Banks, all of 738 Old Clemson Highway in Seneca and 34 year old Daman Paul Strickland, Jr. of 75 Latimer Ridge Road in Honea Path were all arrested back in October of last year and each charged with Receiving Stolen Goods.

A deputy responded the morning of October 16th, 2013 to an address on Old Clemson Highway to reports of items missing from a residence that he was in the process of moving into. Witnesses reported seeing the items at a nearby residence where all five individuals were contacted. Some of items were recovered and the individuals told the deputy that they were not sure how the items came into their possession.

As the investigation continued, warrants were obtained against all five persons in the case. The total amount of the items taken, according to warrants, was around $5,000.

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Charges One, Seeks Another in June Walhalla Arson

Christopher Edward Burrell

Christopher Edward Burrell

Amy Dawn Lakey

Amy Dawn Lakey

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)———————————The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office has charged a Toccoa, Georgia woman with Third degree Arson due to an incident that occurred back on June 20th in Walhalla. The Sheriff’s Office is seeking a Walhalla man on four separate counts related to the case.

31 year old Amy Dawn Lakey, who address on warrants is listed as 304 Brazwell Street, was booked into the Oconee County Detention Center yesterday around 1:17pm. Brazwell was arrested by Walhalla Police on Forgery Charges and was later served the Arson warrant by a deputy from the Sheriff’s Office.

The individual currently being sought is 21 year old Christopher Edward Burrell of 403 Dodge City Drive in Walhalla on charges of Third Degree Arson, Second Degree Burglary, Third Degree Burglary and Petit Larceny.

A deputy responded to an address on Hope Drive where fire personnel were on the scene in regards to a fire at a residence. Due to their initial investigation, fire personnel believed that the fire may have been intentionally set inside the home. The case was eventually turned over to the Criminal Investigations Division of the Sheriff’s Office.

As the investigation continued and witnesses interviewed and evidence gathered, warrants were obtained charging Lakey and Burrell on the arson charges. Warrants said that there was “significant damage” to the house.

In addition, warrants also charge Burrell with entering the residence on Hope Drive back on June 20th to set the fire, plus, Burrell is accused of entering a building on the property and taking tools from that building. The value of the tools taken was less than $2,000.

The surety bond amount on the arson charge on Lakey is $25,000 and she is still being held at the Detention Center.

Anyone with any information on the whereabouts of Christopher Edward Burrell is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 864-638-STOP, 1-888-CRIME-SC, or text in your tip to 274637. You don’t have to give your name and if you tip leads to an arrest, you could be eligible for a cash reward.

The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office is continuing their investigation in the case.

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Charges a Westminster Man on Sexual Battery Charges

Bill David West

Bill David West

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)———————————The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office arrested a Westminster man late yesterday evening on charges of a sexual battery involving a 22 year old woman.

The official charge against 59 year old Bill David West of 106 Long Drive is Third Degree Assault with Intent to Commit Criminal Sexual Conduct.

A deputy responded to Oconee Medical Center yesterday morning due to reports of a sexual assault. The case was referred to the Criminal Investigations Division of the Sheriff’s Office.

As the investigation continued, it was determined that West engaged in a sexual battery on the woman, however, coercion was not used as the woman was asleep and woke up as the act was being committed. The assault occurred at an address in Seneca.

West is currently at the Oconee County Detention Center on a $25,000 surety bond.

The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office is continuing their investigation.

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Answers Questions Regarding the Internet and the Sex Offender Registry

Sheriff's Badge

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)———————————Recently the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office has fielded questions from citizens regarding whether an individual on the sex offender registry is allowed to have a social media site as well as access to the internet.

In efforts to be pro-active and to educate our citizens, the Sheriff’s Office is hoping to clear the air about what the law says not only concerning those on the registry and what they are allowed to do or not do, but also to raise awareness to avoid any issues regarding possible harassment of those on the registry.

Individuals who are on the sex offender registry are allowed by law to have social media sites and access to the internet as long as certain information is provided, according to Deputy Kelly Winchester, sex offender registrar with the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office. Offenders must provide their IP address, screen names for the social media site pages they have and e-mail addresses. Deputy Winchester says that each offender is required to provide that information as part of their registration process. There are penalties for those offenders who do not provide the necessary information.

“If I am able to prove that an offender did not provide me with their IP address, their screen name, their e-mail or other false information, I can obtain a warrant charging them with Failure to Register since they are not in compliance with the registration requirements of state law,” says Deputy Winchester.

Offenders who are on probation can have internet and social medial access but those offenders must sign a computer agreement with probation officials which allows probation officers access to their computers. The only restriction for those on the registry who are on probation would be a court order that bars them from having internet and social media access for the duration of their probation.

