(Anderson, SC). The final defendant in the kidnapping, robbery and murder of C. J. Patel of Anderson, Zachary Gantt, was sentenced today in Anderson General Sessions Court. The Honorable R. Lawton McIntosh sentenced Gantt to 22 years on each of 3 charges, Voluntary Manslaughter, Kidnapping, and Armed Robbery and 5 years on Possession of a Weapon during the Commission of a Violent Crime. All sentences are to run concurrently. Gantt had pled guilty in November of 2014 and sentencing was deferred.  


Chandrakant (C.J.) Patel was last seen around 6 p.m. on July 1st, 2012, leaving the Exxon station a short distance from I85 on Clemson Boulevard. He and his family managed the station. He told one of the workers he would be back but he never returned. Mr. Patel’s car was found abandoned in Fair Play on July 3rd. His body was found July 11th in a wooded area off U.S. 29 a few miles from the Georgia state line. An investigation by the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office resulted in the arrest of Jeremiah Johnson, Zachary Gantt, Ezra Williams and Kendra Howell.


(Anderson, SC). Christian Lopez was sentenced today in Anderson General Sessions Court by the Honorable R. Lawton McIntosh for his role in the death of Chunsey Cunningham in October of 2013. The Honorable R. Lawton McIntosh sentenced Lopez to 13 years for Voluntary Manslaughter, 5 years for Criminal Conspiracy and 5 years for Possession of a Weapon during the Commission of a Violent Crime. All sentences are to run concurrently. Lopez had pled guilty in February of this year but his sentencing was deferred at that time.  


In the early morning hours of October 20, 2013, Roger Rowland, Shawn Johnson, and Christian Lopez went to Skateland to meet someone. Conflicting statements were made by the defendants as to the reason for the meeting. Lopez and Rowland got out of the car driven by Michaela Christensen and walked to meet the man who was sitting in a car driven by Chunsey Cunningham. Mr. Cunningham, who had just stepped out of the car and was not the intended target, was shot in the head. He died at the scene. Everyone fled the scene. None of the guns involved in the shooting were ever recovered, thereby preventing any forensic confirmation of the shooter’s identity. 


(Walhalla, SC). Roger Qualls pled guilty today in Oconee General Sessions Court to Involuntary Manslaughter in the death of Kathy Owens. The Honorable Alex Macaulay sentenced him to 5 years suspended to 24 months home incarceration with credit for time served with 5 years of probation to follow with drug testing, counseling, no contact with the victim’s family and restitution for funeral costs for Ms. Owens.  


On January 1, 2015, Kathy Owens was driven by a friend to the defendant’s residence to purchase prescription pills.   Once at the defendant’s home, the friend stayed in the car while Ms. Owens went into the residence alone. The defendant stated that Ms. Owens wanted to buy pills from him.  During the course of their conversation, she also performed oral sex on him. The defendant stated that this had happened before when she wanted pills.  


The conversation then turned to a gun that was “pawned” by the victim to the Defendant approximately two weeks prior.  The victim told the defendant that she wanted more than the $50 she had received for the gun.  Otherwise, she wanted him to buy the gun and give her some pills. Qualls told her that he didn’t have any more money and went to get the gun.  The Defendant indicated he was giving the gun back and wanted his money back.  When the Defendant returned with the gun, the victim told the Defendant to look at the gun because it was worth more than $50. The Defendant stated that as he pulled the gun from the holster, it may have cocked. When he went to hand the gun back to Ms. Owens, he had it pointed in her direction and the gun went off. Qualls stated that the shooting was an accident. The defendant then called his family and soon after called 911. He also went outside and got the victim’s friend, telling him that she was dead. CPR was attempted by the Defendant before officers arrived on the scene.  


Based on the Defendant’s statement and during the execution of a search warrant on the residence, a bullet was found lodged in a wall where the defendant had accidentally fired the same weapon approximately two weeks earlier.  The investigation revealed that the defendant and the victim not only had a history of drug use together but that they were also friends. At the time of the crime, the Defendant was intoxicated and the victim’s toxicology report indicated the presence of several illegal drugs and prescription medications.  The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office’s investigation failed to produce any evidence of a potential motive that would overcome the defendant’s claim of accident.  The facts of this case meet the legal elements of the negligence standard of involuntary manslaughter. 


“This is a tragic loss for the family and we are aware that they are disappointed by the outcome,” stated Solicitor Chrissy Adams. “However, based on the evidence gathered by the Oconee County Sheriff's Office, involuntary manslaughter was the appropriate charge and an appropriate sentence was handed down by the court.”


(ANDERSON, SC). An Anderson County jury convicted Bobby Joe Arflin today of Murder, Possession of a Weapon During the Commission of a Violent Crime, and 3 counts of Solicitation to Commit a Felony. The Honorable Scott Sprouse sentenced Arflin to 30 years for Murder, 5 years (concurrent) on the weapon charge, and 10 years on each Solicitation charge. One of the Solicitation charges is to be served consecutively with the other two to be served concurrently. 


On December 11, 2013, the defendant Bobby Joe Arflin ran into a truck belonging to Jody Powell which was parked at a residence in his neighborhood in Belton. Mr. Powell came out of the residence, where he was attending a child’s birthday party, to see what happened. Words were exchanged between the two and the defendant then pulled out a revolver and shot the victim. Mr. Powell ran around the truck and fell while fleeing the defendant. Arflin pursued the victim and shot him again from behind. Several people at the residence witnessed the incident.  


Between October 4th and November 14, 2014, while the Defendant was being held at the Anderson County Detention Center awaiting trial for the murder of Jody Powell, Arflin, approached a cellmate and offered him land to kidnap 3 people who were to be witnesses in the murder trial. The defendant provided a hand drawn map of the land and the names and ages of the witnesses. Once released, the cellmate reported to law enforcement what happened.  Arflin then made a recorded phone call to the cellmate wherein he acknowledged the kidnapping plot.  Arflin was then charged with 3 counts of Solicitation to commit a felony, kidnapping. 


“We are pleased that today’s verdict and sentencing will keep Mr. Arflin behind bars for what will likely be the rest of his life,” said Solicitor Chrissy Adams.  “He has shown no remorse for his actions and instead sought to victimize three more innocent individuals.  Today those victims and the family of Jody Powell can know that Mr. Arflin is facing justice for his crimes.”