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Crime Report - Sept. 25, 2013

Owens to serve 25 years for molesting stepdaughters

Posted: September 24, 2013 7:49 p.m.
Updated: September 25, 2013 1:00 a.m.


A Lee County man will serve 25 years after a Kershaw County jury found him guilty of molesting his stepdaughters.

Circuit Court Judge R. Ferrell Cothran sentenced James Walter Owens, 39, after a jury found Owens guilty of one count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor, two counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor and two counts of committing lewd acts.

Cothran sentenced Owens to 25 years on the first-degree criminal sexual conduct charge, 18 years each on both second-degree criminal sexual conduct charges and 10 years each on both lewd act charges. All the sentences are running concurrently with each other, according to a press release from the 5th Circuit Solicitor’s Office.

According to a June 12, 2012, Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) report, Owens’ charges stem from incidents involving his then 12-, 14- and 15-year-old stepdaughters. The report stated that Owens had been molesting the oldest girl for about four years. Her two younger sisters said Owen had just recently begun assaulting them.

At the time of Owens’ arrest, Kershaw County Sheriff Jim Matthews said crimes like these are “common and often unreported.”

Owens trial began Sept. 16 and lasted one week. According to its press release, the solicitor’s office presented 16 witnesses. The jury deliberated for approximately three and a half hours before finding Owens guilty on all five charges.

 The KCSO reported the following incidents during the period of Sept. 16-22:

Someone tried to rob an Elgin woman in her home at gunpoint. The victim said she heard a noise on her front porch, so she went to turn on a light and opened the door, but didn’t see anything. The woman heard the noise again, opened the door and an unknown subject grabbed her by the throat and pushed her into the home with a gun pointed at her head. The woman said the subject asked for money and pills and said he would kill her if she didn’t tell him where they were. The woman told deputies that the subject fondled her before making her get on her knees, “execution style.” The woman was then told to lie on the floor, when a second subject emptied her wallet and removed a flat screen TV from her home. The subjects threatened the woman to not tell the police, or the subjects would come back and kill her.

An Elgin man suffered injuries from being stabbed during a fight with another man over a woman. The victim reportedly went to the woman’s house and professed his love for her, but the woman asked him to leave. He and the woman got into an argument when another man the woman was with tried to break it up. The Elgin man allegedly punched the other man in the face, hit him with a damaged baseball bat and pulled out a box cutter. The woman’s friend, however, got hold of the box cutter and injured the Elgin man, who was flown to KershawHealth for treatment. Deputies did not locate the other man when they arrived on the scene.

For the second time in two years, deputies found a 66-year-old Lugoff man growing multiple marijuana plants in his Ridgeway Road home. In 2012, KCSO narcotics agents executed a search warrant at the home and recovered numerous plants and harvested marijuana. This time, deputies noticed marijuana plants through a window while driving by the house. Deputies knocked on the door, explained why they were there and the man consented to having his home searched. They located about 56 grams of harvested marijuana, six marijuana plants, two grow lights and a valise, and arrested the man.

A man traveling on Thorn Way and Thorton Drive in Elgin off Cherokee Boulevard said he was carjacked. The man said a white male subject wearing a blue Duke University hat, white T-shirt and blue jeans walked in front of his truck, approached the driver’s side window and asked for a cigarette. When the driver attempted to retrieve a cigarette, the subject allegedly pulled out a knife and tried to cut the driver’s neck. The man drove off and told his uncle what happened. Responding deputies photographed several men walking in the area, but the man said none of them matched the subject.

Deputies arrested a man after pulling him over at U.S. 1 and McRae Road in east Camden due to a cracked taillight -- and because someone had reported seeing him shooting out the window near Camden City Hall earlier that evening. Deputies reported the man was “shaking” and “looked nervous.” The man admitted there was a handgun in the car. Deputies arrested him and transported him to the Kershaw County Detention Center.

A woman reported waking up to find her child’s father standing over her bed. He reportedly told her that he got into the house using a door that wouldn’t lock, and that he was going to break her neck for not letting him see their children. Deputies, who found him to be intoxicated, arrested the man, charging him with criminal domestic violence and an ABC violation.

A Kershaw County middle school student accused another student of inappropriately touching her.

Someone stole approximately $24,500 in jewelry from a home on Cheraw Road, Cassatt.

Someone broke into a home on Wildwood Lane, Lugoff. Nothing was reported missing.

Someone stole a gun from a residence on Swampy Creek Road, Cassatt.

County deputies also assisted other agencies, served bench warrants and dealt with six simple possessions of marijuana; four public disorderly conducts and harassments; three thefts from buildings, DUI, liquor law violations and driving under suspensions; and one stolen electronic device, ATM/credit card fraud, missing person, runaway and no driver’s license.


A woman reported to Camden Police Department (CPD) officers that her boyfriend hit her daughter on the head with a stick.

Emergency personnel transported the daughter to a Columbia hospital because she was moving in and out of consciousness. The woman told police that her daughter’s boyfriend and her boyfriend got into an argument when her boyfriend picked up a stick. The daughter tried to get in-between the two men and was struck with the stick.

The CPD reported the following other incidents during the period of Sept. 16-22:

A woman reported that a man who was fired from a Camden business for sexually harassing her has still been contacting her via telephone and text message.

Someone stole $635 from a business on Rutledge Street, Camden. The victim said the subject got in through a door that wouldn’t shut completely.

Someone stole four guns from a vehicle parked in a gated area on West DeKalb Street, Camden.

Someone stole a 100-pound statue from a home on Campbell Street.

A  Camden man allegedly forged his housemate’s $400 check.

A 6-year-old girl threatened to stab and kill her teacher.

Camden officers also assisted other agencies, served bench warrants and dealt with three shopliftings; two vandalisms; one trespassing, communicating threats, breach of peace, breach of trust and criminal domestic violence.

  Incident reports are provided by the Camden Police Department and Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office and are a matter of public record under the S.C. Freedom of Information Act. If the C-I makes a mistake, it will correct it upon verification with the appropriate law enforcement agency. Readers are cautioned that other individuals may have similar or identical names as those contained in incident reports. All subjects are presumed innocent until proven guilty.



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