The second suspect arrested in the killing a 68-year-old man is a danger to the community, Orangeburg Department of Public Safety Chief Mike Adams says.
James Albert Whaley Jr., 25, is charged with murder and possession of a weapon during a violent crime in the death of 68-year-old Bobby Scott Huggins on Feb. 10.
During a court hearing Friday, Adams said, “this was an incident that shocked the collective conscience of our community. We had a 68-year-old elderly individual who was brutally attacked with a hammer and then subsequently shot multiple times with a 9mm handgun."
Whaley appeared before Orangeburg Municipal Judge Virgin Johnson for an arraignment hearing. Bond could not be set on the murder charge, but it may be considered by a circuit court judge at a later time. He remains at the Orangeburg County Detention Center.
Whaley listed his permanent address as 255 Lawrence St. in Orangeburg.
Adams said told the judge that he appreciated the fact that Whaley's bond was denied on both charges.
"But I think the record should also reflect that it is our perception that this individual presents a clear and present danger to our community. He has a known gang affiliation. So in light of that gang affiliation, I also feel like he has a support structure that if he were released could support him and we would not see him again," Adams said.
Family and friends of Huggins were gathered in the courtroom.
"It is our standard process always to let the victims and/or the personnel from the Department of Public Safety to speak. But in this rare instance, we all realize that this case is beyond my control. There is no bond that I can set, and I want the family to know that they will have a day to be heard," Johnson said.
"All I'm doing is going to deny the bond because the law requires it. I have no authority to set a bond, but you will have your day to be heard at some point and time in the future," the judge said.
ODPS Victims Advocate Karen Sanders spoke on behalf of Huggins' family.
"Indeed this has been something that has been a very, very severe thing for them to get over and get through. We are here to help and support them emotionally and definitely allow them to know that we are here to stand up on behalf of Mr. Huggins," Sanders said.
According to Whaley’s arrest warrants, he allegedly used a 9mm handgun to shoot Huggins several times.
He is the second suspect charged in the death of Huggins.
Tyekiva Harvin, 18, of the Orangeburg and Wedgefield areas, appeared for her arraignment on a murder charge on Saturday. Her bond was denied.
She was 17 when she allegedly struck Huggins in the head with a hammer inside the bedroom of his Murray Road apartment.
Huggins told police that he chased Harvin into his living room.
That’s when authorities believe Whaley fired multiple shots at Huggins.
Whaley’s warrants alleged that he and Harvin fled Huggins’ apartment together.
Huggins died while undergoing surgery for his injuries.
Warrants also state that Harvin told police that Whaley was at the scene.
Harvin “did give a video statement and identified the defendant in a six-person photo lineup provided” by the S.C. Law Enforcement Division, a warrant said.
Following the hearing, Adams said, "We believe at this point these will be the only two suspects charged in this case."
He declined to discuss a motive for the attack.
"It still remains a little unclear. I want to be careful in going into motive too much. I think it's important that we give the facts of the case. Motive, I think, is something better left to a trial," Adams said.
He said he didn't want to try the case "in the court of public opinion" and risk jeopardizing its prosecution.
Adams said Huggins was shot at least two times and that Whaley was apprehended in the New Brookland section of Orangeburg.
The homicide is the second one in the city so far this year.
A deadly shooting occurred at the Cook Out on John C. Calhoun Drive on Feb. 24.
That incident left Orangeburg-Wilkinson High School senior Raquan Middleton with a fatal bullet wound to his neck. Two teens were charged in the shooting death.
Contact the writer: email@example.com or 803-533-5534. Follow "Good News with Gleaton" on Twitter at @DionneTandD
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