Fernando Montes-Saenz was convicted today in Oconee County General Sessions Court for Trafficking Cocaine in Excess of 400 grams. Circuit Judge Howard King sentenced Montes-Saenz to 30 years, the maximum allowed by SC law.

On February 13, 2006, the defendant was stopped on I-85 in Oconee County for Speeding and Improper Lane Travel. After a brief discussion with the defendant, an officer with the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office conducted an outer search of the vehicle with a drug dog. The dog alerted on a hidden compartment under the back seat of the Volkswagen Passat. The compartment held 30 bricks of cocaine weighing 29,823 grams with a street value of almost $3,000,000. 

“This verdict and sentence shows that law enforcement and the Tenth Circuit Solicitor’s Office are actively engaged in the fight to curb drug trafficking through the upstate of SC. I-85 has become heavily used by drug traffickers through Oconee and Anderson County. Law enforcement in both counties has provided excellent coverage of this area as well as outstanding investigative work in addressing this problem. My office will continue to seek stiff penalties for those who attempt to bring drugs into and through Oconee and Anderson Counties. We are very pleased with the sentence in this case.” Solicitor Chrissy Adams.

An Anderson County jury found April McCullough not guilty for the Murder of Scotty Fowler on February 5, 2005. 

“We respect the jury’s verdict. This was an extremely difficult case and we appreciate the effort and time that they put forth to reach a verdict. The sheriff’s department did a thorough investigation in this case and there was ample evidence and probable cause to present the case to a jury. This was obviously not a clear-cut case of self-defense, which is evident by the length of time the jury deliberated. 

Domestic violence was an issue throughout this case despite the fact that no prior domestic incidents were ever reported to the Sheriff’s department, social workers, or hospitals. We encourage all victims to contact law enforcement BEFORE violence within the home escalates to such a tragic level. The Sheriff’s office and the Solicitor’s office are dedicated to protecting true victims of domestic violence and we will continue to prosecute cases based on the facts in evidence.” Solicitor Chrissy Adams.

James Williams pled guilty on October 18,2006 before the Honorable Paul M. Burch to the charge of Murder and Grand Larceny. Judge Burch sentenced Williams to 30 years on the Murder charge and 10 years on the Grand Larceny charge to run concurrently.

On or about December 24, 2005, Anderson County deputies responded to a missing person report for Mary Ann Williams, age 65, of Moss Oak Drive, Anderson, SC. Officers found Ms. Williams in her home already deceased. The cause of death was asphyxiation. The defendant, Ms. Williams’ son, surrendered to the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office on December 28, 2006 at which time he made a full confession. Mr. Williams stated that he was under the influence of crack cocaine when he murdered his mother. 

Elliott Lawton pled guilty in Anderson County General Sessions Court today to Criminal Sexual Conduct with a Minor, First Degree. The offense took place in November of 2005. The Honorable Paul Burch sentenced Lawton to 15 years in prison. Lawton will be required to register as a sex offender.

Lawton confessed to sexually abusing an eight-year old child who was in his custody. His common-law wife, Carolyn Kinman Lawton, is charged with Unlawful Conduct Towards a Child i