Man gets 15 years for robbery, assault
A Beaufort man was convicted on Oct. 17 in two separate incidents in which he shot a Southside Boulevard resident and robbed a Lady’s Island convenience store.
Phillip Ronald Smalls Jr., 25, pleaded guilty to armed robbery, assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature, and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime.
He was sentenced to 15 years in prison, of which he must serve no less than 85 percent.
On Oct. 5, 2015, Smalls kicked open an apartment door and fired a 9 mm handgun at the man inside, striking him in the abdomen. Smalls also fired at a neighbor, the intended target of the shooting. He left the apartment complex, drove over the McTeer Bridge and crashed into a tree.
Officers found the car running, with the car’s doors open. Police found two handguns, one linking the defendant to the shooting.
In an unrelated incident on Oct. 17, 2015, Smalls robbed the Shop N’ Go at 57 Sams Point Road. He demanded money, and the clerk handed over cash from the cash register and from under the counter, some of which was wrapped in orange packaging. Smalls was later found during a traffic stop.
“Wads of cash in orange packaging were found in his pockets,” Assistant Solicitor Mary Jordan Lempesis said. “Not only was he seen on the in-store video, but the initials written on the money’s distinct packaging were made by the convenience store clerk who counted the money at the beginning of her shift.”
Smalls’ criminal history includes convictions for third-degree burglary, simple possession of marijuana, possession of crack cocaine, petit larceny and unlawful carrying of a weapon.
Sheriff’s office: Routine traffic stop nets drugs
A routine traffic stop ended up with the driver facing drug sale and distribution charges.
According to a Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office report, at about 8:30 a.m. on Oct. 15, a sheriff’s deputy was on Trask Parkway in Seabrook and saw a black Dodge Charger speeding near Alexis Drive.
The deputy pulled the car over and, according to the report, he saw the female driver, who was the only person in the car, lean toward the passenger side as if she was moving something.
The report states that the deputy smelled a strong odor of marijuana coming from inside of her vehicle.
The deputy then directed the driver, Karwanna Albany, 38, of Dale, to get out of the car. The deputy asked Albany if there were any illegal drugs in her car and she said no, but acknowledged the inside of her Charger smelled like marijuana, the report states.
While backup deputies remained with Albany, the deputy began to search the inside of her vehicle.
The report states that during the search of the front compartment of the Charger, the deputy found two bags with small amounts of marijuana, a plastic bag with powder cocaine and a container with powder cocaine, as well as some loose marijuana on the front passenger seat and floorboard. He said he also found a backpack in the back seat that contained paraphernalia, powder cocaine and marijuana.
The powder cocaine amounted to a trafficking weight and the marijuana a distribution weight. Albany was placed under arrest and transported to the Beaufort County Detention Center, where she was incarcerated for trafficking cocaine and possession with intent to distribute marijuana. She posted bond and was released from the Detention Center.
Man is wanted on grand larceny charges
Clinton Robinson is wanted by the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office on charges on grand larceny.
Robinson is a black, about 6 feet, 6 inches tall, and weighs 198 pounds.
He is known to frequent the area of Beaufort MHP on Parris Island Gateway.
Anyone with information is asked to call Sgt. Adam Draisen at 843-255-3409 or BCSO Dispatch at 843-524-2777; or CrimeStoppers at 888-274-6372 to remain anonymous and for a possible reward.
Man convicted of killing restaurateur
A man who ambushed a Bluffton restaurateur with a shotgun blast to the head as he sat on his back porch has been convicted of murder.
A Beaufort County jury found Samuel Thompson Collins, 39, guilty of the slaying of Jonathan Cherol, who was killed shortly after midnight on Oct. 27, 2015, as he sat with a friend on the porch in the Pinecrest subdivision of Bluffton.
Cloaked in darkness and standing in Cherol’s back yard, Collins twice fired a 12-gauge Mossberg shotgun that he had borrowed from a friend. One shot hit a neighboring house; another struck Cherol in the head.
Collins also was convicted of using a firearm in the commission of a violent crime. He was sentenced to 50 years in prison.
Surveillance video from the Pinecrest subdivision, interviews with the suspects and cellphone text messages connected the Collinses to the incident. Samuel Collins’ DNA was discovered on the Mossberg shotgun, which Collins returned to its owner in the early-morning hours following Cherol’s murder, along with articles of clothing that also contained his DNA.
“The forensic evidence in this case was really overwhelming” said Kimberly Smith of the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office, who prosecuted the case.
Man wanted on weapon charges
Byran Michael Habersham is wanted by the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office for possession of weapon during violent crime.
He is known to frequent the Burton area, the Joe Frazier area and the Fripp Point.
Habersham is known as “Snoop” on the streets. He is 6 feet, 4 inches tall and weighs about 160 pounds.
He is considered armed and dangerous.
Anyone with information is encouraged to call Investigator Brandon Disbrow at 843-255-3407 or Beaufort County Dispatch at 843-524-2777; or CrimeStoppers at 888-274-6372 to remain anonymous and for a possible reward.
Sheriff’s office investigating Seabrook shooting
At approximately 5:30 a.m. on Oct. 21, Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to a residence on Fawnwood Lane in Seabrook regarding a shooting incident.
At the scene, victims and witnesses told deputies they were awakened by the sound of multiple gunshots coming from outside of the home. They also said that two vehicles parked in the yard had been struck by bullets and the unknown suspects had fled the area after firing the shots.
The six children and five adults that were inside the residence at the time of the shooting were not injured.
Investigators found multiple cartridge casings of different calibers scattered on the ground outside of the residence, indicating there were at least two firearms used in the shooting. Investigators continue to interview victims and witnesses in an effort to identify the subjects responsible.
Anyone with information is encouraged to contact Sgt. Andrew Rice at 843-255-3429; or CrimeStoppers at 888-274-6372 to remain anonymous and for a possible reward.
Woman jumps from Broad River Bridge
Shortly after 9 a.m. on Oct. 18, a motorist called 911 after they saw a woman jump into the water from the Broad River Bridge.
Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office deputies and Burton Fire District personnel responded and, as they arrived at the boat landing, flagged down a man who was out in the water on his boat.
The man immediately steered his boat to the deputies and fire personnel and offered them a ride to find the woman. Deputies and fire personnel boarded his boat, while others went onto the bridge where they spotted the woman floating in the water.
The man piloted his boat to the location that they spotted her, where she was recovered from the water by deputies and fire personnel on-board. The woman was responsive when they pulled her from the water and was brought safely back to the boat landing. She was then transported by Emergency Medical Services to the Beaufort Memorial Hospital for further evaluation.
BCSO looking for man wanted on fraud charges
Cornell Martez Scriven is wanted by the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office on charges of breach of trust with fraud intent.
Scriven, 22, is black and weighs 175 pounds. He is known to frequent the Mitcheville Road area of Ridgeland.
Anyone with information is encouraged to call Investigator Cornillus LaVan at 843-255-3313 or Beaufort County Dispatch at 843-524-2777; or CrimeStoppers at 888-274-6372 to remain anonymous and for a possible reward.