Bend In The Branch

The personal opinions of one among many.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Hate Crimes, or Crimes of Opportunity?

The initial report:

MANNING — Authorities are looking for a second man who allegedly held a 15-year-old girl captive for more than 90 minutes early Monday morning, sexually assaulted her repeatedly and stabbed her numerous times before leaving her for dead in the bathtub of a mobile home at 1121 Quail Trail.

Jeremy Shay Sweat, 24, of 1121 Quail Trail was arrested at 1:50 p.m. Monday and charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct, kidnapping and assault and battery with intent to kill.

Authorities are looking for 21-year-old Dustin L. Evans of 7780 Raccoon Road in connection with the incident.

"If anyone has contact with him or knows where he is, we're asking them to call 911 immediately," said Lt. Tommy Burgess of the Clarendon County Sheriff's Office.

Burgess said authorities were able to identify the men from information supplied by the teen.

"She said she was familiar with the home and who lived there," Burgess said. "She also said one of the men told her his name."

According to authorities, the ordeal began around 2:30 a.m. when the teenager said she received a call on her cell phone from three friends who wanted her to meet them at the end of her driveway to "hang out." The teen told deputies as she was waiting for her friends, two men drove up in a silver Mazda and told her they would take her to meet them.

The girl told authorities once they were inside the home one of the men grabbed her and put her in a choke hold. She said as she struggled and screamed, the men told her to shut up or they would kill her. One of the men put a knife to her throat and made a small cut in the lower part of her neck and then both men dragged her down a hallway to a back bedroom, the report said.

While the men held a knife to her throat, the men took turns having sex with the her, she told deputies. Afterward, they told her to take a shower. She told authorities while she was in the shower, the men entered the bathroom, told her to turn around, close her eyes and then started stabbing her. When she couldn't stand the pain any longer, she told deputies she fell into the bathtub and played dead.

As she was lying in the tub, she said she overheard the men saying, "She isn't looking good. Look at all the blood. Let's go to town and get some trash bags and my truck and dump her in the lake."

When the men left, the teen said she fled next door and the homeowner called for help.

Deputies said they found the teenager wrapped in a blanket and sitting on the floor covered in blood.

The teenager was transported to Clarendon Memorial Hospital and treated for numerous lacerations.

According to Burgess, the teen said the knife used in the stabbing looked like a pocket knife.

"This is an ongoing investigation," Burgess said. "There are still some areas we're looking at and we're still collecting evidence."

I reitterate:

Burgess said authorities were able to identify the men from information supplied by the teen.

"She said she was familiar with the home and who lived there," Burgess said. "She also said one of the men told her his name."

According to authorities, the ordeal began around 2:30 a.m. when the teenager said she received a call on her cell phone from three friends who wanted her to meet them at the end of her driveway to "hang out." The teen told deputies as she was waiting for her friends, two men drove up in a silver Mazda and told her they would take her to meet them.


Today's AP report:

Deputies: Assault of 15-year-old Clarendon County girl may be hate crime

KATRINA A. GOGGINS
Associated Press

COLUMBIA, S.C. - Deputies are investigating the kidnapping and sexual assault of a black 15-year-old Clarendon County girl by two white men as a hate crime, Chief Deputy Joe Bradham said Monday.

Dustin L. Evans, 21, and Jeremy Shay Sweat, 24, have also been charged with sexually assaulting another black woman last month and appeared to be targeting the victims because of their race, Bradham said.

"Over the weekend we've had others come to us saying they were approached but did not go with them," Bradham said. "All four of those women were black."

Evans and Sweat have been charged with kidnapping, first-degree criminal sexual conduct and assault and battery with intent to kill in the attack on the 15-year-old girl.

They also will be charged with sexually assaulting a 45-year-old woman on June 20, Bradham said.

At least one of the men appeared to have some involvement with a white supremacist group, Bradham said.

Investigators have obtained letters written by Sweat in which he claims to be linked with the Ku Klux Klan, Bradham said.

A counselor at a behavioral facility in Louisiana, where Sweat received treatment as a teen, also wrote that Sweat talked about involvement with the Klan, the chief deputy said.

Investigators haven't found any information to connect Evans to white supremacist groups, Bradham said.

Evans' wife, Crystal, said her husband is not a racist.

"He has colored friends," Crystal Evans said in a phone interview Monday with The Associated Press.

"We have so many people of all kinds of races that would vouch that Dustin is not racist. Friends of color would come over here to eat the meals I cook. Dustin would go eat meals with them ... go buy them food. I can't see my husband being called a racist," she said.

Both men are known to deputies. Sweat has been involved in other sexual crimes, but none of those were believed to be hate crimes, while Dustin Evans has been reported as a suspect at least 21 times since 2001 in other crimes, including cases involving harassment and threats to individuals, Bradham said.

Crystal Evans said she and her husband knew Sweat only briefly.

"He seemed very weird to me. I told Justin I just don't think this is the type of person that needs to be around our family or around you," she said.

Sweat's last known address has an unpublished phone number.

The 15-year-old victim told deputies two men offered her a ride home on July 3, but instead they took her to a mobile home and repeatedly raped her, authorities said.

The victim said the men then told her to get in the shower and began stabbing her. She fell into the bathtub and played dead, deputies said.

As she was lying in the tub, she said she overheard the men talk about getting trash bags and dumping her body in a lake, deputies said.

When the men left, the girl ran to the home next door to get help, authorities said. The victim has been released from the hospital.

The 45-year-old woman also said the men offered her a ride home, then took her to a home and raped her, authorities said.

South Carolina does not have a state statute for hate crimes, the state attorney general's office said.

A call to the U.S. attorney's office was not immediately returned Monday.

Again, I reitterate:

The 15-year-old victim told deputies two men offered her a ride home on July 3, but instead they took her to a mobile home and repeatedly raped her, authorities said.

I fear a feeding frenzy and pray justice for the only victim that matters.

1 Comments:

Blogger Echoes of Rain said...

I think I might want to write a poem about this event Pam... very brave of you to put it out there in your blog...

7:20 AM  

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