Public safety briefs for December 7th-13th

14 mins read

James Jabbar Williams apprehended in Savannah 

James J. Williams
James J. Williams

Information provided by a citizen on the whereabouts of a man wanted in a Nov. 6 Tiger Express shooting on St. Helena Island has led to his arrest.

James Jabbar Williams, 43, was arrested by the U.S. Marshals Service to Savannah. 

U.S. marshals located and arrested Williams at an apartment complex off of East Victory Drive on charges of attempted murder and possession of a weapon in the commission of a violent crime.

Williams was transported to the Chatham County Detention Center, where he was incarcerated. Williams was expected to be brought to Beaufort County following his extradition hearing.

Another subject allegedly involved in the Tiger Express incident, Jermaine Sharodd Gadson, 41, had turned himself in to the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office on Nov. 21. 

Gadson was charged with misprision of a felony and unlawful carrying of a handgun. Gadson was incarcerated in the Beaufort County Detention Center and released when he posted his $15,000 bond. 

Roadside services available though app

Contacting South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) roadside assistance crews has become a little easier, just in time for holiday travel.

The SCDOT has added a new feature on its 511 App to allow motorists to contact SHEP for roadside assistance. Selecting the “SCDOT SHEP Roadside Assistance” tab connects users with the closest dispatch phone number.

SCDOT’s State Highway Emergency Program, known as SHEP, has helped about 800,000 motorists across the state since its inception in 1996.

“The motorists in our state know that when they see the blue trucks coming, help is on the way,” said Secretary of Transportation Christy A. Hall. “Their impacts to the state’s economy, the public and the flow of traffic is countless and without measure.”

Vehicles broken down on the side of the interstate can quickly cause traffic to back up for miles; the sooner they’re helped and on their way, the sooner traffic gets back to normal. SHEP responders are able to quickly change tires, perform basic repairs and carry small amounts of gasoline for those who’ve run out.

SHEP responders are also trained in clearing wrecked vehicles from travel lanes.

SCDOT’s 511 app, which is free and available with iOS and Android devices, has current travel information including live streaming traffic cameras.

The SCDOT 511 website is www.511sc.org. SHEP can also be reached by dialing *HP.

For more information on SCDOT SHEP, visit www.scdot.org/getting/shep.aspx.

Man gets life sentences for brutal murder 

Maurice Demon Mitchell
Maurice Demon Mitchell

A Fairfax man who shot and pistol-whipped his burglary victim so severely that he later died of his injuries has been convicted of murder.

Maurice Demon Mitchell, 31, was also found guilty of first-degree burglary, possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime and possession of crack cocaine. 

Mitchell assaulted 56-year-old Eddie James Mole at his Holly Street East apartment on Oct. 28, 2015. Mole died of his injuries in a Savannah hospital seven months later.

“To me, it is unconscionable how someone can shoot someone and then beat someone as bad as he did,” said 14th Circuit Solicitor Duffie Stone, who prosecuted the case. “Mr. Mole suffered injuries from which he never recovered at the hand of a man with a history of violence.”

A jury of six men and six women convicted Mitchell after two days of testimony from 17 state witnesses in Hampton County General Sessions. Circuit Court Judge Roger M. Young Sr. sentenced Mitchell to life without parole for both the murder and burglary charges. Mitchell also received five years for the gun charge and three for crack possession.

Stone led the case for his office’s Career Criminal Unit, which prosecutes the circuit’s (which includes Beaufort County) most serious and habitual offenders. It has earned convictions against 42 of the 45 defendants it has tried in 2017. 

Mitchell’s previous convictions include attempted robbery, discharging a firearm into a vehicle and failure to stop for a blue light. During the attempted robbery, which took place in Fairfax, Mitchell pistol-whipped a convenience-store employee who tried to thwart the theft.

Officers from the Hampton and Varnville police departments answered the disturbance call at Mole’s home after receiving a 911 call from a neighbor. The incident began in the parking lot as Mole arrived home from work and continued in Mole’s apartment, after Mitchell forced his way inside. 

Mitchell beat Mole so severely that several of his teeth were found on the floor of his entryway and living room, and he was so disfigured that doctors who initially treated him believed he had been shot in the face. Mitchell did shoot Mole in his abdomen. Doctors determined that complications from that gunshot caused Mole’s death.

Mitchell, who was an acquaintance of Mole’s, fled on foot after the attack but was captured a short time later. Police found Mole’s cell phone and keys on Mitchell, who described the incident to investigators in an interview recorded on video. 

He also told authorities where he stashed the gun he used to shoot and beat Mole, and law enforcement officers found it in the woods near Mole’s home the day of the assault. Mitchell had blood on his hand, arms, shirt, jeans and shoes when he was arrested.

