The lawyer for a Chester minister, who is accused of wounding his mother-in-law as he tried to to kill his estranged wife in an August shooting at a Christian bookstore, says the reverend did not pull the trigger, and wasn’t at the store.
The Rev. Robert Worthy Sr., 64, is charged with attempted murder, assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature, domestic violence and two weapons charges. He could face more than 60 years if convicted. Worthy did not speak in court Wednesday as he sought bond after his arrest Aug. 26.
Defense lawyer Stanley Myers of Columbia said in court Worthy was home at the time of the shooting, and police have not recovered a gun or evidence linking him to the shooting.
Myers said Worthy is a gentle retiree and no threat or flight risk. But Judge Brian Gibbons denied bond, saying sometimes “where there is smoke there is fire” concerning the allegations of threats and the perception of fear from multiple family members of the victims.
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“He is a danger to this community at this time,” Gibbons said.
Myers, a colonel in the National Guard and former quarterback at The Citadel, said “Mr. Worthy denies in full all these accusations.”
Prosecutors and Worthy’s wife, Vivian, said in court that Worthy, assistant pastor at Union Baptist Church in Chester, threatened to kill his wife as the couple is dealing with a “bitter” divorce. Prosecutor Candice Lively, 6th Circuit Solicitor, said the women told police Worthy walked into the bookstore and began shooting.
“He went into a Christian bookstore to kill Vivian Worthy,” Lively said. The mother-in-law, Lively said, was “collateral damage.”
The wife had a court-ordered restraining order against her husband at the time. She said she has been victimized twice in the past several months by unsolved drive-by shootings.
Vivian Worthy said in court that her husband came to the Father Son Holy Spirit Christian book store in Chester and threatened her with the gun after a verbal threat to “give her what she deserved,” then fired several shots before the two struggled. The wife’s elderly mother, who owns the book store, was hit in the leg, the wife told police.
“Point blank he shot at me,” Worthy’s wife said in court Wednesday. “I am in fear for my life.”
The mother-in-law remains hospitalized in Charlotte, unable to use her limbs, relatives said in court.
Several other relatives and friends of the wife and her mother testified Wednesday, saying many are afraid for their lives if Worthy gets out of jail. For protection, The Herald is not naming those who spoke in court and have a different name from the minister.
Lively argued the minister should remain jailed because he is a threat to the safety of the family and the public.