(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.    


(Walhalla, SC). Casey Gaines pled guilty today in Oconee General Sessions Court to 4 counts of Criminal Sexual Conduct with a Minor, 2nd Degree and one count of Incest. He also pled guilty to one count of Criminal Sexual Conduct with a Minor, 2nd Degree from Richland County and one count of Incest. The Honorable Letitia Verdin sentenced Gaines to 18 years on each count of Criminal Sexual Conduct, 2nd Degree charges and 10 years on the Incest charges. Sentences are to be served concurrently. The defendant will be required to register as a sex offender.  


In February of 2014, two victims reported to the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office that they had each had sexual relationships with Gaines while they were minors. One of the victims had given birth to a child while she was 14 years of age. DNA results confirmed that Gaines was the father. The second victim had sexual relations with Gaines that began when she was 10 years     of age and continued for several years. This victim was related to the defendant within the degrees of kinship sufficient to establish incest per SC law.  


“Casey Gaines is a predator,” stated Solicitor Chrissy Adams. “His actions were deplorable and have affected these two girls immensely. We hope that the sentences imposed will allow these victims to begin the healing process.”