Jesse Newton pled guilty today in Anderson County General Sessions Court to the charge of Voluntary Manslaughter for the death of Harold Bridges on February 3, 2004 in Anderson County. Circuit Judge Cordell Maddox sentenced Newton to 30 years in prison. 

Newton had corresponded with Bridges on the internet. Bridges went to Newton’s house with regard to their chat room conversation. As Bridges arrived on the front porch, Newton loaded a rifle and exited the home through the back door. He then proceeded around the house, shooting Bridges from approximately 36 feet away. Forty-eight year old Bridges died at the scene.

Because he was only 15 at the time of the incident, Newton was originally charged as a juvenile. However, after a full waiver hearing in juvenile court, Judge Barry W. Knobel transferred jurisdiction of the case to the Court of General Sessions. While being housed at the Department of Juvenile Justice (prior to his 17th birthday), Newton’s records indicate that he had 51 referrals for behavioral problems, mostly assaults on peers and staff. Newton was transferred to the Anderson County Detention Center after his 17th birthday. 

“My staff and I will continue to hold juveniles who commit adult crimes fully responsible for their actions. We hope this sentence will allow the family members of Mr. Bridges to feel some closure to this terrible tragedy. They have our deepest sympathies.” Solicitor Chrissy Adams.

Twenty-six year old Iona Goss of Anderson, SC pled guilty today in Anderson General Sessions Court to the charge of Unlawful Neglect of a Child. Circuit Judge Cordell Maddox sentenced Goss to a term of 8 years suspended to 6 years in prison to be followed by 3 years probation. Goss was also ordered to undergo addiction treatment while incarcerated.

On July 31, 2005, Iona Goss gave birth to a stillborn child at AnMed Hospital. Goss gave a statement in which she admitted using alcohol and smoking crack approximately two hours before giving birth. She also admitted using crack on and off throughout her entire pregnancy. SLED toxicology indicated the defendant had a .015 blood alcohol level and cocaine in her system at the time of delivery. The baby had a .058 blood alcohol level and also tested positive for cocaine. The baby was polydactyl and also had skull and brain deformities. The defendant had previously given birth to a child in 2003 while in drug rehab in Charleston. 

“We are very pleased with the prison term handed down by the Honorable Cordell Maddox. This is a tragic case that resulted in the loss of an innocent child’s life. I can only hope that this sentence sends the message that we will not tolerate women who abuse alcohol and drugs during their pregnancy. We will continue to fight for the maximum sentence allowed by law.” Solicitor Chrissy Adams.

On July 13, 2006, an Anderson County jury deliberated for two and a half hours before convicting the Defendant, Michael Gibert of three counts of Criminal Sexual Conduct with a Minor in the Second Degree, one count of Lewd Act Upon a Minor under the age of Sixteen, one count of Contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and one count of Assault with Intent to Kill. Pursuant to 17-25-45, the 10th Circuit Solicitor’s Office served the Defendant with Notice of Intent to Seek Life without the Possibility of Parole on all the counts of Criminal Sexual Conduct with a Minor in the Second Degree, due to his prior convictions for Armed Robbery and Kidnapping. The Honorable Steven John presided. Judge John determined that based on his prior convictions, the Defendant qualified for the life sentence under the “three strikes and you’re out law.” Judge John further sentenced the Defendant to the maximum fifteen years on the count of Lewd Act upon a Minor, the maximum three years for the count of Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor, and the maximum ten years for the count of Assault with Intent to Kill. All charges except the Assault with Intent to Kill were against the same minor victim and occurred between April of 2004 and April of 2005. As the minor victim was being taken into emergency protective custody by Department of Social Services worker, Michelle Love, the Defendant was following her in his car and attempted to run her off the road in order to thwart her efforts to protect the minor child. 

“We are extremely pleased with the jury’s verdict. We will continue to seek the maximum punishment allowed for offenders who continue to violate the laws of our State and endanger the welfare of our citizens, especially our youth.” Solicitor Chrissy Adams.

Solicitor Chrissy Adams has announced that a guilty verdict was handed down by an Anderson County jury today in the case of the State vs. Olin Daniel Johnson for Reckless Homicide. Johnson was charged in connection with a collision which occurred in Anderson County on July 4, 2002. The passenger in the car which Johnson hit, Sara Snelgrove of Starr, died as a result of injuries sustained in the incident. 

The Honorable Cordell Maddox sentenced Johnson to 7 years suspended to 1 year active jail time with 5 years probation to follow.