Shooting of 8-year-old boy tops southern Beaufort County list of 2012 crime stories

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HILTON HEAD

Shooting of 8-year-old boy tops southern Beaufort County list of 2012 crime stories

By ALLISON STICE
astice@islandpacket.com
Published Wednesday, December 26, 2012   |  1034 Words  |  

The death of an 8-year-old boy caught in the crossfire of a Hilton Head Island gun battle shocked Beaufort County in September, prompting calls to curb violence through a number of reforms.

Khalil Singleton, a third-grader at Hilton Head Island Elementary School, was playing in his grandmother's yard on Allen Road when he was shot and killed about 5 p.m. Sept. 1.

The Beaufort County Sheriff's Office said three men -- Tyrone Robinson, 37; Aaron Young Sr., 36; and his son, Aaron Young, Jr., 19 -- were feuding over drugsnear the yard where Khalil was playing when shooting broke out.

Robinson and Young Sr. were charged with his murder. Young Sr. and Young Jr. also face charges of conspiracy to murder Robinson.

In the aftermath of the child's slaying, Hilton Head Town Council members met with 14th Judicial Circuit Solicitor Duffie Stone and Sheriff P.J. Tanner. Council members said more surveillance -- such as observation cameras -- was needed on the island. Stone and Tanner announced a legislative push to reform sentencing in South Carolina that would include abolishing early release and parole.

Robinson, who is accused of firing the fatal shot, had been released from prison early after several previous convictions, including a 13-year sentence in 2003 of which he served a little more than half.

Other major crime and court stories in southern Beaufort County this year include:

JUDGE WINS $6M FROM LAWSUIT

A jury awarded Hilton Head Island Municipal Court Judge Maureen Coffey more than $6 million in damages in June in a defamation suit against Sea Pines' security chief and its property owners association.

Coffey's lawsuit accused then security chief George Breed and the property owners association of harassing her and her family while authorities investigated a series of break-ins in 2004 and 2008. Coffey's adopted brother, Otis Coffey, was a suspect.

According to the verdict, Coffey proved "by clear and convincing evidence" that Breed and the association, Community Services Associates, made statements about her that were false or that they should have known were false.

OATES' BOND TERMS CHANGE

Tow-truck driver Preston Oates, who faces manslaughter charges from a fatal shooting on Christmas Eve 2010, was accused of setting up a fake dating profile for Sheriff P.J. Tanner and violating his bond in October.

An investigation also linked Oates to online comments that appeared to be from Tanner's wife, Capt. Angela McCall-Tanner of the Bluffton Police Department. Most of the online activity was traced to the residence where Oates was supposed to be confined under house arrest, but some of the postings were made from other locations, the Sheriff's Office said.

Oates could not be charged with a crime for the postings, but the Solicitor's Office used the investigation to try to revoke Oates' bond in November. That attempt failed. A Circuit Court judge ruled instead that Oates would have to wear an electronic-monitoring device and would be free to leave his home for work.

REALTOR ACCUSED OF POSSESSING STOLEN JEWELRY

A former Hilton Head Island real estate agent was charged in July with pawning jewelry stolen from homes for sale.

Savannah-Chatham police linked Darrell Finch to stolen jewelry sold in a Savannah pawn shop from a series of thefts on Hilton Head Island between April and late June. The Beaufort County Sheriff's Office also charged Finch after another piece of missing jewelry was allegedly found in his car.

Finch had worked as a real estate agent with Re/Max Island Realty until June, when his license was declared inactive. Real estate licenses he held in Georgia and Florida had previously been revoked after he was convicted of theft in those states.

IMMIGRATION SERVICE SHUTS DOWN

A disbarred attorney running an immigration service on Hilton Head Island was arrested after his clients complained they paid for assistance they never received.

Immigrant Angels abruptly shut down in September, triggering an investigation of owner Michael Wyman.

Wyman was charged with 10 counts of fraud for amounts between $75 and $2,000. His defense lawyer argues that Wyman didn't intend to swindle his clients, saying instead that his business failed before he could deliver.

In December, a judge tossed out four of the charges for lack of evidence. The Solicitor's Office continues to seek criminal charges and the Sheriff's Office is advising other former Immigrant Angels' clients to file a lawsuit.

Related content

  1. 8-year-old boy shot to death in Hilton Head Island crossfire, Sept. 1, 2012
  2. Solicitor, sheriff push sentencing reform, Sept. 29, 2012
  3. Sentencing, surveillance top agenda to stem Hilton Head violence, Oct. 29, 2012
  4. Hilton Head judge wins $6M in Sea Pines defamation lawsuit, June 6, 2012
  5. Oates suspected of violating bond, posing online as Beaufort County sheriff, wife, Oct. 10, 2012
  6. Oates placed on electronic monitoring, allowed to work, Nov. 26, 2012
  7. Stolen jewelry found in Hilton Head real estate agent's car, authorities say, July 17, 2012
  8. More reports of jewelry thefts from houses for sale emerge, July 24, 2012
  9. ICE investigating disbarred Hilton Head lawyer who offered immigration help, Sept. 20, 2012
  10. Disbarred Hilton Head lawyer charged with providing phony immigration services, Sept. 26, 2012