Former SC sheriff charged with domestic violence at his home
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A former South Carolina sheriff who pleaded guilty to stealing public money last month was arrested at his home and charged with criminal domestic violence.
Former Florence County Sheriff Kenney Boone spent Monday night at the jail in neighboring Darlington County. Jail records initially indicted Boone was charged with first-degree criminal domestic violence, which is a felony.
But the arrest warrants presented to him in bond court Tuesday were for the lesser, misdemeanor charge of second-degree criminal domestic violence and ill treatment of animals.
Boone came home intoxicated, started arguing with his wife about money, then started throwing things, according to a police report.
Boone then went to his vehicle, got a baseball bat and swung at a cat, furniture and a potted plant before threatening officers who were called to the home, the police report said.
Boone avoided prison time when he was sentenced for embezzlement and misconduct in office on Jan. 8. But the judge held a five-year prison sentence over his head if he couldn’t complete five years of probation.
Florence County deputies said they were called to Boone’s home near Florence on Monday. They turned the case over to the State Law Enforcement Division.
Boone, 53, faces up to three years in prison if convicted of second-degree criminal domestic violence.
Boone’s attorney on the previous charges did not return a phone and text message from The Associated Press.
At a Tuesday bond hearing, Boone told the judge he was unemployed and his 35 years in law enforcement should show he isn’t a threat to anyone. Prosecutors asked for a high bond and electronic monitoring to protect Boone’s family from him, news outlets reported.
The judge set Boone’s bond at $10,000 with no monitoring, but ordered him to stay away from his wife and four children, who were home when the incident happened. Boone was also ordered to return to court for a hearing later to determine if he violated his probation.
Boone became the 10th South Carolina sheriff to be convicted of crimes in office in the past decade when he pleaded guilty last month. His five-year prison sentence was suspended to the time he spent in jail being booked on the charges. Prosecutors did not ask for prison time at his plea.
The former sheriff admitted he used $17,000 in Florence County funds and drug seizure money to buy groceries, window tinting and other personal items. His own chief deputy called state agents to investigate his boss.
Court records showed Boone shopped at places like Walmart, Best Buy, GameStop, Mainstream Boutique and Rapid Weight Loss.
Boone was ordered to pay back the $17,000, and if he did, his probation could have been shortened to 18 months.
Before he was sentenced, Boone apologized for taking the money, saying politics were tough and pressure-filled and he made some bad choices.
“It’s a new day. I feel great. There’s no doubt that I will be a better citizen — be better for the people of Florence County. And being the person that I was leading up to before this incident happened,” Boone said at his sentencing.
Follow Jeffrey Collins on Twitter at https://twitter.com/JSCollinsAP