EFFINGHAM, S.C. — Former Florence County Sheriff Kenney Boone, 54, had a $10,000 bond — $5,000 on each charge — set Tuesday on charges of second-degree criminal domestic violence, ill treatment of animals in general, torture, and a probation violation.
Boone bonded out Tuesday afternoon.
Boone was arrested Monday night by South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division agents and Florence County sheriff’s deputies following an incident at his Vintage Place Subdivision residence. He was booked into the W. Glenn Campbell Detention Center in Darlington County at 7:30 p.m. Monday.
Boone, shackled at his waist, appeared shortly before noon in the courtroom of Florence County Magistrate Belinda Timmons in the custody of two SLED agents. His wife, Anna Boone, was in attendance with a SLED victim’s advocate by her side.
Timmons prefaced the hearing with an explanation of the charges Boone faced and said he had the presumption of innocence.
According to warrants issued by SLED, Boone is alleged to have, in the presence of his wife, hit a cat with a baseball bat inflicting unnecessary pain or suffering on the animal.
On the same date, according to a second warrant, “while brandishing a baseball bat, he offered to cause physical harm or injury to his wife in the presence of or while being perceived by minor child, thereby creating reasonable fear of imminent danger.”
Second-degree criminal domestic violence is a misdemeanor that carries a sentence of up to three years in prison while ill treatment of animals in general, torture, is a felony that carries a sentence of up to five years in prison, Timmons said.
Timmons said that the unemployed former sheriff qualified for a state public defender.
“I cannot deny bond, I cannot put excessive bond. This is not a charge where bond can be denied,” Timmons said. She also explained that she was limited in what conditions she could place upon any bond she set.
Anna Boone and SLED both requested that Boone be subject to GPS monitoring, a stipulation that one of the SLED agents spoke out in favor of.
“He is a danger to himself and others,” the agent told Timmons.
SLED victim’s advocate Tina Carter read a statement from the 14-year-old female victim.
“Kenney was once my hero but last night he terrified me for my mom’s life. I no longer recognize the man who sang and danced in my kitchen. Yesterday you gave me no choice but to take action,” Carter read from the statement. “I never wanted to hurt you but I will always protect my mom and siblings. I no longer wish for you to be a part of my life. I do truly hope you will get the medical help in rehab you desperately need.”
“We would not be here today if I had not exhausted all efforts and been pushed to a point where I was afraid,” Anna Boone told Timmons.
“I attempted to defuse the situation, then he returned home with a bat. I was afraid and he made no sense. This is not my husband. My husband was my protector and a person who loved me beyond his own life. He’s different and I can’t protect myself when he’s different,” Anna Boone continued. “I just want him to get help. I don’t think he needs to continue to be punished and pushed down because that’s how we got here. I just want him to get help and be himself again.”
“Because there is a fear of retribution on the family and the child if there is a bond we ask that it be a high surety bond that he not be allowed to have any contact, directly or indirectly, with any victim,” Carter told the judge.
“Your honor, whatever the court decides I will do. I am no harm to this family, never have been and never will be,” Boone told Timmons during his bond hearing.
“I’ve had to wear the GPS monitor because of an affidavit that was written and retracted because it never happened,” Boone said.
The former sheriff told the judge that he would have no contact with his family and that since he had been in law enforcement for 35 years he was no threat to the community.
Boone’s arrest came less than four weeks after he pleaded guilty to embezzlement and misconduct charges and was sentenced to five years on probation.
On Jan. 8, Boone pleaded guilty to charges of embezzlement of less than $17,000 and misconduct in office before Judge William A. McKinnon in Sumter.
The sentence was suspended by McKinnon to five years’ probation with the possibility of removal of probation after 18 months if Boone pays back the money he owes.
McKinnon ordered mandatory substance abuse screening and mental health counseling. Boone also got credit for one day served in jail.
Timmons told family members that she lacked the power to order Kenney Boone to be held without bond or to be held as he went through substance abuse treatment.
Timmons adjourned the hearing for about 25 minutes.
When Timmons reconvened the hearing, Anna Boone told the judge that the family couldn’t afford the electronic monitoring for the GPS device.
Pete O’Boyle, public information officer for the South Carolina Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services said his agency would conduct its own investigation into the incident to determine whether or not Boone violated the terms of his probation.
O’Boyle said that an agent could take the findings of that investigation before a judge who could then find that Boone had violated the terms of his probation and take action as light as admonishing him to imposing part or all of his original sentence.
GPS monitoring, O’Boyle said, would typically require action on the part of a judge.
Were Boone to be convicted on his latest charge then that would qualify as a violation of parole, O’Boyle said.
At the end of Tuesday’s hearing Boone signed a statement that indicated he understood the bond stipulation of no contact with the victim.
Boone’s next scheduled court appearance will be March 5, when he can request a preliminary hearing if he wants. If he doesn’t the case will be bound over to the grand jury.
After that he will have a docket appearance May 1 at 9 a.m.
Both of those appearances will take place in a courtroom at the county’s judicial center in Florence.
“This has not been an easy day for anybody and all I can say is I’m sorry for the family. This has not been easy,” Timmons said as she adjourned the hearing.