News 12 First at Five, Oct. 5, 2007
AIKEN CTY, S.C.---The Narcotics Division of the Aiken County Sheriff's Office will be taking on some new faces. That follows the firing of one lieutenant and three investigators.
Another investigator is also suspended. A night out on Sept. 13 for four investigators turned into what the Aiken County Sheriff's Office is simply calling, an embarrassment.
The night of Sept. 13th for these four men. An Aiken County Sheriff's Office Investigation says it started at Cadillac's in Augusta on Washington Road. The investigators apparently had some alcoholic dreams and left with 2 women. Then, the men are accused of heading to The Spot in North Augusta. After leaving, they went back to Augusta. Finally, ended up at the American Hearth Inn in Aiken with a woman in the car. A night of fun which turned into the firing of these four men. All from the Narcotics Division of the Aiken County Sheriff's Office.
"We are stunned, we are embarrassed, we are deeply saddened by the activities of these former employees," says Lt. Michael Frank.
The fired employees: Investigator James Crowell, Lt. Jonathon Owenby, Investigator Tim Roberts and Investigator Luke Williamson. Those activities included driving an unmarked county owned car to a bar. By drinking at a bar in Aiken County, the men broke another policy.
"Can not drink on duty or off duty at a bar anywhere in Aiken County," says Lt. Frank.
And during the drive to the motel, the Sheriff's Office says the woman and an investigator engaged in a sexual act. Investigator Brian Owens is suspended with pay but hr was not with the other 4 men that night.
One of the investigators in this incident told the office about the night.
News 12 talked to the managers of The Spot. He refused to go on camera -- but says he did not notice anything suspicious about the night of Sept. 13th. These firings and suspension wiped out the entire Narcotics Division. But, a Lieutenant is now assigned to Narcotics and 3 more investigators are expected to be added by Monday. All current Narcotic cases are being looked at as a result of the firing and suspension.
"What could be affected by any use of it - and that's fairly involved at this juncture and it's fairly new," says 2nd Circuit Solicitor Barbara Morgan.
We're told any previous cases investigated by these officers that have gone to trial also could be affected by their firings.
All SLED will tell us is this is an ongoing investigation. Sheriff Michael Hunt was not available to talk to News 12 today about this situation.