OAKTIE, S.C. (Dec. 21, 2023) – The 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office Career Criminal Unit earned convictions against 44 of the Lowcountry’s most violent and habitual offenders in 2023, marking one of the most successful years in the team’s history.
The total matches the number of convictions earned in 2017 and is surpassed only by the 52 defendants convicted in 2016. Solicitor Duffie Stone formed the elite group of trial-proven prosecutors in 2009.
“We use data to gauge our success, and we’re proud of the numbers,” Stone said. “However, no one should forget that behind each of these 45 defendants lies a human tragedy and victims who longed for justice.”
Among those convicted in 2023:
- Jimmie Lewis Green and Ty’leic Chaneyfield; murder and attempted murder (x2); Beaufort County. Green pleaded guilty in May and a jury found Chaneyfield guilty in October for the murder of a popular Bluffton High School football player. Stone prosecuted both defendants, and three others await trial on related charges in this case of mistaken identity. Green was the driver and Chaneyfield one of two gunmen in an SVU that fired into a car driven by D’won Fields Jr., an 18-year-old Bobcat football star. Fields died in the March 2021 assault on the Bluffton Parkway, which also injured his two passengers. None of the three victims were the intended targets, however. The assailants had been on the lookout for a rival in an ongoing dispute, who drove a car similar to Fields’ and who bears a resemblance to one of his passengers. Green received 40 years in prison, and Chaneyfield got a life sentence.
- Jarvise Jenkins; murder; Hampton County. The Colleton County man strangled his ex-girlfriend, then tried to make Anelia Garvin’s murder look like a drowning by submerging her nude body in her bathtub. To further cover his tracks, Jenkins then attempted to set her mobile home on fire. Hunter Swanson earned a 50-year sentence for Jenkins after calling 20 witnesses in two days of testimony at the Hampton County Courthouse. Among them was another of Jenkins’ ex-girlfriends, who described her abuse at his hands, including strangulation.
- Xavier Polite; murder; attempted murder; Beaufort County. The 22-year-old Seabrook resident gunned down Steven Glover in a hail of 9mm handgun fire. The shooting took place in the front yard of St. Helena Island resident Corey Singleton, who survived the attack but died of unrelated causes before he could testify in court. Nonetheless, prosecutor Mary Jones earned a 37-year sentence against Polite. She also secured a conviction against his co-defendant, Channon Preston, who was tried separately in October 2022.
- Jharaun Washington; murder; Jasper County. In 2020, Donvatrae Hay and three passengers drove through a Hardeeville apartment complex where Washington and several of his associates were gathered on a porch. Washington and one of the car’s occupants began shooting at each other, and a bullet from Washington’s gun struck Hay in the head and killed him. Trasi Campbell secured the conviction – one of 14 against Jasper County career criminals in 2023 – and Washington received a 39-year prison sentence.
- Rita Pangalangan and Larry King; murder, great bodily injury on a child; Colleton County. Pangalangan and her boyfriend were in the midst of a multi-day methamphetamine binge when they locked her disabled 13-year-old daughter in a car and left her there nearly six hours on a hot August day. Cristina Pangalangan, whose cerebral palsy rendered her non-verbal and mostly immobile, died of hyperthermia. To secure a murder conviction, Solicitor Stone invoked a legal precedent established in 1957, arguing the defendants acted with such depravity and disregard for Cristina’s life that the jury could infer malice from their actions. Pangalangan was sentenced to 37 years in prison and King to 32 years.
- Timothy Herndon; criminal sexual conduct with a child (x5), sexual exploitation of a child; Beaufort County. The Hilton Head Island man sexually abused two young neighbors over a five-year period. He also photographed and video recorded many of the assaults. None of the 17 charges against him carried the possibility of a life sentence. However, after earning guilty verdicts on all charges, Stone and Special Victims Unit prosecutor Hunter Swanson recommended maximum penalties for each offense and that the sentences run consecutively rather than concurrently. The result was a 110-year sentence from Circuit Court Judge Carmen T. Mullen.
- Courdell Loadholt; murder; Allendale County. Reed Evans secured a murder conviction and 30-year sentence against Loadholt, who gunned down an unarmed rival in a 2019, broad-daylight shooting while his own son sat watching in his vehicle.
- Terrance Scott; possession with intent to distribute cocaine; Beaufort County/federal court. Scott was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison after authorities discovered a stolen pistol, digital scale and 26 grams of cocaine in Scott’s vehicle. He was prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Carra Henderson, a 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office employee who prosecutes cases in federal court through a partnership with the U.S. Department of Justice. Scott was one of 18 defendants from the 14th Circuit convicted in federal court and prosecuted by Henderson in 2023.
The partnership with the Department of Justice began in 2015. It allows the Solicitor’s Office to fight gang activity and to seek stiffer penalties for gun and drug violations than are typically available under South Carolina law. The office has earned convictions against 83 of the 84 defendants it has prosecuted in federal court.
Federal partnership is one of several innovations that sprang from the Career Criminal Unit. The 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office Intelligence Unit is another. That team of investigators and analysts collects background information about the people, places and problems that drive crime across the circuit. It also assures that career criminals are identified with an unbiased, data-driven process.
Stone formed the Career Criminal Unit in 2009 after studying crime across the circuit, state and country. He noted that the majority of criminal offenses are committed by a small percentage of repeat offenders. He also determined that these career criminals do not confine their activity to a single jurisdiction or a single type of crime.
In response, he assembled a team to prosecute the worst offenders and seek the maximum justifiable penalties against them, whether the defendant pleads or goes to trial.
“For this concept to work, you must know the facts of your case, you must know your defendant’s history, you must know the law – and you must know all of this thoroughly,” Stone said. “That’s why our Career Criminal Unit is made up of some of the most experienced and accomplished trial attorneys in the state. It has to be, because this team prosecutes the worst of the worst.”
The concept has proven remarkably successful. Through 2023, the Career Criminal Unit has secured convictions against 478 of the 523 defendants, a percentage of nearly 92 percent. Further, in the decade after the Career Criminal Unit’s formation, overall criminal warrants in the 14th Circuit declined, even as its population rose. Only one other of the state’s 16 circuits matched that feat.
“A lot of prosecutors’ offices create drug units, burglary units or violent-crime units in hopes of better understanding those crimes,” Stone said. “But we have built the Career Criminal Unit to better understand criminals. A decade of results proves this is an effective approach to prosecution. Without hesitation, I can say the Career Criminal Unit makes our communities safer.”