A 25-year-old man who spent almost two years awaiting trial has been found not guilty of breaking into his ex’s home and kidnapping her.
A jury deliberated for 30 minutes on Wednesday before acquitting Robert Jonathan Shugerts Jr. of Springfield. He faced charges of kidnapping, first-degree burglary, possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime and domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature.
“I’m 100 percent certain the jury got it right,” attorney Charlie Williams said Thursday.
Shugerts also faced two counts of resisting arrest, but Williams said a judge dismissed those charges at a preliminary hearing.
“He didn’t deserve to be charged with what he was charged,” Williams said.
“He was looking at going to prison for life,” Williams added.
Shugerts had been in jail since the April 27, 2017 incident at his ex-girlfriend’s home in North.
The ex-girlfriend claimed he forced his way into her home.
The ex-girlfriend told deputies that once Shugerts was inside of her home, he went to the back deck and retrieved a shotgun which he’d placed by the sliding glass door.
She told deputies that Shugerts never pointed the gun at her, but she claimed that he stated, “If I don’t get to see my kids, something is going to happen.” Williams said Shugerts had been prohibited from seeing his children.
She also told deputies that he refused to leave the residence. She pressed the panic button on her home alarm system.
Deputies said they called for Shugerts over a loudspeaker when they arrived and he exited the home while holding a shotgun.
A deputy wrote in the incident report, “His intentions were not clear when he exited” and deputies made initial contact with him with their weapons drawn.
A deputy reported that Shugerts refused to put the gun down and raised it above his head and racked it multiple times, saying that he was unloading it.
The report also claimed that Shugerts held the shotgun out toward a deputy as though he was surrendering it, but while he laid the gun on the fence, he began “pulling and fighting” the officer.
Shugerts was taken into custody and transported to the Orangeburg County Detention Center.
“I’m not telling you that he couldn’t have handled the situation any better,” Williams said.
Williams also noted that Shugerts struggled with drug addiction at the time of the 2017 incident. Williams said Shugerts is now drug-free.
His trial lasted for two days.
Phil Giese, of the First Judicial Circuit Solicitor’s Office, prosecuted the case.