Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Arrests Walhalla Man on Criminal Domestic Violence Charges

Brandon Leon Payne

Brandon Leon Payne

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)———————————–The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office arrested and has charged a Walhalla man with Criminal Domestic Violence after an incident that occurred last Friday morning.

34 year old Brandon Leon Payne, whose address according to a warrant is 312 Torrington Road in Walhalla, was booked in the Oconee County Detention Center around 2:17am on May 9th.

An Oconee County Sheriff’s Office deputy responded to an address on Pickett Post Road around 1:44am last Friday in regards to a call from a complainant that stated that Payne had come home and was assaulting his girlfriend. The deputy arrived and noticed the front door was open. The deputy announced his presence and made his way in, where he called for Payne, upon which Payne came out.

The deputy made his way to a bedroom in the back, where he talked with the victim, who stated that Payne had hit her. The deputy noticed visible injuries on her head. Payne was arrested and transported to the Oconee County Detention Center.

According to the arrest warrant, the victim is a member of the household with Payne. Payne is accused of hitting the victim several times with his hand, throwing the victim across the kitchen, dragging her back into the bedroom, and hitting her several times on her head with a cell phone.

According to the incident report, Payne has had two prior Criminal Domestic Violence charges in the past ten years. Due to that fact, Payne has been charged with Criminal Domestic Violence – 3rd offense.

Payne is still being held at the Oconee County Detention Center on a $50,000 surety bond.

Oconee County Mother Arrested on Charges of Removing Ankle Monitor

Laverne Marie Bennett

Laverne Marie Bennett

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)——————————–An Oconee County mother who was charged with four counts of custodial interference last year was arrested Friday night on charges of removing her ankle monitor.

45 year old Laverne Marie Bennett of 435 Canupp Circle in Westminster was booked into the Oconee County Detention Center around 11:46pm on May 9th.

According to the incident report, deputies responded to the Canupp Road address around 9:40pm last Friday in regards to an ankle monitor that had set a tamper alarm. When deputies arrived, they found no one at the residence. The officers were then advised by dispatch that the suspect, Bennett, had walked to Doyle Street and Simpson Street and she was walking into some woods and her son was trying to keep her on the roadside.

Deputies spoke with the son, who advised deputies where Bennett entered the woods at. One of the deputies found Bennett, who was not wearing her ankle monitor. When asked by officers why she was not, Bennett told the deputies that she had cut it off with a kitchen knife in the backyard.

“Deputies located Bennett within about 15 minutes of the monitor being cut off,” according to Oconee County Sheriff Mike Crenshaw. “We were notified immediately by the ankle monitoring company, DCT Detection and Dale Colegrove. Judge Cordell Maddox and Magistrate Todd Simmons were notified by Mr. Colegrove and she was brought back to jail where she will go back before Judge Maddox.”

According to the incident report, Mr. Colegrove was notified by legal authorities that Bennett’s bond would be revoked. Deputies then transported Bennett to the Oconee County Detention Center where she was booked on a temporary custody order. Deputies retrieved the ankle monitor from the residence and the equipment was returned to DCT Detection.

“The first few minutes in a case like this are so important,” says Sheriff Crenshaw. “Everyone worked together. The monitoring company did their job which allowed our officers to arrive on scene in minutes and locate this individual. I also want to thank the Westminster Police Department for their assistance in the search for Laverne Bennett.”

Bennett picked up her four daughters from their father’s residence over the 4th of July weekend last year and did not return them to their father on July 7th as she was scheduled to. Bennett was later found by Idaho State Police on July 13th of last year in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho near the Washington state line at a picnic table at a rest area off the interstate and was taken into custody. Bennett remained in jail in Idaho during extradition proceedings.

Bennett was then booked into the Oconee County Detention Center around 11:02am on October 1st of last year after being extradited from Idaho and had a bond hearing at that time. U.S. Marshals brought Bennett to Anderson and an Oconee County Sheriff’s Deputy transported her to the Detention Center at that time.

At this time, Bennett remains at the Oconee County Detention Center.

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Arrests Seneca Woman on Drug Charges

Susan Velnita Orr

Susan Velnita Orr

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)———————————–The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office arrested a Seneca woman earlier this morning on drug charges during routine road patrol operations.

