On Monday, October 15, 2018, Jonathan Duncan pled guilty before the Honorable R. Scott Sprouse to Attempted Murder, Domestic Violence 2nd Degree, and Possession of a Weapon During a Violent Crime. Judge Sprouse imposed a sentence of 27 years. Mr. Duncan will not be eligible for parole. 

Duncan’s charges stemmed from a brutal attack on his wife Margaret Duncan and a mutual acquaintance, Justin Stasney, on June 6, 2016. The parties were spending time together when Duncan became enraged with his wife and believed she was going to leave him for Mr. Stasney. He struck her multiple times and began to choke her. At this point, Mr. Stasney stepped in to aid in Ms. Duncan’s defense. The Defendant subsequently attacked Mr. Stasney and he suffered near fatal knife wounds to his hands, back, and neck. Mr. Stasney was also stabbed in the face and, ultimately, lost one eye. 

          “Special thanks for the hard work of the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office in this case. Their quick response to the scene of this crime very likely saved the life of Mr. Stasney” stated Solicitor David Wagner.   “The month of October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. Judge Sprouse’s sentence sends a strong message that domestic related, violent incidents such as this will not be tolerated in our community.”

Anderson, SC—It took an Anderson County jury less than 10 minutes to convict Darrell Blackwell of the Armed Robbery that occurred at the Shop Rite store at 714 Sayre Street on January 9, 2016. The entire incident was captured on the store’s video surveillance and clearly showed Blackwell armed with both a knife and what appeared to be a gun when he entered and then robbed the store of money, cigarettes, and other various items. Two clerks were working at the time, but fortunately, no one was physically harmed. The defendant was apprehended several days later after an investigation by the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office.

 

“The Anderson County Sheriff’s Office did a great job tracking this armed robber down and we appreciate all their hard work.” Solicitor David Wagner.

 

Walhalla, SC—The Honorable Lawton McIntosh sentenced Lee Mikeal Cawthon to 40 years in prison today for the Murder of his wife Rebecca plus 5 years consecutive for the Possession of a Weapon during the Commission of a Violent Crime. 

After divorcing his first wife, Lee Cawthon married Rebecca when she was 17 years old. Lee and Rebecca Cawthon shared an unconventional open marriage in which they invited one or more sexual partners to join them in their relationship.

Rebecca and Lee were virtually inseparable throughout the course of their marriage. They often chose occupations where they could work together to minimize their time apart. Around the time of Rebecca’s death she had begun a new job and was gaining her independence. The Cawthon’s marriage also became strained during this time as they had invited a male partner into their relationship for the first time.

On Easter Sunday of 2017, the Cawthon’s returned home after consuming alcohol with their male partner. An argument ensued and the defendant assaulted Rebecca Cawthon. She subsequently sought treatment at Oconee Memorial Hospital, telling a medical professional she had fallen down the stairs. After being released she sent photos of her injuries to friends. She sought comfort from the male companion that she and her husband had shared. On April 17th, Rebecca returned home to collect her belongings and tell the defendant she wanted a divorce. He became enraged at the thought of losing her and shot her multiple times. After ensuring that the victim was deceased, Lee Cawthon placed coins on Rebecca’s eyes “for the boatman”, referring to a death ritual from Greek mythology wherein coins are placed on the eyes of the dead to ensure the passage over the River Styx, which divides the living and the dead. 

After cleaning the crime scene, the defendant fled to Clayton, Georgia but subsequently returned. During this time, he was using the victim’s phone to send text messages to the victim’s relatives to cover up her disappearance. Upon return to Oconee County, Cawthon placed the victim’s body in a 55-gallon oil drum and stored the drum in a grease pit under a tractor. He then traveled to Oklahoma to visit an individual named Hamster who they had met in the online game, World of Warcraft. The defendant again returned to Oconee County. At this point the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office was investigating Rebecca’s disappearance as a missing person’s case. On May 3rd, 2017, the defendant came to the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office and confessed to murdering his wife. He directed investigators that the victim’s decomposed body could be found on their property in the oil barrel and told them they could find the murder weapon in his vehicle.

“We need to thank the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office for their outstanding work in this case,” stated Solicitor David Wagner following Cawthon’s sentencing. “Rebecca Cawthon was a victim of domestic violence who was attempting to free herself from the situation and start a new life. Lee Cawthon stole that opportunity from her. Today’s sentence effectively ensures that Lee Cawthon will never have the opportunity to walk as a free man.”

ANDERSON, SC--After a three day trial, an Anderson County jury has convicted Damorius Gaines of Armed Robbery, Attempted Armed Robbery, 2 counts of Possession of a Weapon during the Commission of a Violent Crime, and Unlawful Possession of a Pistol. The Honorable Cordell Maddox, Jr., sentenced Gaines to 20 years provided upon the service of 15 years, with the balanced suspended to 5 years of probation. Gaines will have to serve at least 85% of this sentence before he is eligible for parole. 

On February 16, 2017, at around 7:40 pm, Damorius Gaines attempted to gain entry into the Little General located at 1001 S. Murray Avenue. He was masked and armed with a handgun. Fortunately, store employees had just locked the doors and he was unable to complete the robbery. About 20 minutes later on the same night, Gaines, again masked and armed with a handgun, entered the Dollar Tree located at 910 S. Main Street, where he held a cashier at gunpoint and forced her to give him money from her register. Both of these incidents were captured on surveillance videos. If not for the fact that Gaines lifted his mask to reveal a brief glimpse of his face after failing to gain entry into the Little General, coupled with an informant tip, Gaines may never have been apprehended.   

“We will not allow people like Mr. Gaines to terrorize or even attempt to prey upon Anderson County businesses and their hard working employees. Our community is safer tonight with Mr. Gaines behind bars. I want to thank the Anderson Police Department for their hard work investigating these crimes and for working with my office to secure these convictions,” said Solicitor David Wagner following the verdict.