WHY DO MANY ELECTED OFFICIALS FEEL AS THOUGH THEY'RE ABOVE THE LAW?
MARLBORO COUNTY, S.C. (WPDE) — A preliminary hearing took place Monday morning at the Bennettsville Municipal Courthouse for former
Marlboro County Deputy Probate Judge Tammy Bullock on a charge of pointing and presenting a firearm, according to Bennettsville Police Chief
A judge heard the evidence against Bullock as well as allowed her lawyer a chance to address the charge and why it should be dismissed.
The hearing lasted about 40 minutes and a judge decided there was enough probable cause to send the matter to a grand jury.
That jury will review the findings and evidence in the case and decide if Bullock should be indicted or if the charge is dismissed altogether.
Bullock took office in March and resigned from the position in October.
Back in February, Bennettsville Police charged Bullock with pointing and presenting a firearm during an argument with a woman.
Bennettsville Police Chief Kevin Miller said they charged Bullock under a city ordinance.
However, Miller said that the charge was dismissed in municipal court earlier this month and refilled in state court.
It will likely be prosecuted by an “outside prosecuting authority,” officials said.
The authority could be a prosecutor in another county or the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office.
ABC15 got a copy of the four-page incident report from the Bennettsville Police Department.
The report said the incident took place on Feb. 3, 2021, but a report wasn't filed until Feb. 5.
A 45-year-old woman is named as the complainant in the report and Bullock as the subject.
The woman said Bullock had a gun and threatened to kill her during an argument at a home they shared in Bennettsville.
The complainant stated the verbal altercation resulted in the subject pointing a handgun in her face and making a threat to shoot her with a
handgun in question," according to an excerpt from the police report. "The complainant stated the handgun was medium-sized and gray in color.
The complainant further stated the handgun contained a hammer located at the back of the side.
The officer questioned the woman about why she waited two days to file the incident report.
I inquired with the complainant in reference to the reasoning behind her not contacting law enforcement on 02/03/2021, the complainant stated
she did not know what to do at the time of the incident. The complainant stated the subject was further forcing her out of the residence. The
complaint stated the subject was directing her to get all items out of the residence that day. I advised to the complainant that the subject could not
force her from the residence without first obtaining an eviction notice from the magistrate’s office.
The incident report contains a statement from Bullock.
The subject stated upon her exiting her bedroom, the complainant proceeded to jump in her face again while engaged in a fighting stance. The
subject stated she then stated to the complainant 'I got a gun in my hand. I will not fight you. I’m too old, but I will defend myself.' The subject
stated she never pointed her gun at the complainant at any time. The subject stated she then stated to the complainant and the complainant’s
daughter, 'The best thing for y’all to do is to be moved out by the time I get home from work.' Subject stated she then exited her residence and
went to the Marlboro County probate office for work.
Miller said Bullock initially pled not guilty to the charge and has requested a jury trial. He said the trial was scheduled to take place in November.
However, some community members argue Bullock should not have been charged in municipal court or given a ticket which is treated as a
misdemeanor because state law is clear and concise on the crime of pointing and presenting a firearm.
The South Carolina Law Statute SECTION 16-23-410, which deals with pointing a firearm at another person, said:
It is unlawful for a person to present or point at another person a loaded or unloaded firearm. A person who violates the provisions of this section
is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, must be fined in the discretion of the court or imprisoned not more than five years. This section must not
be construed to abridge the right of self-defense or to apply to theatricals or like performances.
Miller said he can't reiterate enough that Bullock wasn't treated any differently than anyone else.
Miller released the following statement two weeks ago regarding the investigation:
First, allow me to please address questions regarding the on-going criminal case against Ms. Bullock. I understand some people may have
questions concerning this case; however, let me be perfectly clear that the Bennettsville Police Department is no way connected to Ms. Bullock
concerning other investigations or incidents, which have taken place surrounding Probate Court. Furthermore, I have asked state and local officials
to look into our case “out of an abundance of precaution” in hopes to dispel rumors and other suggestive language. Decisions regarding the
direction of this case were made solely based on existing evidence, which were available at the time of the initial investigation and
recommendations by court officials.
Our city attorney will also be conducting an independent review of the case to ensure the integrity of the case and identify any issues, which may
be considered a conflict by the court, victim, defendant, or jeopardize any part of the judicial process in this particular case. As the Chief of Police,
I have a duty and responsibility to preserve the publics trust and will NOT allow unsubstantiated claims taint this case or ruin the reputation of this great city.
He added the Bennettsville city attorney reviewed their investigation from top to bottom.
The State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) is already investigating accusations made against Bullock at the request of the Marlboro County
According to SLED, it is in connection to the estate of Hollis Slade who, according to an obituary, died in January 2021.
ABC15 has repeatedly called Bullock and her attorney, but they haven’t returned our calls.