55 year old Susan Velnita Orr of 601 East Main Street was booked into the Oconee County Detention Center around 12:47am.

According to the incident report, an officer on routine patrol on Coneross Creek Road around 11:28pm yesterday evening observed a silver Honda Civic cross the double yellow line driving over the speed limit. The deputy pulled the vehicle over at the intersection of Coneross Creek Road at Whitfield Lane.

The deputy notified the driver, Orr, of the reason for the stop and asked if she had any illegal drugs in the car. After handing Orr back her license and information, the deputy upon asking received permission from Orr to search the vehicle. The deputy also received consent from Orr to search her purse in the front passenger seat.

According to the deputy, Orr appeared to be nervous and took a deep breath while searching through her purse, upon which the deputy asked if she had anything illegal. Orr told the deputy that she had some Hydrocodone pills in a pill bottle. The deputy found the pill bottle with the prescription scratched off. Orr told the deputy that she had a prescription for the pills and she had removed the label. She later told the deputy that she lied and that she did not have a prescription for the pills.

According to the incident report, the deputy found inside the pill bottle 25 yellow rectangular pills identified as Hydrocodone, along with Acetaminophen and Promethazine, which is not a controlled substance. Orr was placed under arrest and transported to the Oconee County Detention Center while her vehicle was picked up by a wrecker.

According to the arrest warrant, Orr has been charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance (Hydrocodone).

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Arrests Seneca Man on Multiple Charges

William Jarred Richardson

William Jarred Richardson

Car In Lake

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)———————————–The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office arrested a Seneca man Tuesday morning on multiple charges after deputies were dispatched to reports of a stolen vehicle.

36 year old William Jarred Richardson of 221 Hemlock Road was booked into the Oconee County Detention Center around 11:54am.

According to the incident report, a deputy responded to the Seneca Wal-Mart on Sandifer Boulevard around 9:02am in regards to reports of a stolen vehicle. The complainant, a Wal-Mart employee, told the deputy that she came to work around 7:15am and when she came out around 9:30am to go on break, she discovered that her red 2008 Chevrolet Aveo was missing from the parking lot. Dispatch issued a radio call for officers to be on the lookout for the vehicle.

Upon further investigation and the viewing of the video from security camera’s the deputy identified a man wearing an orange color shirt walk through the parking lot and then get into the vehicle and drive away.

A short time later, according to the incident report, a female subject notified the deputy that she heard about the stolen vehicle on the scanner and knew where the vehicle was. The female told the deputy that the man, who she identified as Richardson, was now wearing a gray shirt, that he had left her residence in the car and was heading to a boat ramp to leave the car and had left paperwork for the stolen vehicle at her residence.

Deputies then responded to where the vehicle was last seen, which was the residence of the female witness at an address on Hemlock Road. According to the incident report, Richardson was seen walking from the residence to an outbuilding with a set of car keys in his hand. After being asked a few questions, Richardson was placed in investigative detention.

At the residence, deputies interviewed two witnesses. The female witness told deputies that she left her residence and when she returned, she observed that Richardson had pulled a red in color car over at a ditch in front of her residence. She said that Richardson told her that he had gotten the vehicle at Wal-Mart and that he wanted another shirt to put on. She also told deputies that Richardson had been living in an outbuilding on her property at the Hemlock Road location.

According to the incident report, a male friend of the female witness pulled up to the residence, where Richardson reportedly told the man to follow him to the boat ramp or that he would assault him. The female witness told the deputies that she heard about the stolen vehicle on the scanner and then called to report it. The man told deputies that he was scared and followed Richardson to the lake, where he observed Richardson drive the car into the lake.

According to the incident report, the deputy from Oconee County responded to the boat ramp in Anderson County. One of the deputies made contact with the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office concerning recovery of the vehicle that was in the lake. The vehicle was removed from the lake and was towed away. The car keys and other paperwork for the vehicle were returned to the owner.

According to warrants, Richardson has been charged with Grand Larceny in the stealing of the vehicle from Wal-Mart, with the vehicle being valued, according to warrants, at around $14,000. Warrants also charge Richardson with Assault and Battery – 3rd Degree due to threats made against the male at the Hemlock Road location. A third warrant charges Richardson with Driver Under Suspension – 3rd offense since Richardson had two prior convictions for driving under suspension. A hold has been placed on Richardson due to unrelated charges in Stephens County, Georgia.

