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Grand jury indicts Marlboro County sheriff and former deputy

Dec. 14, 2021

Grand jury indicts Marlboro County sheriff and former deputy

Attorney General Alan Wilson announced today that a Marlboro County grand jury has indicted Marlboro County Sheriff Charles Lemon and former Deputy David Andrew Cook. Both are charged with assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature and misconduct in office (common law).

The indictments allege that on or about May 3, 2020, Lemon ordered then-Deputy Cook to deploy his taser on Jarrel Lee Johnson at the Marlboro County Detention Center and unlawfully continued to activate the taser at least two times after the initial taser deployment to subdue the suspect while inside the jail.

The indictments allege that the assult was likely to produce great bodily injury or death. One of the indictments against Deputy Cook states that he deployed his taser into Johnson’s chest and leg.

Assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature is a felony with a penalty of up to 20 years in prison. Common law misconduct in office is a misdemeanor with a penalty of up to 10 years in prison.

Immediately following the indictment of Marlboro County Sheriff Charles Lemon, S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster issued Executive Order 2021-42, suspending Lemon from office and appointing former Bennettsville Chief of Police Larry McNeil to serve as interim sheriff until Lemon is acquitted, convicted, the indictment is otherwise disposed of, or until a sheriff is elected and qualifies in the next general election.

McNeil, 68, served as the Bennettsville Chief of Police from 2000 to 2016 and most recently served as the S.C. Department of Social Services Director of Employee Safety and Law Enforcement Liaison until earlier this year.

Attorney General Wilson stresses that all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.


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