A Richmond County deputy accused of sexually assaulting a woman while he was on duty made a brief court appearance Friday to plead not guilty and learn he could remain free on bond pending trial.
Appearing in Richmond County Superior Court dressed in street clothes and without the shackles normally worn by criminal defendants at bond hearings, Deputy Ronnie L. Joyner was granted a $20,000 bond Friday.
Deputy Joyner, 48, of North Augusta, was indicted Tuesday on charges of aggravated sodomy and kidnapping. Each crime is punishable by 10 years to life in prison.
Assistant District Attorney Shauna Reeves told the judge Friday that the state opposed bond for Deputy Joyner because of the serious nature of the charges he faces. However, Ms. Reeves added, Richmond County Sheriff Department jailers expressed concern over security for Deputy Joyner if he was held in jail pending trial.
Deputy Joyner was suspended with pay from the sheriff's department March 3 when a South Carolina woman reported that instead of helping her after she told him she had been drugged and raped, he drove her to a different location and forced her to perform an act of sodomy.
Deputy Joyner denies the allegations, defense attorney Maureen Floyd told the judge.
Sheriff Charles Webster said Tuesday evening that he would follow city policy in Deputy Joyner's case. City employees are suspended without pay if indicted on felony charges.
Deputy Joyner has worked for 17 years as an officer with the city police department and with the sheriff's department since consolidation. Most recently he worked on the motorcycle patrol.
Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226.