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Seeks the Public’s Help Regarding March Burglary

Lawrence Bridge Road Picture One

Lawrence Bridge Road Picture Two

Magnetic Car Sticker

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)———————————–The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office is seeking the public’s help in regards to a March burglary in which weapons and electronics were taken.

A deputy responded to 580 Lawrence Bridge Road around 6:37pm on March 10th in regards to a call from the wife of the residence who stated she left her home that morning around 8:15am and returned around 6:20pm and found her house had been broken into and some items had been stolen. The complainant told the responding deputy that the front door was unlocked and a television set was missing.

The husband of the residence arrived shortly after the deputy arrived and discovered that firearms and other electronics were missing. He left for work, according to the incident report, around 6:30am. The father of the female who lives at the residence reported seeing the screen door of the residence open when he drove past that location around 3pm.

The responding deputy discovered that the suspect(s) entered through the back window and exited through the front door. The deputy also discovered a dip in the fence around the back yard where it appeared someone had jumped the fence. According to incident report, sections of the guest and master bedrooms appeared to have been rummaged through and a box that contained personal documents and information was missing as well.

The responding deputy also discovered a magnetic car sticker in the drive way in front of the house that the couple stated was not theirs.
Multiple weapons, as well as electronic devices were taken from the scene.

If you have any information on this March 10th burglary from 580 Lawrence Bridge Road, 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 your tip leads to an arrest, you could be eligible for a cash reward of up to $2,000.

Spots Remain Open for the First Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Citizens Police Academy

Sheriff's Badge

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)——————————-The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office is announcing that there are still spots open for the first ever “Citizens Police Academy” which is set for September.

Citizens of Oconee County can sign up now for the classes at the website of the Sheriff’s Office at www.oconeelaw.com by clicking on the “Citizens Police Academy” link near the upper right portion of the website. You must 21 years of age or older to participate in the “Citizens Police Academy.”

Those who are selected will have a chance to meet the Command Staff and many of the deputies of the Sheriff’s Office. Some of the topics covered will be patrol operations, equipment and its uses, criminal investigations, E-911 communications, SWAT team operations, plus a judicial overview by one of the local judges, information on detention and narcotics. On a Saturday during the classes, instructees will observe a SWAT team demonstration. At the conclusion of the classes, those who participate will be given a shirt, a certificate and a class photo.

There is a selection process for those who sign up, which includes a background check. Sgt. McGowan is hoping to reach demographics from every walk of life in Oconee County, with the class size limited to 25 due to logistic limitations. The classes will meet for 10 consecutive weeks on Tuesday evenings with one Saturday meeting for the SWAT demonstration.

Participation in all the classes is important, according to Sgt. McGowan, due to the fact of the volume of information that is going to be presented. Missing two of more classes may result in a disqualification from the program.

The dates for the first “Citizens Police Academy” will be each Tuesday from Tuesday, September 2nd until Tuesday, November 4th from 6pm until 9pm except for the November 4th date, in which the time will be from 7:30pm until 9pm because of Election Day. The SWAT demonstration will take place at the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Advance Firearms and Tactical Training Center on Saturday, September 13th from 9am until 12 noon.
All those who are selected with be notified. There is no cost for those who are selected for the “Citizens Police Academy.”

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Receives Honor During Recent Breakfast

DSCN0965

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)———————————–Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Charles Mulwee was among a group of volunteers who received special recognition during an April breakfast that was sponsored by Blue Ridge Elementary School in Seneca.

The breakfast occurred on April 9th and Deputy Mulwee and those honored received a volunteer pin that Mulwee proudly wears on his uniform.

Mulwee volunteers one day a week for two at Blue Ridge and mentors to the children there. The deputy also volunteers at Northside Elementary and Ravenel Elementary schools as well.

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Releases Statement Regarding Shooting at Westminster Police Department

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)———————————–Oconee County Sheriff’s Office investigators, at the request of the Westminster Police Department, were called to the scene of a reported gunshot victim this afternoon after dispatch received a call around 2:13pm.

The caller to dispatch reported hearing a gunshot. A man was found on the back steps of Police Department in Westminster. A gun and a note were found at the scene and according to investigators, the shooting appears to be self-inflicted at this time and the victim had no prior dealings with the Westminster Police Department. There is no danger to the public or any reason for public action.

