CDV victim: Legal system only gave my abuser 21 days in jail - - Columbia, South Carolina

CDV victim: Legal system only gave my abuser 21 days in jail


A Lexington County woman who suffered abuse at the hands of her significant other says the legal system has failed her. She says the man convicted of criminal domestic violence did not serve a sentence fitting of the crime.

Angela Smith-Bowers says she met Steven Gibson last October. A few months later, she let him move his camper onto her property.

"Everything was great. I was happy," said Smith-Bowers. "I thought I'd found a guy, you know."

But in April, she called 911.

"He grabbed me, threw me onto the bed, and started punching me in the face 'til all these bones were broken and I had a fracture here," said Smith-Bowers.

Doctors documented head, face, neck, and shoulder injuries, but Smith-Bowers says the abuse didn't stop with her body.

"He knew I was calling 911, and he knew he was going to jail. That's why he destroyed everything that meant anything to me: my face, my property, my dog," said Smith-Bowers.

She says Gibson grabbed a hammer and hit one of her dogs, which she says is now deaf in one ear. Then he took the hammer to her two motorcycles and her car.

"He beat those motorcycles and that car until all three were totaled with a hammer, with a hammer," said Smith-Bowers. "What would he have done to me if he could have got me with that hammer?"

Gibson was arrested and convicted of criminal domestic violence, but Smith-Bowers says she does not understand why Lexington County deputies did not charge Gibson with a higher degree of CDV.

"He did his 21 days and he could have gotten out and murdered me," said Smith-Bowers. "And how would that deputy feel when he could have done that extra that was needed with the extent of the damage physically and property-wise that was done here. He could have done something about it and did it and then I was dead."

The next degree is CDV of a high and aggravated nature.

After speaking with an attorney, that charge can result from serious bodily harm, including broken bones which the victim sustained. The penalty for that is a minimum of a year in jail.

To Smith-Bowers, that would have at least given him time to think about his crime and given her time to heal.

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