On Tuesday, March 19th, a sheriff from Chesterfield county was indicted by a grand jury on four counts of misconduct in office, and two counts of furnishing contraband to inmates. Each misdemeanor charge is a serious criminal charge that could result in 10 years in prison.
Wednesday, March 20th, Governor Nikki Haley suspended the sheriff, Sam Parker, pending the outcome of the Attorney General’s office investigation.
Parker faces a series of allegations involving special privileges given to two inmates. One inmate was serving seven years for drug trafficking, and the other was serving 15 years for arson.
Allegedly, Parker allowed the inmates to sleep in a dormitory in the sheriff’s armory, and have access to televisions and iPads. They also had access to clothes, drugs, alcohol, and women for sexual relations. They had unlimited visitations with family and friends, were allowed to make shopping trips and go to restaurants, had cash and access to private bank accounts. They were allowed to use county vehicles, such as police cars and even and aircraft piloted by a Sheriff’s Deputy, and had access to firearms.
According to the indictment, the inmates worked on Parker’s home in exchange for these special privileges. The men refurbished the Sheriff’s Armory, built a recreational building for Parker on his property, ran errands for Parker, and performed repairs throughout the county with the help of Chesterfield County funds. The men used money from Chesterfield County to purchase HVAC equipment, a boat, John Deere farm equipment, a five-ton military truck, an enclosed trailer and a four-wheeler.
Further Criminal Charges in the Indictment
While Parker’s most serious offense is misusing inmates, he also faces allegations for hiring friends as “deputies” and giving them access to guns without proper training. According to the indictment, Parker maintained a roster of “Reserve Officers” who were reportedly Class I officers, but were not on an official payroll and did not work regular hours. They were allowed to wear official uniforms, although they did not undergo any of the necessary training to become deputies.
The Attorney General’s office further alleges that Parker had access to forfeited firearms, which he loaned out to non-law enforcement personnel for private, non-duty related reasons. The firearms included an M-14 semi-automatic rifle, an XM-15 Bushmaster rifle, a Remington Model 700 sniper rifle, a Browning .22 handgun, a Glock model 21 .45 semi-automatic handgun and a Glock .40 pistol.
Parker’s attorney has stated that his client is innocent of all charges. “We deny all of the allegations, Parker is an innocent man, these allegation are based on lies and/or misleading statements, or misapplication of the law, and we look forward to proving his innocence in an objective court,” he said in a phone interview.
If you face indictment or arrest for criminal charges in South Carolina, that does not mean that you are automatically guilty, or that you have no rights. For experienced criminal charges defense attorneys who will fight for you, contact the criminal defense attorneys at the Strom Law Firm, LLC today for a free consultation to discuss your arrest, possible defenses, and whether you may be eligible to have your charged reduced or even dismissed. 803.252.4800