One of the two suspects facing murder charges in the shooting deaths of Aiken Public Safety officers will face the death penalty when he goes to trial next year. Definite plans have not been made for the second suspect, who faces charges in Aiken and Richmond counties.
An elderly suspect charged with homicide in a University Hospital shooting is also awaiting trial.
SUSPECT: Stephon Morrell Carter, 20, of Aiken
VICTIM: Aiken Public Safety Master Officer Scotty Richardson, 33
LOCATION: Pace’s Run Apartments at Brandt Court and Camelia Street, Aiken
DATE: Dec. 20, 2011
WHAT HAPPENED: Police say as many as a dozen Aiken officers were on the scene when the suspect got out of a vehicle near the apartment complex entrance and opened fire. Richardson and Officer Travis Griffin were shot. Police said Griffin’s bullet-proof vest saved his life.
Carter, then 19, was booked into the Richmond County jail Jan. 2 after receiving treatment for gunshot wounds. He waived formal extradition and was returned to South Carolina on murder and attempted murder charges.
Just days before Carter’s 20th birthday in December, 2nd Judicial Circuit Solicitor J. Strom Thurmond Jr. filed notice of his intention to seek the death penalty.
WHAT’S NEXT: Carter’s trial has been scheduled to begin Nov. 3, 2014. It is expected to last three to four weeks.
SUSPECT: Joshua Tremaine Jones, 28
VICTIMS: Cayce Vice, 21; her unborn child; and Aiken Public Safety Master Cpl. Sandy Rogers
LOCATION: The former Greens Apartments, Washington Road in Augusta; Eustis Park, Edgefield Avenue in Aiken
DATE: Jan. 27-28, 2012
WHAT HAPPENED: Rogers was shot in the head about 7:30 a.m. Jan. 28 after responding to a call of suspicious activity at Eustis Park. The driver, later identified as Jones, led police on a chase to Batesburg, where he was taken into custody.
Meanwhile in Augusta, deputies were investigating a homicide at The Greens. Police discovered Vice’s body after associates said she had not come to work. Police think Jones, her boyfriend, shot her late Jan. 27 or early Jan. 28 and then went to Aiken, where he was approached by Rogers.
Jones was booked into the Aiken County Detention Center and placed in disciplinary segregation for six “serious infractions” of jail rules. In April 2012, he was committed to a state mental health facility for two weeks after he chewed his wrists. He has since returned to the Aiken County Detention Center.
WHAT’S NEXT: Thurmond said there have been no final charging decisions. The solicitor’s office continues to await results from a forensics investigation by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.
SUSPECT: Charles Gorrell, 86, of Aiken County
VICTIM: Tim Grooms, 59, of Lincolnton
LOCATION: University Hospital, seventh-floor room
DATE: Oct. 16, 2012
WHAT HAPPENED: Hospital personnel took Gorrell into custody shortly after shots were fired in a room where Gorrell’s 83-year-old wife, Francis Grooms Oglesby Gorrell, was being treated for pneumonia. Police said Gorrell took a black bag containing a gun into the hospital after he objected to medical decisions made by Grooms, who is Francis Gorrell’s nephew and held her power of attorney. Gorrell fired at least four shots, striking Grooms twice in the chest, authorities say.
Gorrell, who was referred to as “gravely ill,” was released on bond in November because of health concerns. The suspect, who suffers from congestive heart failure and diabetes, had been hospitalized for treatment at least five times since his arrest.
WHAT’S NEXT: District Attorney Ashley Wright said a trial date has not been set, and she was unaware of Gorrell’s medical status. Gorrell’s lawyer’s office confirmed that he is still alive.