Monday, September 1 2014 1:31 PM EDT2014-09-01 17:31:17 GMT
The South Carolina Highway Patrol says a man on a motorcycle was killed in a crash Monday morning.Troopers say the crash occurred on Bookman Rd. about three miles west of Elgin at about 6 a.m. The motorcycleMore >>
The South Carolina Highway Patrol says a man on a motorcycle was killed in a crash Monday morningMore >>
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Take a real-time look at where it's raining here in the Midlands and across the state with WIS First Alert radar.More >>
COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -
The man who kidnapped and killed Gabbiee Swainson will spend the next 30 years in state prison for his actions, after negotiating a deal with authorities.
In front of a packed Richland County courtroom, Freddie Grant, 53, agreed to plead guilty and accept concurrent sentences of 30 years on charges of kidnapping and murder with no chance for parole in return for showing authorities where the 15-year-old's body was buried.
He faced up to life in prison.
"This case has deeply affected our community," said the judge. "I will go along with this negotiation because of the need for Gabbiee's family to have closure."
Prosecutors also agreed to drop charges against Grant's daughter, Dominique, as part of the deal. She was facing accessory after the fact charges in connection with the discovery of Gabbiee's cell phone in Myrtle Beach.
Fifth Circuit Solicitor Dan Johnson and Richland County Leon Lott, the two men responsible for the agreement with Grant, were in attendance to explain the process behind the negotiations.
Johnson said he and Lott began mulling approaching Grant's attorney, a public defender, after the sheriff came to the conclusion that searchers may never find the Ridge View High School student.
"I don't think anybody can imagine what she has been living with for the past year," Johnson told the court on behalf of Elvia Swainson, Gabbiee's mother. "Given the pain she has gone through, I think she wants the court to know that nothing you can do in this courtroom can be enough for what he deserves. She loved her girl."
Ultimately, it was the discovery of Gabbiee's cell phone behind a Myrtle Beach grocery store that helped to break open the case, Johnson said.
"That made us feel we were able to approach this defendant," Johnson told the Court.
According to Johnson, Grant bound Gabbiee's hands and face and suffocated her before disposing of her body in a deep grave not far from his Elgin home.
Grant is currently serving a 18-year federal sentence on an ammunition conviction. He is appealing that sentence. The federal sentence will run concurrently with the state sentence.
As part of the deal, Grant will not be able to appeal the state ruling.
His release date is scheduled for sometime in August of 2043.
"This case has affected the community that we live in," said the judge. "No matter what part of town you live in, no matter what your socioeconomic status is."
"I need for Gabbiee's family to have closure," the judge told Elvia Swainson as he appeared to hold back emotion."I need the community to know that we will not tolerate this type of behavior.
"I can't begin to fathom the torture, the torment, the sleepless nights, the uncontrollable crying," he said. "I wouldn't wish that on anybody."
"I've thought about this case and I've struggled with whether or not to accept this negotiation," the Judge said between long pauses. "I was reminded of the words of Christ, where he said in Luke that 'it would be better for a man to have a millstone tied around his neck and thrown into the bottom of the sea than to cause a child to suffer.'"
Sunday, August 31 2014 4:12 PM EDT2014-08-31 20:12:10 GMT
CONWAY, SC (WMBF) – Dozens of videos are all over Twitter from parties held at Coastal Carolina University. Many of the posts lead back to a group called I'm Shmacked. It makes videos at universitiesMore >>
Dozens of videos are all over social media from parties held at Coastal Carolina University.More >>
Friday, August 29 2014 12:21 PM EDT2014-08-29 16:21:29 GMT
An Alexander County woman is facing charges after deputies say she molested a four-year-old at a church while services were happening. According to the Alexander County Sheriff's Office, 52-year-old CarolMore >>
According to the Alexander County Sheriff's Office, 52-year-old Carol Diane Britto, of Taylorsville, was charged with one count of first degree statutory sex offense and one count of indecent liberties with a child.More >>
Monday, September 1 2014 8:58 PM EDT2014-09-02 00:58:33 GMT
You've likely noticed a spike in gas prices across the Midlands. They have jumped almost 15 cents after a steady drop nationwide.Prices are about $3.11 in the area on Labor Day, which, when compared toMore >>
You've likely noticed a spike in gas prices across the Midlands. They have jumped almost 15 cents after a steady drop nationwide.More >>
Monday, September 1 2014 8:32 PM EDT2014-09-02 00:32:26 GMT
With a severe thunderstorm moving its way through the Midlands, customers across Richland and Lexington counties currently find themselves without power. South Carolina Electric & Gas is reporting overMore >>
Over 4,000 outages have been reported across the Midlands according to SCE&G.More >>
Monday, September 1 2014 7:54 PM EDT2014-09-01 23:54:12 GMT
Whitney Hempsey remembered what doctors told her before she gave birth to her second child years ago. "It's like, 'Hey, are you tired of being pregnant?" Hempsey recalled. "'We can give you this and youMore >>
Mothers come together at Improving Birth Rally in an effort to stop rushed births.More >>
Monday, September 1 2014 6:18 PM EDT2014-09-01 22:18:34 GMT
Under a bright Carolina sun, citizens across the state enjoy going out and making a few waves on the lakes. Some like Johnathan Crossland enjoy fishing as a method of recreation and relaxation for a while.More >>
Boaters and law enforcement officials provide safety advice when making waves on the lakes.More >>
Monday, September 1 2014 3:55 PM EDT2014-09-01 19:55:16 GMT
As America's population of World War II veterans continues to shrink, respect for their role in history appears to be growing. Among those heroes are the thousands of troops who brought Hitler's EuropeMore >>
As America's population of World War II veterans continues to shrink, respect for their role in history appears to be growing.More >>