Anderson, SC - Today, the Honorable J. Cordell Maddox sentenced 67 year old Charles Pickens to 25 years provided upon 15 years active service and 5 years of probation on charges of Felony DUI with Death and Leaving the Scene of an Accident resulting in Death.   


On February 15, 2015 Sandy Springs volunteer firefighter Kenneth Stanton was directing traffic at a collision on US 76 when Charles Pickens swerved from his lane of traffic, striking Stanton and killing him, before striking a fire truck and leaving the scene.  After he was located, Pickens refused a breath test, and a search warrant was obtained for a sample of his blood.  Eventual testing of that blood sample by SLED revealed Pickens had a Blood Alcohol Content that night of .254%, which is over three times South Carolina’s legal limit.   


Members of the Sandy Springs Fire Department, as well as friends and family of Kenneth Stanton were present at the plea.  Kenneth Stanton’s widow, Sheryl Stanton, spoke on behalf of the family and said Stanton “joined the Sandy Springs Fire Department and was so proud and happy to be able to help his community in any way that he could and took pride in it.”  She also said “he had the funeral of a hero which was fitting because he was my hero.”   


Solicitor Chrissy Adams commented following the sentence “Our community lost a great man when it lost Kenneth Stanton.  Today’s sentence is justice for his grieving family and for our community, but the absence of this hero will continue to be felt by all.”


Anderson, SC - For the first time in South Carolina history, a Facility Dog has been used to assist during live trial testimony in a courtroom.  Roma, the first courthouse Facility Dog in South Carolina, made her debut in the courtroom today when she accompanied a witness as she testified on the stand.  The Honorable J. Cordell Maddox ruled in favor of the State’s motion made by Assistant Solicitor Lauren Price to allow Roma to assist in the trial against Robert Joe Frost.  Frost is being tried on charges of murder, attempted murder, first degree burglary, armed robbery, and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime.   


“Roma is trained to bring calm and strength to victims and witnesses in what can be one of the most difficult times of their life,” said Solicitor Chrissy Adams.  “Her presence today gave a key witness the comfort and courage to get on the stand and face a violent murderer.  Cases like today are why we brought this program to Anderson and we look forward to utilizing Roma in the courtroom more in the future.” 


Roma joined the 10th Circuit Solicitor’s Office in November of last year and since that time has been working in the Anderson office with her handler Assistant Solicitor Chelsey Moore.  In addition to being used during trial, Roma assists at the Child Advocacy Center in Anderson, has sat in countless witness and victim interviews, and has even assisted defendants during pleas as well.  While courtroom dogs are a growing practice across the country, Roma is currently the only courthouse Facility Dog in South Carolina. 



(Walhalla, SC). James William Toward was sentenced to 48 years in prison today for the murder of Scott Johnston in 2014, as well as kidnapping and burglary, 1st degree. Trial was set for Monday of this week when Toward chose to enter a guilty plea to all charges. The prosecutor in the case was Deputy Solicitor David Wagner. The defendant was represented by Gordon Senerius of Anderson, SC. 


On January 2, 2014, law enforcement was called to Ames Street in Seneca. When officers arrived they found the victim, Scott Johnston lying on the floor deceased. A second victim, Jody Corley, was tied up and laying on her stomach on the floor near Johnston. She was transported to Oconee Memorial Hospital due to gunshot wounds.  Ms. Corley identified the perpetrators as neighbors living across the street, one of which was James Toward. The two neighbors were taken to the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office for interviews. According to statements made at that time, the defendants needed money for rent and broke into the house to steal items to get the money. Mr. Johnston was awakened by the burglary and Toward chased him into a bedroom where shots were fired. During a subsequent struggle for the gun with Toward, Ms. Corley was shot in the foot. Shell casings, bloody clothes and stolen items were removed from the scene as the two fled.


“Today’s guilty plea allows the families of Scott Johnston and Jody Corley to see justice delivered for the unbearable pain and loss that James Toward put them through and ensure that the man who murdered Mr. Johnston is sent to prison for the next 48 years,” said Solicitor Chrissy Adams. 


(Anderson, SC).Tonight in Anderson County a jury found Royres Patterson guilty of Murder, Attempted Murder and Possession of a Weapon during the Commission of a Violent Crime. The Honorable Scott Sprouse sentenced Patterson to 30 years for Murder, 20 years concurrent for Attempted Murder and 5 years consecutive for Possession of a Weapon during the Commission of a Violent Crime. The case was tried over three days by Assistant Solicitors Lauren Davis Price and Chelsey Moore. The defendant was represented by local attorney Bruce Byrholdt.  


On June 7, 2014 Brandon “Jugg Money” Willingham was shot to death in a drive-by shooting in Anderson County by Royres Patterson. He also shot Rayshawn Cowan four times during the same incident. At trial, it was revealed that this was in retaliation for the shooting of Anthony Patterson, the defendant’s brother, the night prior by someone strongly resembling the victims. Two eyewitnesses who were in the car with Patterson testified at trial along with another eyewitness from the scene, multiple law enforcement officials and expert witnesses.  


 “Street “justice” is not justice and must be dealt with in a court of law,” stated Solicitor Chrissy Adams. “Brandon Willingham lost his life because Royres Patterson thought revenge was justice. Real justice was the guilty verdict rendered by the jury today. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of the victims and to the community who lost a promising young artist in his prime.”