State Lawmakers are considering a bill that would add new crimes to the list of
offenses eligible for the death penalty.
The bill would make it easier for convicted home invaders responsible for a
murder to receive the death penalty, and also potentially increase the length
of home invasion crime penalties.
Horry County Solicitor Greg Hembree said the bill would only have a minimal
impact on statutes already in place regarding capitol punishment for home
invasion crimes, but the small impact could provide prosecutors another tool to
"[It] closes that loophole and that's got some value," Hembree explained. "Even
though [the situation] might not come up that much, [for example, if] we have
ten home invasions and it doesn't count in nine of them, in the tenth one it
might, and that's worthwhile."
Surfside Beach Police Chief Mike Frederick said the actual impact on home
invasion crimes will likely be minimal, but added he could not think of a
reason any law enforcement agency would object to the Home Invasion protection
"Most criminologists would agree it's now going to have a wide ranging, easily
discernable impact on the home invasion scene," Frederick stressed. "But if it
deters one person, that's great."
Residents of the Woodlyn Meadow Neighborhood in Little River, where a violent
armed home invasion occurred days before Christmas in 2011, say they worry
about home invasions daily.
"I feel like the legislature is way behind, this should have been done years
ago," said a resident of Woodlyn Meadow who chose to identify himself only as
C.W. "They need to set some examples, and I think it would be a deterrent to
Hembree says criminals convicted of burglary, armed robbery or kidnapping
charges combined with a murder are already eligible for death sentence.
Several versions of the bill, including one that deals with punishment based on
the severity of the incident, are currently being considered by legislative
(source: WMBF News)