TRAVELERS REST, S.C. (WSPA)- The Republican candidates for Greenville County sheriff gathered for a town hall in Travelers Rest Monday.
The focus was how they would handle evidence and cold cases. The people hosting the event said the topic came up after the Greenville Police Department admitted to losing a letter that was a possible new piece of evidence relating to the murders of Greenville county Lt. Frank Looper and his father in the ’70s.
Candidate Hobart Lewis said things have changed since the ’70s, but there’s still room for improvement.
“The cold case unit at the county certainly needs to be expanded,” he said. “We only have two people, and it’s a minimal number of cases they can work on.”
A.T. “Tommy” Smith said he’s been told there are 40 unsolved murders in Greenville County, and he would consider bringing more people on to help solve them.
“What I may do is look at bringing some retired deputies or law enfocement officers back that are willing to do it on a voluntary basis so that way there won’t be any cost impact to the residents,” he said.
Sean Zukowsy said he wasn’t on the cold case unit when he worked as a deputy in Greenville County, so he’s not sure if it needs more resources. But he did say he may give them more attention.
“Any case is going to be you know vitally important for us to pay attention to and appropriately administer the manpower and resources necessary to try to resolve them, whether they’re five years old, or ten years old or 20 years…[it] dosen’t matter,” he said.
Robert Whatley said it’s important to be thorough when investigating cold cases.
“I think that’s the main thing is just going back and making sure no stone is left unturned, no matter how old these cases…there’s still victims out there,” he said. “These people deserve justice.”
For Darius Hall, it’s personal. He said his great aunt’s murder decades ago in Greenville County remains unsolved.
“So maybe even an extra special effort from me to get more man power provided for that in addition to just getting all our investigators and finding different ways to use technology to improve our efforts and just work with different federal partners who may be able to provide their specific skills to assist with those cases,” he said.
The primary will be next Tuesday, January 7. Democrat Paul Guy is also running in the general election, which will be March 10.
Interviews with each of the five Republican candidates are scheduled to air live on WSPA starting Tuesnday on 7 news at 7 p.m.