Aiken Area Progressive

Progressive blog for the Central Savannah River Area.

Month: November, 2013

Stop persecuting foot fetishists for the criminal actions of one Joey Leaphart!

By now, most of you in the local 23-county region know Joey Leaphart as the man with a foot fetish.

A good chunk of the population, however, have used Mr. Leaphart’s arrests for sexual assault since the winter of 2012 as an excuse to persecute people with foot fetishes – with WRDW News 12 seemingly aiding in the stigmatization of foot fetishists by interviewing Mr. Leaphart, who was convicted of sexually assaulting an 11-year-old girl in 2000 (which added him to the sex offender registry) by sniffing and licking her feet (the age of consent in South Carolina and Georgia is 16 – which means that this victim can not legally consent under state law at the time this crime occurred – that victim is now 24).

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Joey Leaphart goes directly back to jail on bench warrants

Bench warrants send Leaphart back to jail

Joey Leaphart (WRDW-TV)

AIKEN — Joey Leaphart is back in the news again — this time, for bench warrants that are finally being served.

You may remember that he was arrested two previous times this year alone for sexual assault: once in Grovetown, Ga. and once in Aiken.

Now, the 44-year-old known for having a foot fetish (not nearly as wicked as mine, of course!) has been served long-awaited bench warrants from the Aiken Department of Public Safety, although ADPS hasn’t elaborated what the warrants were for.

Mr. Leaphart is now at the Aiken County Jail for the second time in four months.  You can see WRDW’s interview with Mr. Leaphart by clicking on this link.

WRDW News 12


Man arrested for soliciting sex from 14-year-old girl…on Craigslist

CHARLESTON — A Charleston County man is in the clink for using Craigslist to solicit sex from a 14-year-old girl.

Deputies said that the 32-year-old man arrived at an undisclosed location to rape a girl he met on Craigslist who he thought was 14, but was really an undercover Charleston Police Office deputy.

The suspect made contact with an online Craigslist ad in the Casual Encounters/Personals section created by a CPO detective who was posing as a teenage girl.

The suspect then made his way on Thursday to sexually assault the “minor”, but was apprehended.

He confessed to a CPO deputy that “his intention was to have sexual contact with a 14-year-old girl”.  Deputies admitted that the ad was created to combat sexual exploitation of children on the internet.

Brian Scott Stephenson, 32, was arrested Thursday by the Charleston Police Office and charged with attempted criminal sexual conduct with a minor.  He is at the Charleston County Jail on $100,000.00 bond.

WTOC 11, WCSC-DT Live 5

After eight more domestic violence murders, Denmark Legislator proposes new laws

Denmark Representative proposes new laws in wake of three high-profile deadly domestic violence cases

Bryan Sweatt killed a half dozen people after ranting on Facebook about a custody battle, his girlfriend being first of the six.  He later killed himself.
This North Augusta woman killed her platonic friend/friend with benefits/boyfriend after an argument.
Ronald Wilson, of Graniteville, who gunned down his grandson, then killed himself.

DENMARK — Greenwood, North Augusta, Graniteville.

In each one of these cases, domestic disputes turned deadly so very quickly.


In each one of these cases, a firearm was used (and in two of those three, a legally-owned firearm was used).

The male perpetrators, Bryan Sweatt and Ronald Wilson, killed themselves afterwards.  The female perpetrator, Robin Herndon, tried to heal the fatal wound she caused on purpose.

In 2011, 61 women were killed in domestic violence incidents.  In 2012, nine men were murdered by their girlfriends and wives, enough to put South Carolina back into a dubious, but familiar spot, right at the top in domestic violence deaths nationwide at 48 such deaths overall.

These three cases have caught the attention of Rep. Bakari Sellers (D-Bamberg).

“Our laws are poorest to say the best, they don’t protect vulnerable,” he said.

Rep. Sellers said that he and the rest of his colleagues at the state General Assembly need to step up be leaders and reject the special interest groups’ lobbying tactics.

“There could have been more done to keep those people safe,” said Rep. Sellers. ” There comes a point in time where we have to do our job in Columbia and we haven’t been doing that.”

Try to give law enforcement the ability they need and try to give Solicitor Thurmond the ability he needs and we haven’t been doing that and that’s nobody’s fault except the people who get sent to Columbia.”

Rep. Sellers is including himself in that last statement.  Mr. Wilson, the only one of those trio actually charged with domestic violence, had to pay only $2,505.00 to bond out of jail.  Rep. Sellers wants to change that.

“Our magistrates’ hands are tied,” said Rep. Sellers.  “Eliminate that cap so that magistrates in their own wisdom, knowing better than anybody in Columbia, can do what they need to do.”

And thanks to the NRA and the other extremely loud voices in the gun lobby, Mr. Wilson continued to have access to his guns after his domestic violence arrest.  Rep. Sellers has an answer for that too.

“They have to submit a list of those guns and turn them in, we already have laws on the books felons can’t have weapons; we need to treat this with the same veracity.”

We can do better, we need to do better.  If not, we’ll have more people lose their lives to people out of control.”

WJBF-DT News Channel 6

Democratic lawmakers introduce a bill that would ban states from passing unconstitutional measures singling out abortion clinics to meet unnecessary building standards and revoke all federal funding for those that do

WASHINGTON, DC — After North Carolina passed unconstitutional measures forcing abortion clinics to shut down this past summer, women nationwide were so fed up, they contacted their Representatives and Senators.

Now, a half dozen of them vow to do something about it.

Sen. Dick Blumenthal (D-Conn.) is introducing a bill that, while it would be the most stringent pro-choice law in US history, would put America in line with the rest of the industrialized world in ensuring that women have a basic fundamental right: the right to abortion.

