Albert “Scooter” Warlick was meek as a mouse in court Thursday. He threatened nobody, punched nobody. No battalion of cops was needed to jump on top of him.
His cool demeanor was five months too late, however, as Warlick was sentenced to two years in prison after pleading guilty to threatening a pair of York County prosecutors in court in October.
Warlick, 31, an ex-con, was arrested three times for domestic violence in October before threatening to attack the prosecutors after he was charged with domestic violence against a woman outside the Drunken Goat bar in Fort Mill.
Prosecutors Daniel Porter and Ryan Newkirk were at the October court hearing to try to make sure Warlick either stayed in jail or was given a substantial bond because Warlick, despite two arrests in just days, was released on bond each time and then re-arrested.
Warlick, admittedly high on drugs and alcohol, threw papers at the officers and made verbal threats that ended up with him buried under an avalanche of seven jailers.
In the October hearing captured on court video, Warlick “lunged at the prosecutors,” then had to be restrained by officers working the courtroom and the jail next door, said Timi Poulos, a prosecutor from Spartanburg County who handled the case because York county prosecutors were the victims. Warlick then threatened to “get” the prosecutors after the squadron of officers subdued him before he could make good on his threats, Poulos said.
Warlick, who, Poulos said has convictions for crimes of violence dating back almost a decade, faced 10 years in prison. Poulos offered a cap of three years for Warlick to plead guilty.
Kevin Brackett, 16th Circuit solicitor who runs the York County prosecutor’s office and supervises the prosecutors, told visiting Judge Perry Gravely of Pickens that the safety of everyone in court, from judges to defendants but including prosecutors and cops and court staff, must be protected.
“Impose a sentence that discourages anybody else from this type of behavior in a court of law,” Brackett said.
Both Warlick and his lawyer, Geoff Dunn, disputed that Warlick lunged at the prosecutors but conceded that threats were made. Dunn, said that even though Warlick had been in jail for many hours before the incident, he still had cocaine, alcohol, pills and other drugs in his system.
Warlick blamed his drug and alcohol addictions for the attacks.
“I was under the influence, I’m really not sure what happened. I just want to say I am sorry to the solicitors,” Warlick said in court.
After court, both Porter and Newkirk, the two prosecutors who were the victims, praised the quick action of the jailers who stopped Warlick before anyone was hurt.
“We just want to thank the members of the detention center for stepping in as swiftly as they did and being at our aid,” Newkirk said.
Andrew Dys: 803-329-4065