Since January of last year, more than two dozen inmates in South Carolina have had their sentences cut down by a judge. Three of these inmates were convicted of murder, according to figures from the South Carolina Department of Corrections.
The information was given to the governor’s office earlier this week and shared with The State Media Co. on Thursday. It was put together in response to the recent early release of convicted killer Jeriod Price by Circuit Court Judge Casey Manning.
Price, who is also known as Jeroid Price, was quietly let out of prison in the middle of March after having served 19 years of a 35-year sentence for murder. His release came after a hidden meeting between his defense lawyer, state Rep. Todd Rutherford, D-Richland, and 5th Circuit Solicitor Byron Gipson, which the South Carolina Supreme Court later threw out.
The high court told Price to go back to jail, but he hasn’t done it yet. He is now considered a fugitive because no one knows where he is. This week, the Richland County Sheriff’s Office and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division offered a $30,000 reward for information that leads to his arrest.
Price is One of at Least 27 South Carolina Prisoners
Price is one of at least 27 South Carolina prisoners whose sentences have been cut by a judge since 2022. He is also one of eight people whose sentences were cut and they were released from jail right away. This information comes from the SCDC.
Men who were charged with theft, drug and weapon possession, driving under the influence, drug trafficking, kidnapping, assault and battery, and murder also had their sentences cut down, which meant they could leave prison right away.
The tweet below confirms the news:
South Carolina inmate sentence reduction data, shared Thursday with The State Media Co., was compiled in response to the recent early release of convicted murderer Jeriod Price. https://t.co/HCcVI02yl8
— The State Newspaper (@thestate) May 11, 2023
A spokesman for Gov. Henry McMaster, Brandon Charochak, said in a statement Thursday that the report shows the need for tougher criminal penalties and confirms that the General Assembly needs to act today to stop violent offenders from going back and forth between prison and the streets and to crack down on career criminals and illegal guns.
Nicholas Geer is the only other murderer whose term was recently cut, and he was freed right away. Geer was found guilty of murder in 1995 in Anderson County and given a life sentence. Judge Letitia Verdin let him go last September after he had been in jail for 27 years.
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Geer was 17 when he did the crime, which was caused by a “bad drug deal,” according to the order that let him out early. If the crime had happened today, it probably wouldn’t have been charged as murder.
According to SCDC records, Manning signed the order that set Price free on December 30, 2022. That month, which was his last before he left the bench, he also shortened the sentences of six other people.
In 2022, Manning approved a total of eight shorter sentences. The SCDC says that no other judge has signed off on more than 3.
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