Panel will examine agreement between CPD, Solicitor's Office - - Columbia, South Carolina

Panel to examine handling of information before Kelly Hunnewell's murder

Kelly Hunnewell Kelly Hunnewell
Lorenzo Young (Source: Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center) Lorenzo Young (Source: Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center)

The City of Columbia is expected to name a special panel this week that will look into police and the prosecution's handling of information before the death of a Columbia woman shot to death in a bakery.

Authorities are holding three suspects, Lorenzo Young, 18, Troy Stevenson, 18 and a juvenile in connection with the death of 33-year-old Kelly Hunnewell. 

That panel will try to determine whether Young should have been taken into custody long before the shooting.

The Fifth Circuit Solicitor's Office and Columbia Police were aware Young had an extensive criminal record including violent crime and that he'd been linked to a fingerprint found on the door of a home that had been burglarized in the Heathwood neighborhood in mid-June.

That print was confirmed almost two weeks before Hunnewell's death while she was working at a bagel bakery. 

Young and Stevenson were both out of jail on bond. Young had previously been implicated in first degree burglary. But a long-standing agreement between the Columbia Police Department and the Solicitor's Office seemed to break down, leaving Young free to commit more crimes.

That agreement says police, especially in serious cases, need to check with prosecutors before they go to a magistrate to get warrants. Legal veterans say that often prevents cases from falling apart on technicalities or for lack of evidence.

The attorney for a witness and a homeowner in the Heathwood break-in and provided crucial information to police say an outside group needs to review everything that happened and find out whether anyone made what may have turned out to be a fatal mistake.

The Hunnewell case could become a political issue in the mayor's race. Incumbent Mayor Steve Benjamin has called for the creation of the review panel. Challengers Moe Baddourah and Larry Sypolt have also made public safety central themes of their campaigns.

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