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Camden man sentenced for shooting at deputies

Mother charged with witness tampering

Posted: January 17, 2014 4:44 p.m.
Updated: January 20, 2014 5:00 a.m.

Sabrina Allen

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A circuit court judge sentenced a Camden man to 24 years in prison Thursday after a jury found the defendant guilty of firing shots at Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) deputies in December 2012. Not only is Ernest Maurice Allen, 26, looking at a long incarceration, but his mother, Sabrina Allen, 48, is charged with attempting to influence the key witness in her son’s trial.

According to Nicole Holland of the Fifth District Solicitor’s Office, Ernest Allen failed to appear in court in 2012 to face nine charges that could have landed him in jail for up to 30 years.

According to court documents obtained by the Chronicle-Independent in 2012, Allen had been arrested that May, charged with four counts each of distribution of crack cocaine (third offense) and distribution of crack cocaine within proximity of a school stemming from alleged activity in April 2012.

KCSO deputies located Allen on Dec. 20, 2012, when they initiated a traffic stop on Precipice Road east of Camden. Allen jumped out of the van, shot at four deputies and fled into some woods. With help from the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, KCSO deputies found and arrested him in Lee County’s Red Hill community near “Little Egypt.”

Allen’s trial began Tuesday, but a woman who was with him the night he fired at deputies did not show up for court, despite being subpoenaed as a witness. Holland said the woman went to the solicitor’s office later that day and said Sabrina Allen had taken her from the courthouse to a Lee County residence and offered her money to not testify.

The S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) investigated the allegation and obtained a warrant for Sabrina Allen’s arrest. The witness testified on Wednesday, helping secure Ernest Allen’s conviction, Holland said.

The jury found Allen guilty of two counts of attempted murder, one count of assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature, one count of possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent felony and one count of resisting arrest with a deadly weapon.  

Sabrina Allen is charged with violating South Carolina Code Section 8-13-705(C)(1), which says, “A person may not, directly or indirectly, give, offer, or promise to give anything of value to another person with intent to influence testimony under oath or affirmation in a trial or other proceeding before a court.”

Holland said Allen could face up to 10 years in prison. A bond hearing was held Friday morning. Circuit Court Judge James R. Barber III imposed a $60,000 surety bond. As of Friday afternoon, she had made bond and had been released from the Kershaw County Detention Center.

(Editor Martin L. Cahn contributed to this report.)



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