More details emerge in Aiken County investigator firings

October 5, 2007

AIKEN, S.C.---There is a new narcotics officer in Aiken County, and there should be three more in place on Monday (October 8).

Yesterday, four narcotics officers were fired and a fifth was suspended. The State Law Enforcement Division is investigating a drinking excursion September 13 to Augusta and North Augusta in an unmarked county car and other allegations.

Fired are Inv. James Crowell, Lt. Jonathon Owenby, Inv. Tim Roberts and Inv. Luke Williams. The sheriff says the four men drove the county-owned vehicle to Cadillac's off Washington Road and picked up women, then made a stop at a North Augusta place called The Spot. Later they went to the American Hearth Inn motel in Aiken. On the way there, a woman performed a sex act on one of the men.

A fifth investigator, Brian Owens, is on suspension. He was not with the other four that night, but there is a SLED investigation into him too.

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  • by George Location: Jackson on Feb 10, 2008 at 10:48 AM
    It's no wonder Barbara Morgan is quiting. Are we still waiting for SLED to complete their investigation to see if probable cause exists to arrest these former deputies for misconduct in office, etc.? How long does a SLED investigation typically take?
  • by TCB Location: Aiken on Jan 24, 2008 at 01:27 AM
    Conduct amounting to a false representation or concealment of material facts. S. C. Supreme Court Chief Justice said, "Why put that technical problem in a case so obvious. We have an official document from the grand jury misrepresenting the facts. What are we to do with that?" Clearly, since this man was not driving as the police incident reports state, is a case of false arrest, legal malpractice, malicious prosecution and abuse of process. How is it possible that a solicitor can intentionally mislead the grand jury into believing this man was driving drunk, indict him and then talk Judge Early into accepting a 15 year plea bargain sentence for a crime he never committed. This is unethical and unprofessional conduct and grounds for disbarment.
  • by TCC Location: Aiken on Jan 23, 2008 at 04:29 PM
    The Aiken Standard is reporting that 2nd Judicial Circuit Solicitor Barbara Morgan mislead the Grand Jury when obtaining indictments agaist Michael Batchelor. According to Batchelor's attorney, Robert Dudek, argued before the SC Supreme Court that four of the DUI convictions should be thrown out. The 2004 indictment clearly state that Batchelor was driving when in fact he was not the driver of the vehicle involved in an automobile accident. Supreme Court Justice Don Beatty questioned if the Aiken Grand Jury was intentionally mislead into believing that Batchelor was the driver of the vehicle stating that the Grand Jury it not just a formality in our legal process of justice. Apparently the Grand Jury was intentionally mislead as reflected in the four DUI indictments which were signed by Solicitor Barbara Morgan. Intentionly misleading a Grand Jury is unethical, unprofessional and misconduct in office as a solicitor is charged with the responsibility to seek justice rather that simply prosecute a case in an unjust and/or unethical manner. Allegations of misconduct in office, such as intentionally misleading an 18 panel of Grand Jury members, in order to obtain indictment(s) is an act which should be throughly investigated by SLED to include interviews with each citizens who served on the Grand Jury during the incident.
  • by Aiken Location: Aiken Colunty on Dec 28, 2007 at 05:12 AM
    It doesn't take SLED over three month to investigate this incident. They know these guys should be charged with misconduct in office, etc. What's going on here - is this just another Barbara Morgan coverup?
  • by Taxpayer Location: Aiken County on Dec 24, 2007 at 05:52 AM
    How much money are we paying to keep these people in the detention center when there is no longer a case against them. If the arresting officer was fired for cause, they know it and they aren't going to agree to a plea bargain. It's misconduct in office for Barbara Morgan to maliciously hold charges over these defendants knowing that they don't have the evidence to prove charges against them. This is clearly unethical, abuse of process and power.
  • by Kim Location: Langley on Dec 2, 2007 at 04:29 AM
    These guys were also involved with the arrest of numerous prostitutes in the valley who're on drugs. These known women should be interviewed to determine what they did for these guys and how many favors they received in return.
  • by Pandora Location: Police Academy on Dec 1, 2007 at 09:09 AM
    SLED taking their time on this investigation. Bet their doing a really good job!
  • by RedHerring Location: Warreb=nville on Nov 17, 2007 at 12:14 PM
    Why didn't the sheriff get SLED involved when he fired deputy John Herring for alleged misconduct in office and solicitation of prositution? Seems like a so-called independent investigation should be done in this case as well or is there some kind of coverup or conspiracy going on here?
  • by SLEDAbuse Location: Columbia on Nov 16, 2007 at 07:05 PM
    Why did the sheriff get SLED involved in this case to substaniate the allegation; whereas in the case of fired deputy John Herring SLED was not asked to investigate the allegation of officer misconduct? Failure to follow protocol cost an Aiken County deputy his job. In August, an informant claimed Cpl. John Herring paid $10 for sex acts and gave a woman cigarettes in exchange for touching her. The sheriff's office says they found nothing to prove those allegations, but Herring did admit he gave her money and cigarettes in exchange for information. Lt. Michael Frank say's that is why the deputy was fired--because he did not document the exchange of money ahead of time, which is against the sheriff's office's policy. "Before we establish a relationship with an informant, a lot of things have to take place," Lt. Frank said. "If the plan calls for money in exchange for information, that has to be documented ahead of time." The deputy's termination form says the use of any confidential informant and payment to informants must be properly documented by the agency's narcotics supervisor.
  • by Tap Location: Clearwater on Nov 15, 2007 at 01:32 PM
    Did the Aiken County Council approve Barbara Morgan's budget revision for hiring her long time close friend Pat Corey to review these cases? What is her employment terms (hourly rate, etc.)? How was this job opportunity posted? And we do mean close friend!
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