Pubdate: Thu, 15 May 2003
Source: Times and Democrat, The (SC)
Address: P.O. Drawer 1766 Orangeburg, SC 29116
Fax: (803)533-5595
Copyright: 2003, The Times and Democrat


Six days, three homicides. Four and a half months into the year, Orangeburg 
County has experienced a violent 2003 with eight homicides.

A year ago, Orangeburg County law enforcement identified the drug trade as 
the root cause of homicide in this county.

A year later, drugs and domestic violence are being blamed as primary 
factors in nearly all of the county's homicides.

Investigators do not think drug traffic in this county has grown. They say 
rather pressure is being placed on drug dealers by taking away supply lines.

There is an option that allows a drug dealer to obtain a supply that also 
makes the drug trade more cutthroat -- murder.

"I think we put the heat on them so much," said Maj. Barbara Walters, of 
the Orangeburg County Sheriff's Office. "The product is not out there like 
it was. I feel like we're making an impact, making it harder for the dealer 
to obtain the drugs as they once did and they're feeling the heat."

At 11:37 p.m. Monday, Orangeburg Department of Public Safety officers were 
called to a Dutton Street home. A 23-year-old man had been shot point-blank 
in the face. Efforts to resuscitate the man failed.

DPS and SLED agents scoured the neighborhood for a shooter. DPS Capt. Mike 
Adams said investigators also searched the home, which led to a substantial 
quantity of marijuana being found in a hidden compartment under a bed. 
Robbery is believed to be the motive, Adams said.

"It appeared to be drug-related," Adams said. "Drugs were found in the home 
and in a hole cut in the floor."

Meanwhile, police are still seeking the subject, or subjects, that shot and 
killed a Florida native, whose body was located Tuesday in a wooded area by 
a bulldozer operator.

Around 1:25 p.m., Eugene Hampton was working off Ron Drive near the Norway 
Highway when he made a grisly discovery. Hampton called police after 
observing a human hand under some pallets at the edge of a clearing in the 
wooded area.

Investigators have identified the victim as 46-year-old Yosiah Israel, of 
144 Fuquan Lane, Cordova. While police are uncertain how long Israel has 
been in this county, they are very certain he was shot three times -- twice 
in the back and once in the side.

"We're still awaiting ballistics tests, but it appears to be a 
large-caliber handgun," Walters said.

Israel has been established as Orangeburg County's eighth homicide 
following the Dutton Street shooting Monday.

While a motive has not been established in the Cordova man's death, the two 
most common causes of murder in this county remain domestic violence and drugs.

A subject was taken into custody and questioned. He was released about 3 
a.m. after police did not find him to be connected to the case,

"I'd say both contribute to the murder rate," Walters said. "The one last 
week was domestic."

Walters cited last week's double shooting, which investigators believe to 
be a murder/suicide following a domestic dispute.

Orangeburg County's first homicide victim in 2003 came in late January 
after a Cordova man was killed when a barrage of bullets was unloaded on 
the man's home.

A 911 call on April 22 turned deadly before police could be dispatched as a 
Banashee Circle man became Orangeburg County's fifth homicide of 2003.

With 17 years of law enforcement to his credit, Adams said in his 
experience two motives for homicides keep cropping up -- drugs and domestic 

"Statistically, most murders are drug or domestic violence-related in our 
area," he said. "That's not based on any scientific data I have. That's 
just based on what I've seen."

Adams said the rising murder rate in this county is not attributable to 
increased drug traffic or "turf" wars.

However, he agrees with Walters in that both feel increased police pressure 
on the drug trade has decreased supply. That decreased supply has police 
theorizing drug dealers are preying on other dealers. But even that is not 
an absolute when it comes to Orangeburg's growing homicide list.

"I don't know, I really don't know why people are doing what they're 
doing," Walters said.

Anyone with information in either case is asked to call the Orangeburg 
County Sheriff's Office at 803-531-4647, or the Orangeburg Department of 
Public Safety at 803-534-5907.
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MAP posted-by: Larry Stevens