Second bond hearing expected this week for rape suspect - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Second bond hearing expected this week for rape suspect

The underground room is not much larger than a closet with a four-foot ceiling The underground room is not much larger than a closet with a four-foot ceiling
Picture of Kenneth Hinson from SLED's Sex Offender Registry Picture of Kenneth Hinson from SLED's Sex Offender Registry

(Hartsville) March 20, 2006 - A local magistrate denied bond Saturday for a convicted sex offender wanted in the abductions and rapes of two teenage girls behind his Hartsville home this week, and it's expected to be later this week before the suspect faces another bond hearing for burglary charges.

After an exhaustive four-day manhunt, authorities captured the Hartsville man charged with raping two teenage girls and assaulting them in a hidden underground room behind his home.

Hinson is charged with two counts of criminal sexual conduct, two counts of burglary and two counts of assault and battery with the intent to kill.

Darlington County deputies say they arrested Kenneth Hinson just 50 yards from his house. Authorities concentrated their search in the heavily wooded near his home because they thought Hinson fled on foot. They thought he was hiding in the woods, maybe even in an underground bunker.

Chief Deputy Tom Gainey says, "He went to a relative's residence, where he tried to get some water, where he had been forced by the ATV search of the area. And he was trying to get some water, and when he showed up there, they caught up."

Hinson's niece, Renee Faile, turned him in, "He knocked, and I said, 'Who is it?' He said, 'It's Kenny.' And I started just asking him, 'What's going on? Please tell me what's going on?' He said, 'I just need, I need some water.'"

From her kitchen window, Faile gave him the water and a cigarette. She called 911 and waited for law enforcement officers to arrive. She has an idea why he asked her for help, "In the past, not now, if we needed each other, we'd help each other. And I guess if he thought he could come here, I would help him, but also protect him. And I didn't this time."

Just before Hinson was taken into custody Faile asked him, "Why did you do it?" He said, "You'll find out."

Gainey credits the capture on the fact that officers, "stayed with it and followed all leads." He says the reason it took several days to capture Hinson is because he's been moving around the area.

Earlier this week, officials say Hinson kidnapped two 17-year-old girls, brought the two victims to a space he created under a shed, tied them up, sexually assaulted them and then left them there.

Faile says she now knows why her uncle spent almost every day in that shed, "No one would go out there messing with him because it was his area, and we would leave him alone."

Investigators say Hinson isn't related to the teens, but they were neighbors.

Officials say Hinson left them in the underground cavity and shut the door. Investigators say the teens were in there for about seven hours. They suspect if the girls were in there much longer they could have suffocated.

Sometime early Tuesday morning, the girls got out of the tape, kicked through the door and made it to a road where they flagged down someone for help. The passerby picked them up and took them to a relative's house where they called authorities.

The sheriff's department returned to scene and discovered Hinson fled on foot.

It's a crime he's been convicted of before, and he is registered in the state sex offender registry . 15 years ago, Kenneth Glenn Hinson sexually assaulted a 12-year-old girl.

The arrest warrant says Hinson held a knife to the girl's throat and threatened to kill her if she told anybody.

That year he was sentenced to 18 years in prison. He got out after serving nine.

Hinson's case has outraged the state's attorney general, Henry McMaster, who has been on several national television news shows talking about Hinson. McMaster told WIS, "We ought to abolish the parole system 100 percent for all crimes, put real truth in sentencing into effect. And if the judge doesn't think someone ought to get 18 years, then let him give him nine years."

A repeat of sexually violent crime in Hinson's case is something that some experts actually predicted when they let him out of jail.

The Department of Corrections tells News 10 an inmate's time behind bars depends on how well they behave and how hard they work. James Brennan with the Department says during the years Hinson spent in jail he worked consistently and never got into any trouble.

In the year 2000, two different review teams found Hinson would probably engage in acts of sexual violence if not confined in a secure facility for long-term care, control and treatment. But after testimony from witnesses, as well as a mental health evaluation, a judge rejected Hinson for the program.

Judge Edward Cottingham wrote the state failed to demonstrate probable cause.

McMaster says, "I think an error was made by the judge in this case. This man should've been kept in the system. If so, then this would not have happened."

WIS' Heather Brown talked with Judge Cottingham by phone Thursday. He said he does not remember the specific case.

Hinson faces a second bond hearing in circuit court on Monday for felony charges.

Updated 10:21am by Bryce Mursch with AP

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