Bill Would Make it Harder for Repeat Offenders to Get Out on Bon - WSPA.com

Bill Would Make it Harder for Repeat Offenders to Get Out on Bond in SC

Posted: Updated:
Julie Webster looks at photos of her brother, who was killed by a man out on bond. Julie Webster looks at photos of her brother, who was killed by a man out on bond.
COLUMBIA, S.C. - A bill that’s already passed the South Carolina Senate and is now in the House would make it harder for a person charged with a second serious offense to get out on bond again.

It’s something Julie Webster of Columbia is fighting for, after what happened to her brother in June 2011. Steven Fowler, 35, was the manager of a Papa John’s and had closed just after midnight. When he left the store and got in his car, “Five guys jumped out from the woods that were behind the store and pointed a gun at him and said, 'Give me the money.' And he put it in forward to try to get out of there and they just opened fire and shot him, and then took off. Didn't even take the money. And he died right there on the scene," Webster says.

The man who was later convicted of the murder, and sentenced to 50 years without the chance of parole, was already out on bond. In fact, earlier on the day of the murder he had been in court for a hearing. “It doesn't make sense that they're walking the street when they've committed these violent crimes," Webster says.

The bill would allow someone charged with a second offense that’s considered “serious” or “most serious” to be held in jail for up to 30 days before a bond hearing. That would give a judge more time to look at the case to determine the likelihood that the person will commit more violent crimes while out.

A House subcommittee heard testimony this week on the bill, including from Webster. The subcommittee plans another hearing for early February.

But Rep. Todd Rutherford, D-Columbia, who’s the House Minority Leader and is also a defense attorney, says he thinks the bill would be unconstitutional. "Under our constitution, people are presumed innocent, and because of that they are entitled to a bond," he says.

He says judges can already revoke bond if someone is out on bond and commits another crime. And he says this bill would not prevent crimes by people who commit them while they’re out on bond for the first time, since the bill wouldn’t delay or prevent their release on bond until they’re arrested a second time.

Webster agrees the bill doesn’t do enough, but says lawmakers need to do something.

"If we could just keep somebody else's family from going through what I've gone through,” she says. “If somebody is committing a violent crime and they come up for bond they shouldn't get it."

  • Top StoriesTop StoriesMore>>

  • South Carolina Not Shaken By Same-Sex Marriage Court Ruling

    South Carolina Not Shaken By Same-Sex Marriage Court Ruling

    Monday, July 28 2014 11:26 PM EDT2014-07-29 03:26:04 GMT
    South Carolina says it's not shaken by a court ruling allowing same-sex marriage in Virginia. Monday, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the state's ban on gay marriage.
    South Carolina says it's not shaken by a court ruling allowing same-sex marriage in Virginia. Monday, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the state's ban on gay marriage.
  • How Do You Know If A Felon Is Living Next To You?

    How Do You Know If A Felon Is Living Next To You?

    Monday, July 28 2014 6:48 PM EDT2014-07-28 22:48:31 GMT
    A prison ministry called Jumpstart said ex-cons who are a part of their program are better equipped to rejoin society and re-offend less often. Neighbors say they don’t feel safe. We find out how often they're put behind bars once again. 
    A prison ministry called Jumpstart said ex-cons who are a part of their program are better equipped to rejoin society and re-offend less often. Neighbors say they don’t feel safe. We find out how often they're put behind bars once again. 
  • Upstate Officer Arrests Affect Safety

    Upstate Officer Arrests Affect Safety

    Monday, July 28 2014 6:32 PM EDT2014-07-28 22:32:37 GMT
    Iva Police Chief Arrested, Charged With CDV and Assault and BatteryIva Police Chief Arrested, Charged With CDV and Assault and Battery
    The Town of Iva is operating without its police chief after his weekend arrest. It's the latest instance of officers finding themselves on the other side of the law.
    The Town of Iva is operating without its police chief after his weekend arrest. It's the latest instance of officers finding themselves on the other side of the law.
Powered by WorldNow

250 International Dr.
Spartanburg, S.C. 29303

Telephone: 864.576.7777
Fax: 864.587.5430
Email: webmaster@wspa.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.