(ANDERSON, SC.)

Kyndra Howell was convicted Wednesday by an Anderson County jury of the kidnapping and armed robbery of C. J. Patel in July of 2012, as well as possessing a weapon during the commission of the crime. The jury found Howell not guilty of murder. The Honorable Lawton McIntosh sentenced Howell to 30 years for kidnapping, 15 years for armed robbery and 5 years for the weapons offense. All sentences are to be served consecutively.


Mr. Patel was bound, tortured and robbed while visiting the defendant’s home on July 1, 2012. When he failed to give bank account information to the defendant and others in the home, he was taken to a secluded area close to the Georgia border where he was shot in the head. The victim was found several days later in 100 degree temperatures.


“We respect the jury’s verdict of not guilty for the murder of Mr. Patel,” stated Solicitor Chrissy Adams. “However, we believe that Kyndra Howell’s greed and total disregard for the life of others led directly to the brutal actions causing his death. Her actions will now force her to spend what could be the rest of her life in prison."

 

(Walhalla, SC). Joshua Randall Ferguson pled guilty today in Oconee General Sessions Court to Voluntary Manslaughter for the death of Ben Cantrell in November of 2013. The Honorable Lee Alford sentenced Ferguson to 15 years in prison.  

 

On November 15, 2013, Ben Cantrell was visiting a home on Webb Road in Seneca, SC when he, the defendant, and others began arguing. A fight occurred in the home and eventually spilled outside when people at the home tried to get Mr. Cantrell to leave. According to witnesses, as Cantrell turned to walk away from the home, Ferguson shot him. When law enforcement arrived they found the victim unresponsive lying face down outside the home. Ferguson later confessed to law enforcement.  

 

 

“Ben Cantrell’s death was a terrible tragedy that should never have happened,” said Solicitor Chrissy Adams. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family.”

 

(Walhalla, SC). Joshua Michael Fulbright pled guilty today in Oconee General Sessions Court to Voluntary Manslaughter for the death of Richard Marszalek in December of 2013. The Honorable Lee Alford sentenced Fulbright to 22 years.  

 

Richard Marszalek was first reported missing on January 11, 2014. On January 17th, acting upon their investigation and tips, Oconee County Sheriff’s Office searched the rubble of a burned home in Seneca, SC and found the body of Mr. Marszalek wrapped in a blanket under the home. Post-mortem examination determined the cause of death to be cerebral edema and brain stem herniation due to blunt force trauma to the head.  

 

Further investigation revealed that the victim was an acquaintance of Fulbright with a history of ill will between them. On December 27th Marszalek and Fulbright had an argument that resulted in a fist fight. Later in the day Fulbright came to the residence where the victim was staying and further argument ensued. Fulbright, along with 2 others, fought with Mr. Marszalek. Witness statements indicate Fulbright inflicted the fatal blows to the victim. Mr. Marszalek’s body was subsequently wrapped in a blanket and placed under the home.  

“Joshua Fulbright has a history of drug use and violent behavior,” said Solicitor Chrissy Adams. “Given the facts of this case, we have had lengthy discussions with the victim’s family about how to best ensure they see justice is served and believe that today’s plea and subsequent sentence does just that while protecting our community from further violence by the defendant.”

 

(Walhalla, SC.) On September 6, 2014, the South Carolina Highway Patrol responded to a multi-vehicle collision at the intersection of US 76 and Sheep Farm Road in Oconee County.  This collision resulted in the death of Michele Wright, age 28, and Joshua Silvers, age 29, of Iva, South Carolina.   

 

Based upon information obtained at the scene of the collision and witness accounts, the South Carolina Highway Patrol concluded that Drew Woodall Greene, age 52, of Westminster, was traveling at a high rate of speed when he failed to obey the traffic signal at the intersection.  Witnesses reported seeing Mr. Greene in an unconscious state as he was traveling down US 76 and approached the intersection.  His Chevrolet truck came to a complete stop in the right lane in front of Fatz restaurant.  Subsequently, the truck began to slowly regain speed and move completely onto the curb in front of O’Reilly’s Auto Parts.  As the truck left the curb and re-entered the roadway, it began to rapidly accelerate as it entered the intersection.  According to the South Carolina Highway Patrol Multi-Disciplinary Accident Investigation Team, Mr. Greene was traveling at 72MPH when his truck collided with the victims’ car.  Five cars were involved in the accident.  When law enforcement arrived on the scene they observed a significant number of empty beer cans in the rear of Mr. Greene’s vehicle and on the roadway.  Mr. Greene smelled of alcohol, as unopened and damaged beer cans were present and spilling in the passenger compartment of the vehicle.  Mr. Greene was incoherent and disoriented at the scene.  He was transported to Greenville Memorial Hospital. 

 

At Greenville Memorial Hospital, Mr. Greene voluntarily submitted to blood testing to determine his blood alcohol concentration.  Two blood samples were collected in accord with protocol set forth by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, including strict chain of custody requirements, and transferred to SLED for testing.   

 

In interviews with law enforcement that night, Mr. Greene had no memory of the collision or the time period prior to the collision.  He also presented that night with slurred speech and confusion.  In subsequent interviews, Mr. Greene continued to have no recollection of this event. 

 

As a result of that evening’s investigation, the South Carolina Highway Patrol charged Mr. Greene with 2 counts of Felony Driving under the Influence resulting in death. 

 

On November 7, 2014, the Toxicology Division of the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division issued their report in this matter.  The report indicated that blood samples provided by Mr. Greene were negative for ethanol.  Two separate samples were tested and supported the scientific conclusion that Mr. Greene’s blood alcohol level at the time of this incident was 0.0.  Furthermore, additional testing revealed no drugs in Mr. Greene’s system. 

 

Hospital records revealed that Mr. Greene suffers from lactic acidosis, a condition marked by a dangerous increase of lactic acid levels in the bloodstream.  The levels of lactic acid present in Mr. Greene’s body were such that disorientation, confusion, loss of consciousness, and seizures would likely result.  Witness accounts are consistent with the symptoms of someone who is suffering from lactic acidosis.  The symptoms of lactic acidosis can be easily confused with someone who appears to be in an intoxicated state.  However, alcohol was not a factor in this incident. 

 

Based upon the evidence in this case, criminal prosecution in this matter is not supported by law and charges against Mr. Greene have been dismissed.