Case postponed against Waterfront Park naked couple

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The case of two college students accused of concocting a story about being assaulted, robbed, stripped and thrown into the harbor has been postponed.

According to court officials, Penelope Jade Murray, a 19-year-old College of Charleston student, and her boyfriend John Lawson Shafer, 21, were supposed to appear in court Tuesday to face their falsely filing a police report charges.

However, the pair requested a jury trial, which prompted the delay. The date for those proceedings has not been set, said court officials.

Shafer received a continuance. Neither person appeared in court Tuesday.

The couple surrendered to police a few weeks after their allegedly false Nov. 23 incident at Waterfront Park in which they claimed to have been assaulted and robbed by a black couple.

The couple showed up at a nearby hotel naked, soaking wet and covered in mud. Police said after the initial report was released that investigators had determined the story to be false, but did not offer an explanation as to why Shafer and Murray invented the story.

An affidavit shows that Shafer told police the couple made up the story.

Both were charged with the city offense of filing a false report instead of the state law. If they are convicted, they face a $500 fine or a 30-day term in jail.

The strange tale began when the couple told police they had been confronted by a black couple asking for the time. According to the police report, the black couple became violent before ultimately robbing them and throwing them into the harbor.

The incident became even more sensational when Charleston Mayor Joe Riley called the couple and apologized for their harrowing experience. That call happened shortly before police announced the story was fabricated.

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