(Anderson, SC). Billy Ray Smith was found guilty today by an Anderson County jury of the attempted murder of his wife, possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime, obstruction of justice and unlawful possession of a weapon. The Honorable R. Scott Sprouse sentenced Smith to 20 years for attempted murder and 5 years on each of the other charges to be served concurrently.


On April 22, 2014, EMS and law enforcement were called to South Hamilton Street in Williamston in response to a call regarding a shooting. The victim was immediately transported to Greenville Hospital with a gunshot wound to the head. The husband of the victim, Billy Ray Smith originally told officers that someone had shot through the door, hitting his wife in the head.  The gun was later found at the home of the defendant’s son. The defendant later admitted to shooting his wife. Statements and evidence taken at the scene led to the arrest of Billy Ray Smith for the attempted murder of his wife. Although Ms. Smith’s injuries were critical and she remained in ICU for several weeks, she was later released from the hospital. 


“Although domestic violence is often accompanied by alcohol or drug use, it is not an excuse nor a defense.” stated Solicitor Chrissy Adams. “Ms. Smith will continue to live with the physical and emotional scars as a result of the actions of this defendant. Hopefully with the support of her family and organizations who help those who have been through similar situations, she will be able to heal emotionally.”


(ANDERSON, SC).Willie Wideman pled guilty to Armed Robbery and Weapons possession today in Anderson General Sessions Court. The Honorable Lawton McIntosh sentenced Wideman to 12 years for Armed Robbery and 5 years for Possession of a Weapon during a Violent Crime, to be served concurrently.


Wideman was identified as the perpetrator of the armed robbery in Pendleton SC which occurred on April 1, 2014. The defendant had entered the Dollar General and showed the clerk a knife, forcing her to empty the registers into a bag before fleeing on foot.  Video surveillance at the Dollar General and evidence found at a vacant residence where Wideman was staying unlawfully led to Wideman’s arrest on April 3rd.  


“Thankfully no one was injured during this armed robbery,” stated Solicitor Chrissy Adams. “Today’s twelve year sentence has made our community safer.”


(ANDERSON, SC.)Kenneth Brent McCullough pled guilty today in Anderson General Sessions court to Assault & Battery of a High and Aggravated Nature and Possession of Explosive Device or Parts/Bomb. The Honorable Cordell Maddox sentenced McCullough to 10 years suspended to 6 years in prison to be followed by 5 years’ probation.  


On December 15, 2014, Kenneth McCullough pulled in front of a car driven by Marshall Gambrell forcing him to stop.  McCullough then got out of his car and assaulted Gambrell. During the assault, the defendant took the victim’s gun from him and placed it in the victim’s mouth, making him beg for his life. McCullough then fled the scene. A search of McCullough’s residence revealed three jars fashioned as Molotov cocktails in a shed on the property.


(ANDERSON, SC.) Hope Phillips pled guilty in an Alford plea today in Anderson General Sessions court to Grand Larceny. The Honorable Cordell Maddox sentenced Phillips to 611 days (time served).  


Phillips was originally charged with Murder, Accessory after the Fact to Murder and Grand Larceny when arrested in March of 2014 in Pelzer following a shooting that left three dead and one injured.  Jared Williams, the shooter, led police on a chase through two counties following the crimes, shooting at police and finally wrecking the car that he had taken at gunpoint. Williams pled guilty in November of 2014 to three counts of Murder, four counts of attempted murder, armed robbery, grand larceny, carjacking and a weapons charge.  He received three life sentences. Williams died in prison in March of this year of a drug overdose.  


Phillips was originally arrested based on a surviving victim’s statement who claimed that Phillips was a willing participant in the murders.  The surviving victim has since changed her recollection of events pertaining to Phillips’ involvement, leaving the State with no evidence to go forward on the murder related charges.   Therefore, all charges pertaining to the murder have been dismissed.  The grand larceny charge stems from Phillips involvement in taking a vehicle shortly after the murders took place.