Unlike most other bills that come from government nowadays, the name of this bill is actually accurate: the Women’s Health Protection Act of 2013.  The Women’s Health Protection Act protects women’s healthcare rights no matter where she lives.

More importantly, states would be barred from passing any so-called Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) laws, which impose strict and cost-prohibitive building standards on abortion clinics, require women seeking abortions to have ultrasounds, and create other barriers to abortion access.

“In states like Texas and Wisconsin, legislatures are passing bills with the false pretext of protecting health when their only objective is to obstruct and curtail access to safe and legal abortions and reproductive services. These laws are largely unconstitutional, and some measure of certainty and clarity is required to preempt these regulations and laws so women are not deterred in their very personal decisions based on their own values on how they want to use their constitutional rights,” said Sen. Blumenthal. “The Women’s Health Protection Act will provide a clear and certain response to these regulations and laws that impose unnecessary tests, procedures and restrictions — including requirements for physical layout in clinics — on reproductive services.”

Blumenthal’s bill would ban states from enforcing any anti-choice law that is more restrictive than federal law, states with abortion laws more lenient than federal law would be allowed to continue enforcement of such laws under the Women’s Health Protection Act.

The bill would direct judges to consider certain factors in determining whether a restriction is legal, such as whether it interferes with a doctor’s good-faith medical judgment, or whether it’s likely to interfere with or delay women’s access to abortion.

While the bill will likely clear the US Senate (barring yet another act of GOP obstructionism), the House will not bring it up while the GOP is in control of that chamber.

Huffington Post Politics

Robin Herndon denied bond for manslaughter

NORTH AUGUSTA — Robin Herndon was arrested on Thursday for killing her friend with benefits during a domestic dispute.  We are now learning new details of what led the now-former parole officer to kill the man she was so in love with.

Teddy Kulmala, the Aiken Standard‘s crime reporter and a Williston-Elko alum, reports that Ms. Herndon was an agent with the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED).  Other reports say that she was also an officer with the Edgefield County Sheriff’s Department prior to the job she had up until Thursday.

WJBF-DT is the only station reporting that Ms. Herndon and the victim were boyfriend and girlfriend, other Aiken-Augusta media outlets are reporting that they were platonic friends.  Because the accuracy of such reports are so confusing, I’ve decided to put their relationship as “friends with benefits” until a definitive definition of their relationship is actually verified by all local media outlets.


A female neighbor of Ms. Herndon and the victim called the Aiken County Sheriff’s Department and told its operator that she was doing outdoor work when the domestic violence shooting occurred.

“They was fighting. I heard a gunshot,” she said. During the call, a woman can be heard screaming in the background.

She also said that the victim “does not look good” and is losing color.  She also told the victim to not stand up on numerous occasions.

“They came home, they were fighting,” she said. “I was in the backyard working and then I heard a gunshot. … They were fighting, yelling. She was asking him to leave.”

The caller goes on to say that Ms. Herndon was applying pressure to the victim’s wound.  The operator asks multiple times where the gun is but the caller keeps saying she doesn’t know.

“On the floor somewhere. She is trying to apply pressure,” she said. “He’s passing out. He’s not moving.”

A second neighbor called 911 shortly after the first call came in.

“I seen a man and a woman arguing outside,” she tells the operator. “They walked up on the porch, and then I just heard one gunshot, and then I heard the lady scream.”

The caller said the woman walked into the home and the man followed.

“He was lighting a cigarette and then he walked up on the porch,” she said. “It sounds like somebody got shot. All I heard through her screams was her telling him to breathe.”

Ms. Herndon had her first court appearance immediately upon arriving at the Aiken County Jail on HAMPTON AV.  She was denied bond.

[Aiken Standard]

[WJBF-DT News Channel 6]

North Augusta Woman arrested for killing man, fired from job

NORTH AUGUSTA — A parole officer has been arrested for killing her male friend on Wednesday.

Robin Renee Herndon, 40, was arrested by the Aiken County Sheriff’s Department and charged with manslaughter in the death of her 31-year-old platonic friend.

The victim was killed after Ms. Herndon shot him in the neck.

The incident happened at 14:12 Wednesday after a domestic argument. During the argument, Ms. Herndon pulled out a gun and shot him. It isn’t immediately known if the weapon she used was the one she carried to her job as a parole officer.

Ms. Herndon is at the Aiken County Jail.

Female-on-male violence is on the rise. In 2012, nine men were murdered by women they knew. This was the highest total since 2006, when ten men were killed by women.

News 12 reports that Ms. Herndon was fired today immediately after being charged with voluntary manslaughter, according to South Carolina’s Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services’ Public Information Director. That’s one less abuser with a badge on the force.

WJBF-DT News Channel 6

WRDW News 12

The Jail Report

Greenwood Massacre: Man murders five in fight with girlfriend, then himself

BREEZEWOOD — Another domestic dispute ends in a completely avoidable massacre.

Bryan Eugene Sweatt, 27, shot and killed his 26-year-old girlfriend, her parents, 49 and 51, and her nephews, ages 11 and 9 on Tuesday evening, October 29.

The 51-year-old male victim was shot two times, his 49-year-old wife was shot thrice.  One of the minors were shot two times, while the other boy and the suspect’s primary target, his girlfriend, were shot once.

A Greenwood County dispatcher said that a woman in the background on CALLISON HY (SC Route 67) said “do not point that at me” before the phone was hung up.

The whole massacre stemmed from a dispute over child custody.

Totally sickening.

[WYFF-DT News 4]

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