In another side of the coin on this issue, Deputy Winchester says that an individual cannot single out another individual who is on the sex offender registry. An example of this would be someone who lives in a subdivision who prints our flyers to hand out to their neighbors. They are singling out a registered sex offender who lives in that particular subdivision. If it can be proven that an individual singled out someone in this manner, they could face charges of harassment.

“In regards to the internet and social media, the law pertaining to these activities is a little bit fuzzy or to my knowledge, there has not been much precedent,” says Deputy Winchester. “I would caution those, however, who may be thinking about putting information singling out a registered sex offender on the internet or their social media site that if it can be proven that they did this, a judge may reserve the right to issue an arrest warrant charging them with harassment.”

By law, information regarding those on the sex offender registry is public information and the law requires dissemination of that information. However, that information is not to be used to take any action against an individual who is on the registry.

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Charges Westminster Couple with Burglary and Larceny Charges

Brandy Nicole Underwood

Brandy Nicole Underwood

Christopher William Underwood

Christopher William Underwood

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)———————————The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office arrested a Westminster couple last night after an investigation revealed that weapons and other items were taken from a Westminster home of a Walhalla City Police Officer.

28 year old Christopher William Underwood and 26 year old Brandy Nicole Underwood, both of 308 Theo Martin Road, were booked into the Oconee County Detention Center late yesterday evening and early this morning respectively. Each has been charged with Grand Larceny and First Degree Burglary. Christopher Underwood has also been charged with Unlawful Carrying of a Firearm.

A deputy responded to an address on Oliver Road mid-afternoon on Tuesday in regards to a reported burglary. The complainant told the deputy that a relative of his was at the home while workers were doing work there. The complainant said his relative heard two individuals, identified as the Underwood’s, talking. Christopher asked the owner’s relative about the house and a utility building on the property. The relative said that both the house and building were not for sale. The relative talked with Brandy while Christopher reportedly went through the house.

Upon further investigation and information from witnesses, it was determined that Christopher left the house with two bags and put them in a white mini-van with a black bottom. Several items from the house were taken, including multiple weapons, electronic items and law enforcement identification. The items were taken to a separate location. According to investigators, all items have been recovered with the exception of one of the electronic items.

The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office is continuing their investigation.

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Charges Walhalla Man with Grand Larceny

Christopher Edward Burrell

Christopher Edward Burrell

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)———————————The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office arrested a Walhalla man on Grand Larceny charges yesterday in an incident that occurred back on July 31st.

21 year old Christopher Edward Burrell of 129 Wolfers Hollow Road was booked into the Oconee County Detention Center around 1:00pm. He is accused, according to warrants, of stealing assorted jewelry, coins and a firearm from an address on Gabriel Drive in the Seneca area.

A deputy responded to the Gabriel Drive address the evening of July 31st to speak with the complainant who told the deputy that Burrell had come into his house and took the items in question. A witness had seen Burrell in the house on the day in question as well. According to investigators, Burrell previously had access to the home.

The value of the items taken was around $2,800.00 according to the warrant. Investigators say that all the items have been recovered except for the firearm.

Burrell was released yesterday from the Oconee County Detention Center on a $10,000 personal recognizance bond.

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Seeks the Public’s Help in Locating Stolen Vehicle

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)———————————The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office is seeking the public’s help in locating a vehicle that was reported stolen last Thursday morning near Salem.

A deputy was dispatched to speak to the victim at an address on North Highway 11 regarding an 80’s model Chevrolet Flatbed with a grey cab and a black bed that was taken the previous night from a location on Highway 11 near Fall Creek Road. The value of the vehicle is around $2,000.

The victim also told the deputy that several batteries, some heavy duty wire, and a Snapper riding lawn mower were taken as well.

If you have any information concerning this case, please contact Crime Stoppers at 864-638-STOP, 1-888-CRIME-SC, or text in your tip 274637. You don’t have to give your name and if you tip leads to an arrest, you could be eligible for a cash reward.

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Arrests Seneca Man on Multiple Charges in early Sunday Morning Arrest

Chad Allen Phillips

Chad Allen Phillips

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)———————————The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office arrested and charged a Seneca man Sunday morning with multiple charges, which included two traffic tickets and five separate warrants.

23 year old Chad Allen Phillips of 1703 Keowee Lakeshore Drive was booked into the Oconee County Detention Center on warrants charging him with Resisting Arrest, Failure to stop for a Blue Light, Assault and Battery – 3rd Degree, Threatening the Life of a Public Official and Malicious Damage to Property. Phillips was also issued traffic tickets for Littering and Driving under the Influence.

Late Saturday evening, a deputy was dispatched to reports of an accident on Highway 130 near the Bad Creek Hydroelectric Station in the northern part of the county. Unable to locate the accident on Highway 130, the deputy turned onto Highway 107 to look for the accident there. While speaking with a deputy from Jackson County to check up on the possible accident, the deputy observed a black in color Toyota 4 Runner traveling down Highway 107 with no lights on.

