Most of the charges against a suspect in many home invasions, robberies and thefts throughout York County will be heard by a grand jury.
Magistrate Judge Mandrile Young found probable cause for the most of the charges to be considered against John Devante Harfield, 26, and Ted Coit, 26.
Harfield faces more than 40 charges in connection with home invasions in Rock Hill, thefts of a lawn mower and trailer in Fort Mill, and thefts that led to a manhunt in Lake Wylie. More than 20 of Harfield's charges, including attempted murder, armed robbery, kidnapping, burglary, assault and criminal conspiracy, stem from home invasions in July.
Harfield and Coit, nd a co-defendant in some of the case, appeared in a York County courtroom Tuesday for a lengthy preliminary hearing.
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Harfield, who faces more than 100 years in prison if convicted of all the charges, remains in jail. His bond was denied in November by Judge Lee Alford, citing Harfield's danger to the community. Coit, who faces more than 20 charges, also remains in jail.
Solicitor Kevin Brackett said Harfield is a very dangerous man involved in very serious cases, including a plot to kill a man during a home invasion on Albright Road in July. In that case, a teenager watching TV on her couch and another woman were bound with electrical cords and a 6-year-old sleeping in bed with her mother was kidnapped.
One victim of the home invasions was shot with a Taser, dragged out of bed and shot twice. He nearly died from his injuries, 16th Circuit Deputy Solicitor Willy Thompson said.
Authorities say at least four men broke into two homes around 3 a.m. on July 1, tying up the residents and robbing them. A 56-year-old man was shot twice and suffered a head injury in the attack. The houses were ransacked and the residents were tied up, including a small child. Among the items stolen were a car, several TVs, laptops, video game systems and four piggy banks.
The TVs, which were attempted to be sold, helped police find Harfield and his co-defendants, Thompson said.
The armed men demanded money from the victim they shot, Detective Tim Ayres of Rock Hill Police Department said.
The victim told police he told the assailants, "I guess you're going to have to kill me because I don't have any money."
In addition to Harfield, three other people have been charted in the home invasions, including Earl Denzell Crockett, 26, and Eric Patterson, 25. A confidential informant identified Harfield as the leader of this group, Ayres said.
Probable cause was found in all the charges against Harfield related to home invasion.
Thefts around the county
Harfield and Coit were arrested in October after police interrupted a theft of tires and rims from a vehicle on Blucher Circle in Clover.
Officers discovered a vehicle propped up on a jack and cinder blocks with its rims missing. Police located the rims in a nearby vehicle.
Police stopped drivers in Lake Wylie before capturing Harfield and Coit on Interstate 77. They were charged with grand larceny, burglary and criminal conspiracy.
Probable cause was also found on a grand larceny charge against Harfield from Fort Mill incident in September when Harfield and Coit were accused of stealing a lawn mower, trailer and go-kart. Young found no probable cause in these charges against Coit.
Task force investigates
York County officials created a task force several months ago to investigate a string of incidents that might be linked to the men charged in the home invasions.
The task force was created after Harfield was arrested and officials realized there were number of law enforcement agencies investigating incidents in which he is believed to be involved.
The State Law Enforcement Division and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are also investigating.
Harfield has a criminal history dating back to 1998, Thompson said, including convictions for strong-arm robbery, drug possession, receiving stolen property and breaking and entering auto. He has been charged with numerous other offenses in South Carolina since 2001, according to a SLED background check. Coit also has a lengthy criminal history in the state.