Fort Mill Strawberry Festival gun charge hearing
A 14-year-old Fort Mill boy accused of pointing a gun at other children at the Strawberry Festival earlier this month was on probation for other crimes at the time, prosecutors said.
The juvenile was convicted of attempting to burn a golf course in Fort Mill and property damage. He was serving a one-year probation sentence at the time of the offense at the festival, said Ouida Dest, 16th Circuit assistant solicitor for child cases, in a detention hearing Tuesday in Family Court. The child was ordered to go through mental health counseling and pay restitution along with the year probation, Dest said.
Dest argued Tuesday in court the child is a threat to the public if released.
"His parents cannot safely keep him from harming others or getting back in trouble," Dest said.
The child was arrested for the gun incident May 5, Dest said. Fort Mill police charged the child with two counts of pointing and presenting a gun at two other children behind a slide attraction at the festival around 10 p.m., then making threats against another victim, police reports and testimony show.
The child has been in a juvenile detention center in Columbia since his arrest. He was in court Tuesday for a chance at release until the case can be heard in court.
Family Court Judge David Guyton ruled the child be kept in detention because of the seriousness of the charges, and because the child had appeared before Guyton for the previous criminal convictions.
"These are serious charges," Guyton said of the weapons allegations.
Shira Culbreath, a S.C. Department of Juvenile Justice case worker, said state officials want the child to remain in custody because of "the seriousness of the crime."
Stacey Coleman, 16th Circuit assistant public defender for juvenile cases, said the child's parents wanted the suspect released on house arrest with electronic monitoring. Coleman said she found out before the hearing she represents one of the witnesses in the case and would have to recuse herself from further representing the accused child.
Guyton ruled another lawyer would be appointed to represent the child as the case continues. The child will have a full hearing on potential release pending trial as early as next week, Guyton said.
Andrew Dys: 803-329-4065, @AndrewDysHerald