Sheriff’s office seeks help on cold case

Margarita Gonzalez-Almazan
Margarita Gonzalez-Almazan

On Dec. 1, Margarita Gonzalez-Almazan, 47, was reported missing from her Bluffton residence by family members following a dispute she had with her boyfriend, Osman Galicia-Escobedo, 40.  

Signs of a struggle were observed in the residence and her mobile telephone was found on the side of the road off of S.C. 170 in the vicinity of the Lemon Island Bridge. 

In addition, Escobedo and Almazan’s vehicles were also missing. It quickly became apparent that Almazan met with some sort of foul play at the hands of her boyfriend.    

His last known whereabouts were on the south side of Savannah, where witnesses confirmed they saw him several hours after Almazan disappeared.

The same witnesses observed what appeared to be fingernail scratches on the side of Escobedo’s face. 

Witnesses told investigators that Escobedo was trying to flee the country, as he purchased a ticket at the Savannah Airport to Guatemala.  Oddly, Escobedo never showed up for the flight.  

Several days later, Almazan’s vehicle was located abandoned outside of the Keller Flea Market in Savannah. The location of her vehicle was within a few miles of where witnesses last saw Escobedo. It was processed for forensic evidence, but did not reveal any clues to the whereabouts of Almazan or Escobedo. 

Federal authorities were contacted to attempt to locate Escobedo in Guatemala without success.

A reward of up to $2,500 is offered for information leading to an arrest in any Beaufort County cold case.

During some criminal investigations, investigators might exhaust all credible leads in a case. When this happens, the case can become stagnant or what is typically known as “cold.” However, the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office is making these cold case files accessible to the public in hopes that someone might come forward with information that may not have yet been uncovered.

Anyone with information can contact Capt. Bob Bromage at 843-255- 3402, 843-816-8013 or robertb@bcgov.net. 

Woman rescued from Smalls Parkway wreck

The Burton Fire District responded to a vehicle accident on Dec. 2 in Beaufort in which a female driver was trapped and rescued by firefighters.

Just before noon, Burton firefighters were dispatched to a vehicle accident by the Kangaroo Express on Robert Smalls Parkway. 

Firefighters arrived to find a two-vehicle accident between a passenger vehicle and a pickup truck, with the female driver of the passenger vehicle trapped inside. 

Firefighters were able to free the driver, who suffered possibly serious injuries, according to Burton Fire Lt. Ethan Webb, who commanded the scene. 

Traffic on Robert Smalls was delayed for approximately an hour while emergency crews assisted the occupants and removed roadway hazards.

This accident occurred within the city of Beaufort but is protected by the Burton Fire District via an emergency services contract between the city and the district. 

The Burton Fire District has responded to 326 motor vehicle accidents so far in 2017. In 2016 Burton firefighters responded to less than 300 vehicle accidents. 

3 wrecks in 24 hours cause injuries, delays

The Burton Fire District responded to three motor vehicle accidents in less than 24 hours that resulted in minor injuries, traffic delays, and increasing record number of accident response for fire crews this year. 

The first motor vehicle accident occurred just after 1:30 p.m. on Nov. 16 in front of 3428 Trask Parkway. The two-vehicle accident resulted in minor damages and injuries; however, Trask Parkway traffic was delayed for approximately 20 minutes while emergency crews removed roadway hazards and assisted the occupants. 

The second motor vehicle accident by the Dollar General on Parris Island Gateway was reported just before 6 p.m. Nov. 16. Burton fire crews arrived on the scene to find a single-vehicle accident with the vehicle having flipped over and landing approximately 10 yards into the tree line. The female driver got out of the vehicle before the arrival of firefighters and refused medical attention. 

Traffic on Parris Island Gateway was delayed for approximately 30 minutes while emergency crews assisted the driver and secured vehicle hazards. 

The third motor vehicle accident occurred just after 3:30 a.m. Nov. 17. Firefighters arrived to a single-vehicle accident on Broad River Boulevard involving the vehicle striking a deer. The occupants of the vehicle were uninjured. Broad River Boulevard traffic was delayed for approximately 20 minutes while emergency crews assisted the injured are checked for hazards. 

Watch out for police impersonators scam

Over the past several days numerous Beaufort County residents reported they had received telephone calls from suspicious persons impersonating a law enforcement officer, similar to those reported in the past. 

One of the telephone numbers currently being used by the impersonators is 843-309-3058. 

The callers identify themselves as Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office deputies and request money from the resident in order for them to avoid arrest and further legal action. 

This is a scam and no member of the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office will ever ask you for payment of a fine over the telephone in lieu of being arrested. 

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