The child sex charges against former Bamberg County Council member Kerry Trent Kinard will now be handled by prosecutors in the Upstate.
The case was reassigned after Kinard’s attorney noted that one of the 2nd Circuit Solicitor’s Office prosecutors is a potential witness in the case. Second Circuit Chief Administrative Judge Clifton Newman agreed.
“Because there is no way to know whether the prosecutor would be a necessary witness until the trial is underway, the State has consented to the granting of the relief requested in the Defense motion,” Newman said in an order.
Second Circuit Deputy Solicitor David Miller didn’t make any comments about the judge’s recusal order, when asked.
Kinard faced the following charges in Bamberg County: first-degree assault and battery, second-degree attempted criminal sexual conduct with a minor under age 16, committing or attempting to commit a lewd act upon a child under age 16 and two counts each of criminal solicitation of a minor and dissemination of obscene material to a person under 18 years of age.
Two days before Kinard’s trial was set to begin on Aug. 30, the S.C. Law Enforcement Division served the 50-year-old with three additional charges: two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor under 11 years old and one count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor between the ages of 11 and 14. SLED alleges the actions took place between 2010 and 2017.
Kinard’s attorney, Bakari Sellers, has said his client is not guilty of any of the charges.
Also, Sellers said the new charges against Kinard show the alleged victim’s statements are inconsistent.
In Newman’s order to recuse the 2nd Circuit Solicitor’s Office, he noted an alleged victim made statements on Aug. 25 to one of the prosecutors. No other witnesses were there, the court filing states.
“Because prosecuting attorneys relayed the substance of the statements to SLED, who then sought additional warrants for the defendant, the defense contends the victim’s statements on Aug. 25, 2021 must be inconsistent with what was previously reported to SLED. The defendant then filed this motion seeking the recusal of the Second Circuit Solicitor’s Office, alleging the Aug. 25, 2021 statement cannot be consistent with the victim’s statement previously given to SLED, making the prosecutor a potential witness at trial,” the order states.
Prosecutors maintain there were “no inconsistencies” between the two statements, according to the order.
The S.C. Attorney General’s Office reassigned the case to the office of 13th Circuit Solicitor William W. Wilkins III, according to a letter filed last month by Chief Deputy Attorney General W. Jeffrey Young. That circuit covers Greenville and Pickens counties.
Kinard is also facing the following charges in Jasper County: third-degree criminal sexual conduct, dissemination of obscene material to a person under 18 and committing lewd acts upon a child under 16.
Trial dates haven’t been set in either of the cases.
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