Out of respect to the family, the Sheriff’s Office will not be releasing any further information.

Winners Announced in 2014 Crime Stoppers of Oconee County Golf Tournament

Crimestoppers Logo

Crimestoppers Logo

Sheriff's Badge

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)———————————The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office and Crime Stoppers of Oconee County, Inc. announces the winners of the 2014 Crime Stoppers of Oconee County Golf Tournament, which was held last Thursday, May 1st at Oconee Country Club in Seneca.

A total of 17 teams participated in this year’s tournament, along with 21 hole sponsors. Prize money was awarded for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in two flights. Also, a hole-in-one and closest to the pin contest was held on the par-3 6th hole.

The following teams finished 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in Flight One. The total team score follows the names:

1) Josh Taylor, Taylor Vassey, Jon Brown, and Mark Vassey (-17)
2) J.D. Strickland, Joe Hunter, Bob Land, and Dick Paschal (-13)
3) Paul Orr, John Vickery, Chuck Hunter, and John Kelly (-11)

The following teams finished 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in Flight Two: The total team score follows the names:

1) Brandon Collins, Chad Cater, Ricky Sabb, and Michael Warren (-10)
2) Jerry Smith, Bob Sanford, Butch Jenkins, and Ronnie Martin (-7)
3) Scott Brooks, Bill Fletcher, Brian Fletcher, and Toby Fletcher (-6)

Congratulations also go out to Mike Mauldin, who won a golf package to Oconee Country Club for being closest to the pin on the par-3 6th hole. No golfer won the hole-in-one contest.

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Announces Events for 2014 Law Enforcement Appreciation Week

schuck media

shirt

Sheriff's BadgeSheriff's Badge

From Left to Right: Westminster Police Officer William Joseph Werner, IV; K-9 Dasher - Oconee County Sheriff's Office; Oconee County Sheriff's Deputy William Frederick Schuck, III - "Bill"

From Left to Right: Westminster Police Officer William Joseph Werner, IV; K-9 Dasher – Oconee County Sheriff’s Office; Oconee County Sheriff’s Deputy William Frederick Schuck, III – “Bill”

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)——————————-The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office is announcing a series of events to coincide with Law Enforcement Appreciation Week, which will be recognized nationwide next week, from Monday May 12th until Friday, May 16th.

Oconee County Sheriff Mike Crenshaw has asked Oconee County Council for a proclamation designating next Thursday, May 15th as Peace Officers Memorial Day in Oconee County. At the next Oconee County Council meeting tomorrow night, Captain Jeff Underwood of the Uniform Patrol Division of the Sheriff’s Office will be accepting this proclamation on behalf of the Sheriff’s Office at 6pm. As part of the proclamation, Sheriff Crenshaw is asking that all flags be flown at half-staff the day of Thursday, May 15th in honor of those in law enforcement who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Next Tuesday, May 13th, the Sheriff’s Office will be hosting The Schuck Memorial Blood Drive 2014 from 2pm until 6pm in the gravel parking lot at the Oconee County Law Enforcement Center in Walhalla at 300 South Church Street. The Anmed Blood Mobile will be on hand and t-shirts will also be sold the day of the event for $10 each while supplies last.

The blood drive is being held in honor of Deputy Bill Schuck, who passed away in the line of duty in the early morning house of February 7th, 2010 after being pinned between his patrol vehicle and a tree on a dirt road off of Highway 11. Schuck served with the Sheriff’s Office for 2 years and before that with the West Columbia Police Department for 2 years.

The money raised during the blood drive will go towards a scholarship fund named in honor of Deputy Schuck. The scholarship will be presented next Tuesday evening at the Hamilton Career Center Awards Banquet at the Walhalla High School Auditorium which begins at 7pm.

Another event that will be held next Thursday as part of the events of next week will be a law enforcement retiree’s drop-in from 12pm until 2pm at the Law Enforcement Center. The drop-in is open to any retired law enforcement officer living in Oconee County that served on the local, state and federal level, including those who served with the Sheriff’s Office. A short program will be held featuring the Honor Guard of the Sheriff’s Office presenting the colors and Sheriff Crenshaw leading those in attendance in the Pledge of Allegiance at 1pm that day.