Lex. Co. family threatened and robbed at gunpoint; 3 charged

BY RACHAEL MYERS LOWE
rlowe@thestate.com

Hughes, Johnson and McNeill

 — Shortly after 1 am Saturday, three men armed with a shotgun broke into a home on Doe Trail Drive in Lexington County, threatened to kill three young children if the home owners didn’t cooperate, Lexington County Sheriff Lewis McCarty said in a news release.

Charged with robbing the family which lived one street over from them were roommates Jonathan Christian Hughes, 19, and Antonio Lamont Johnson, 25, of Deer Moss Trail and Jahmand Maurice McNeill, 22, who lives 9 houses down on Deer Moss Trail.

The married couple was forced to stand in a shower while the three took Wii and Xbox video game consoles, a Samsung Galaxy Note smart phone and iPod portable media players.

Around 5:30am, warrants allege, McNeill, alone, broke into another home on Doe Trail Drive but was confronted and disarmed by the homeowner. McNeill is accused of hitting one of the arresting officers in the face with his elbow while he was being arrested. The officer was not seriously hurt, McCarty said.

Investigators found some of the items that stolen earlier in the morning at NcNeill’s home. Other items were found in the woods behind Hughes and Johnson’s home.

The three men are being held at the Lexington County Detention Center. McNeill is charged with burglary, armed robbery, kidnapping, use of a weapon in commission on a violent crime and assaulting a police officer. Hughes and Johnson are charged with kidnapping, armed robbery, burglary and possessing a weapon during the commission of a violent crime.

 L&M note: This is the same area in which authorities discovered a meth lab earlier this month.

Lexington looks at higher water, sewer fees

tflach@thestate.comFebruary 17, 2015

LEXINGTON COUNTY SC — It’s probably going to cost homes and businesses more soon for water and sewer service provided by Lexington.

Lexington town officials on Tuesday started looking at a rate hike of 2.5 percent annually for each of the next five years for 15,000 homes and businesses. It’s a plan that seems “practical and conservative,” Town Councilman Ted Stambolitis said. The package is needed to pay for rising costs of operation, additional facilities planned to keep pace with growth and increasingly tougher environmental protection standards, consultant William Zieburtz said. Overall, the series of rate hikes suggested is “pretty moderate,” he said.

Town residents pay an average of nearly $64 per month for service while those outside the community pay an average of slightly more than $111 per month. The first increase would take effect July 1 if the plan is accepted by town leaders. It would be smaller than average initially after other minor adjustments in the way rates are set – 71 cents per month for the typical home in town and $1.52 per month for one outside town.

Adoption of the package is “very likely” since it provides a low-cost way to handle the demands created by steady development, Mayor Steve MacDougall said. Town officials last raised utility rates in mid-2013 with a 3 percent hike capping a series of increases.

The latest increases proposed follows one last year in areas served by Cayce and West Columbia. Those cities are partners with Lexington in providing water and sewer in the eastern half of the Lexington County. Despite some complaints, recent utility rate hikes in Lexington are less than average compared to elsewhere in the Southeast, Zieburtz said.

Lexington Company Wins Oscar

[The State] Lexington-based Interactive Data Visualization was honored last week with a Technical Achievement Award certificate for its virtual vegetation software, SpeedTree Cinema, which allows artists to make trees in such movies as “Avatar” and Maleficent” look and act more real.

IDV’s founders Michael Sechrest, Chris King and Greg Croft accepted the award during a ceremony on Feb. 7.

“My mother would like to thank the Academy for awarding her son something she could brag about,” King joked.

Sechrest also thanked USC (“that’s Gamecocks, not Trojans,” said Sechrest, getting a few whoops from the audience) for the chance to develop the company at the university as an incubator project.

The software’s ability to make trees and other vegetation was first used in video games, chosen by Microsoft for games in its Xbox platform. Later, the software was used in films, including “Avatar,” which won three Oscars, including achievement in special effects.

Idiot Shot by Trooper

Sometimes it’s hard to just present information without commentary,
so I’m not even going to try.  Thus the headline.
See my comment at the end of the post.

(WIS) Chance Noah Etheredge, 36, has been charged with unlawful carrying of a pistol, resisting arrest, DUI, simple possession of marijuana, and an ABC Violation after being arrested following a trooper-involved shooting.

At around 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, the South Carolina Department of Public Safety says a trooper was involved in a shooting in Lexington County on I-20 Eastbound near I-26 at the 64 mile marker.

The incident began after a trooper stopped a Volkswagen for failing to maintain a single lane and suspicion of DUI.

Once the vehicle was stopped, the trooper began administering field sobriety tests on the Etheredge.

Authorities say when the trooper went to place Etheredge under arrest for DUI, he began to resist and struggled with the trooper. Etheredge began to walk toward his vehicle, the trooper then gave him verbal commands and continued to try to make an arrest. The trooper deployed his taser to attempt to stop Etheredge but it wasn’t effective.

Troopers say the suspect got back into his vehicle and continued to struggle with the trooper. During the struggle, Etheredge took a handgun from his car and exited the vehicle, according to Authorities. At that time, the trooper fired his service weapon, striking Etheredge.

Etheredge was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Drunk, possibly high on weed, he fights with a trooper, gets tasered
and then pulls a gun on him!
This fool snatched the “Idiot of the Week” trophy right out of
Sen Tom Corbin’s nasty hand!

State Sen. Tom Corbin Gets Katrina’ed

Sen Tom Corbin
Sen Tom Corbin

Bless his heart, South Carolina State Senator Tom Corbin is an idiot.  No … dumbass redneck.  He’s all this and more because, well, he’s Tom Corbin, but his dumbassery is getting national attention for a stupid remark he made to a fellow state senator.  A female state senator.  What burnishes Corbin into the Dumbass Hall of Fame is that senator to whom his comments were directed was Lexington County’s own Katrina Shealy.

Continue reading “State Sen. Tom Corbin Gets Katrina’ed”

Metts: A Drug Connection?

James Metts [The State]
James Metts [The State]
When longtime Lexington County Sheriff James Metts was arrested for corruption and bribery last summer, the entire state was shocked and disappointed.  Metts, who was sheriff for 42 years, had a reputation as a model of law enforcement professionalism and integrity and a superb civil servant. Continue reading “Metts: A Drug Connection?”

Former S. Congaree Police Chief Makes Plea Deal

Former South Congaree Police Chief Jason Amodio

(WIS) – Former South Congaree Police Chief Jason Amodio appears headed for a deal for cooperating with prosecutors in connection with the ongoing probe into corruption in Lexington County.

According to federal court documents made public on Tuesday, Amodio agreed to plead guilty back in June to making false statements to a grand jury.

Amodio, who resigned from office a year earlier after a raid on South Congaree Town Hall, was originally accused of accepting payment in return for seized gaming machines while he was police chief.

Days after the federal indictment, court documents show Amodio signed the plea agreement. South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson and U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles both signed off on the plea agreement.

The deal, if approved by a judge, would mean Amodio would avoid prison time and be sentenced to four years probation, with eight months of the term to be served in home confinement with electronic monitoring.

Amodio also agreed to plead guilty to common-law misconduct in office. Any punishment for that crime would be served concurrently with his federal sentence.

He faced up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000 if convicted.

Nettles filed a motion on Tuesday asking the court to depart from applicable sentencing guidelines in the case.

“Jason Amodio cooperated throughout the pendency of his case and is still cooperating,” Nettles stated. “The Government believes that the defendant’s assistance was substantial and will provide additional information at the time of sentencing.”

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