COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - As promised after a mother of four was gunned down in the bakery where she worked, Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin announced a new group to investigate ways to curb violent crime and reform the way courts set bond.
"Together we've got to shut the revolving door that puts violent offenders who terrorize our community back on the street as quickly as we arrest them," Benjamin said in a statement Thursday.
Benjamin promised action after the murder of 33-year-old Kelly Lynn Hunnewell, who was shot and killed at a bakery on Tommy Circle earlier this month. 18-year-old Lorenzo Young, who is charged with her murder, was out on bond at the time of the shooting following arrests for several violent crimes.
"Lorenzo Young never should have gotten out of jail and now one young woman has lost her life and four small children have lost their mother," said Benjamin. "The people of Columbia won't stand for it and neither will I."
Young and two other teens charged in the case waived their rights to a bond hearing Wednesday.
Interim Police Chief Ruben Santiago said investigators believe the suspects went to the area to rob a club next door to the bakery but they moved on to the bakery when they discovered the club was closed.
"Our officers are doing their jobs risking their lives every day to put dangerous career criminals where they belong – behind bars. Our job is to make sure they stay there.
The group will eventually make recommendations to state legislators on proposals that would strengthen laws covering bonds. Its first meeting is Monday, July 29.
Members include: Former SLED Chief Robert Stewart, who will chair the panel, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott, former Deputy Attorney General Robert Bolchoz, Growing Home Southeast Regional Director Amy Cue, attorney Johnny Glasser, Reverend Chris Leevy Johnson, former prosecutor Neal Lourie, Municipal Judge Carl Solomon, and consultant Gregory Torrales.