After initiating his blue lights and attempting to pull the vehicle over, the vehicle ran the stop sign at the intersection of Wiggington Pass and Highway 107 and turn towards the North Carolina line. The deputy observed the driver, later identified as Phillips, throw an empty six pack of beer out of the window. The vehicle eventually pulled over on the right side of the road on Highway 107.

Once the deputy approached the vehicle, he asked Phillips for his license, registration, and proof of insurance and told him the reason for the stop. According to the deputy, Phillips had a hard time focusing on the instructions of the deputy and smelled of alcohol on his person. After receiving word from dispatch that the driver’s information was clear, the deputy approached the vehicle a second time, where he discovered that Phillips had rolled up his window and had put on a shirt. The deputy asked Phillips on multiple occasions to step out of his vehicle to which Phillips replied multiple times that he would not.

After finally agreeing to exit the vehicle, Phillips stumbled out of his vehicle towards the deputy. The deputy then attempted to place Phillips under arrest to which Phillips resisted by pulling away from the deputy and attempting to turn around. After placing handcuffs on Phillips, he continued to try to get away from the deputy and attempted to jump out in the roadway trying to be struck by another vehicle. Phillips then was placed the back of the deputy’s patrol car.

A second deputy arrived on the scene and an inventory was performed on Phillips vehicle before it was towed. Empty beer cans were discovered in the vehicle. As this was going on, Phillips continued to be unruly and combative by kicking the door of the patrol vehicle. The deputy then transported Phillips to the Detention Center.

On the way to the Detention Center, Phillips continued to be combative and agitated by using profanity and kicking on the back passenger side window and a passenger door, as well as kicking and head-butting the center partition.

At the Detention Center, two deputies assisted the arresting deputy with trying to move Phillips to the jail. Phillips continued to be unruly and used profanity while deputies tried to detain the suspect. Eventually Phillips was detained and move into the Detention Center, where he refused to give a breath sample for the breathalyzer and continued to be unruly and disorderly at the jail.

According to warrants, Phillips had two prior convictions for Failure to stop for a Blue Light. Phillips is also accused at the Detention Center of kicking one of the deputies on the leg and licking his arm and for threating to kill the same deputy once he is released from jail. Finally, Phillips caused over $2,000 in damage to the arresting officers patrol vehicle by kicking out the back passenger side window of the vehicle.

Phillips is currently being held at the Oconee County Detention Center on a combined $37,559.50 surety bond on all charges.

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Charges Mountain Rest in Theft of Motor Vehicle

Nathan Dwight Heaton

Nathan Dwight Heaton

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)———————————The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office has charged a Mountain Rest man on Grand Larceny charges in an incident last Friday in which a vehicle was stolen.

34 year old Nathan Dwight Heaton of 360 Metcalfe Road was booked into the Oconee County Detention Center around 9:55am Saturday morning. Heaton also had an outstanding General Sessions Bench Warrant dated August 1st of this year on drug charges.

A deputy was dispatched the evening of August 9th to an address on Westminster Highway regarding the theft of a motor vehicle. The victim told the deputy that he saw Heaton drive off from his yard in a 2000 Dodge Stratus which Heaton did not have permission to drive. The victim said that Heaton may have been headed towards the Tokeena Crossroads area.

Deputies were later notified of an accident at the end of West Bryant Road near Safety Harbor Road in West Union. When deputies arrived on the scene, they noticed the vehicle involved in the collision was fully engulfed in flames. No one was at the accident scene and it was later determined that the vehicle involved in the accident was the same one reported stolen.

Later, Heaton came to the emergency room at the Oconee Medical Center due to the earlier accident. According to the incident report, Heaton admitted to driving the vehicle and leaving the accident scene. Once discharged from the hospital, Heaton was taken into custody.

The Highway Patrol is investigating the accident and the owner has been notified of the vehicle’s destruction, according to deputies. Warrants show that the value of the vehicle stolen was around $2,100.

As of this morning, Heaton was being held at the Oconee County Detention Center on a $10,000 surety bond on the Grand Larceny charges.

Sixth Annual Marine Corps League TOYS FOR TOTS Golf Tournament Scheduled for September

(Walhalla, SC)——————————————-The Sixth Annual Marine Corps League TOYS FOR TOTS Golf Tournament is scheduled for Tuesday, September 9th at Falcon’s Lair Golf Course. The tournament benefits TOYS FOR TOTS and the Marine Corps League.
Lunch will be served starting at Noon and the tournament begins with a shotgun start at 2pm. The cost for a foursome is $300 ($75 dollars per player). Hole sponsorships are also available for $100.
Door prizes and hole-in-one contests will also be part of the tournament as well.
Space is limited to 72 golfers, so sign up now by sending in your entry fee or sponsorship commitments to:
Marine Corps League Detachment 1131/Golf
P.O. Box 8025
Seneca, SC 29679