Teenager guilty of shooting Chester woman

WINNSBORO -- A Winnsboro teenager accused of shooting four people -- including a Chester woman left paralyzed -- has been convicted on four misdemeanor charges.

Charles Carmack, who turned 19 on Friday, was sentenced that same day to 25 years in prison, said 6th Circuit Solicitor Doug Barfield. Carmack was convicted on four counts of assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature.

Prosecutors initially charged Carmack with four counts of assault and battery with intent to kill and one count of possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime. He pleaded not guilty to those charges.

Had he been convicted of all the violent offenses, he could have received up to 85 years in prison.

Authorities said that on July 28, 2006, Carmack was involved in an argument with another man at a party off Old Airport Road, just outside the city of Winnsboro.

After the argument, investigators said, Carmack went to his truck and grabbed a hunting rifle.

He fired into the air, authorities said, then went into a crowd. According to investigators, Carmack fired a shot that hit a barn and exploded, striking four people, including Chester's Amber Grant, who had turned 18 the day before.

Emergency workers took Grant to a trauma unit at Richland Memorial Hospital in Columbia. She had the most serious wounds of the four victims.

A bullet fragment pierced her back and punctured every organ except her heart, lungs and stomach. She was left paralyzed from the waist down.

Since the shooting, Grant has persevered. She received a driver's license this summer and now takes classes at York Technical College. Late last year, she moved into a 1,500-square-foot wheelchair-accessible house built by volunteers.

Grant testified at Carmack's trial last week. Her family declined to comment Tuesday.

Carmack's lawyer, John Mobley of Columbia, said the jail sentence could have been more severe for his client.

"It could've come out a lot worse," he said. "From an ethical standpoint, I can't say that I'm terribly disappointed in the result."

Barfield said the verdict doesn't make amends for Amber Grant being confined to a wheelchair. But he noted that Carmack received a substantial prison sentence.

"That is a positive outcome," he said.