(Anderson, SC). Riley McDermott pled guilty today in Anderson General Sessions Court to 3 counts of Felony DUI with Death and 2 counts of Felony DUI with Great Bodily Injury. The Honorable Cordell Maddox sentenced McDermott to 18 years in prison. 

 

On November 8, 2014, twenty-four year old Riley McDermott, an assistant basketball coach at Anderson University, was driving a Ford F150 south on Williamston Road when he crossed the centerline colliding with a Nissan Altima carrying 5 people. According to the SCHP accident reconstruction reports, the defendant was traveling at a rate of 73 mph. The posted speed limit at the scene was 35 mph. Three people in the Nissan were killed. Two passengers in the Nissan were transported to AnMed in critical condition. McDermott and his passenger were also transported to AnMed.   

 

Upon arrival at the scene, officers from Anderson Police Department witnessed the defendant exiting his truck and falling to the ground. They noticed a strong odor of alcohol and observed him to have slurred speech. McDermott told the officers he had been at a bar drinking and repeatedly said, “I screwed up”. At AnMed, a blood sample was taken from the defendant which was subsequently tested by SLED, revealing a BAC of .187%. A video from one of the bars the defendant and his friend had visited on the night of the incident, as well as credit card records and a receipt found at the scene, later confirmed that the defendant had been drinking the night of the crash.  

 

During the course of the investigation,  an officer who was with the Anderson Police Department at the time was found to have made false statements regarding attempts to contact a magistrate to get a search warrant for the blood of the defendant. This officer then used exigent circumstances as his basis for taking the blood without a warrant. Phone records showed that the calls to the magistrate had never taken place. The officer’s deception during the investigation made the admission of the blood as evidence a major factor in the negotiations in this case. The officer has now been charged with Misconduct in Office and is no longer employed with any law enforcement agency. The collection of evidence in this case was substantially affected by his involvement as lead officer.  

 

Although the actions of one officer made the prosecution of this case difficult, thanks to the efforts of the Anderson Police Department, particularly Captain Kevin Warren, there was sufficient admissible evidence to support the plea which took place today.  

 

“Mrs. White and I have examined every detail of what we each believe would come out or be suppressed at trial,” stated Assistant Solicitor Lauren Price at the plea hearing.  “This has been a very extensive negotiation process between the parties.  I am sickened and saddened that the selfish actions of one individual has affected so many today by crippling the State’s ability to secure what would have been a lengthier sentence in this case.  The plea today is a reflection not of the efforts of Law Enforcement as a whole, or the diligence of the State to prosecute this matter.  This tragedy has been magnified by the damage to the ability to fully prosecute these charges, but in light of the circumstances, this negotiation, and plea today, are the best and right result we can reach.”   

 

Solicitor Chrissy Adams

Tenth Circuit Solicitor

(Anderson, SC). Carson Rafeal Nance pled guilty today in Anderson General Sessions Court to Voluntary Manslaughter in the death of Artis Leon Valentine. The Honorable Cordell Maddox sentenced Nance to 30 years suspended to 12 years in prison and 5 years probation. 

On October 27, 2014 on Sanders Street in Anderson, the victim, Artis Valentine and the defendant, who knew each other, had an altercation outside of a known drug house according to several witnesses. During the fight, the defendant punched and kicked Mr. Valentine repeatedly and then fled the scene in the victim’s car. According to autopsy results, the victim died as a result of asphyxiation due to his upper dentures blocking his airway. According to the forensic pathologist, the victim could have survived the beating had the dentures not blocked the airway, although he would have required hospitalization.

Burdette(Oconee County, SC). On Monday, February 22, jury selection was completed and the videotaped confession of Michael Edward Burdette was admitted by Judge R. Lawton McIntosh. As prosecutors David Wagner and Lindsey Simmons prepared to begin the state’s case  this morning, the defendant pled guilty to Criminal Sexual Conduct with a Minor, 1st Degree. Judge McIntosh sentenced Burdette to 25 years. 

 

Between June 1, 2010 and January 1, 2011, Burdette sexually abused a nine year old family member multiple times while in his home. The child disclosed the abuse to a parent in February 2015 who immediately reported to the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office. Burdette admitted the sexual abuse to law enforcement during a videotaped interview. 

 

“Sexual abuse is a trauma that no one should have to endure. It is especially traumatic when it occurs at a young age at the hands of a trusted family member,” stated Solicitor Chrissy Adams. “Thanks to the courage of this young girl, the support of her family and the excellent work of Oconee County Sheriff’s Office and Assistant Solicitor Lindsey Simmons and Deputy Solicitor David Wagner, sixty-four year old Michael Edward Burdette will most likely spend the rest of his life in prison.”

(ANDERSON, SC). Michael Nolan Morrill pled guilty today in Anderson General Sessions Court to Felony DUI with Death. The Honorable Cordell Maddox sentenced Morrill to 10 years suspended to 1 year in prison and 2 years home incarceration plus 5 years of probation to follow. 

 

On March 2, 2014, the victim, Julio Sandoval, and the defendant were on leave from the US Navy stationed in Cherry Point, NC.  The victim came to Anderson with the defendant to celebrate the defendant's mother's birthday.  The two left the party at a local restaurant around 11 p.m. in the defendant’s truck travelling down Good Hope Church Road in Anderson. According to the MAIT reconstruction, the truck travelled off of the left side of the road as it was traveling West, then back across the road and off the right side, then again off the left side of the road, striking an embankment and overturning several times before coming to a final rest in an upright position.  The victim was partially ejected from the vehicle and was lifeflighted from the scene but died en route to the hospital.  When law enforcement arrived on the scene, Morrill smelled of alcohol and failed the field sobriety tests. The defendant told Troopers he had been drinking and a search warrant was obtained for his blood. Tests show that his blood alcohol content at the time was .156%.

 

"I hope this terrible tragedy serves as a reminder not to drink and drive,” stated Solicitor Chrissy Adams.  “This is especially important to remember during the holidays. Please, call a cab or call a friend.  Make the safe and smart choice for the safety of others and for yourself.  To do otherwise is selfish, dangerous and can lead to tragic results and criminal consequences.”