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Man accused in Rabon killing waives bond

Posted: March 4, 2014 4:20 p.m.
Updated: March 5, 2014 5:00 a.m.

Stephen Ross Kelly, 21, charged with kidnapping, sexually assaulting and strangling 18-year-old Briana Nicole Rabon to death will apparently remain in jail until his trial. Monday, Kelly waived his right to a bond hearing. Also, attorney Bob Mobley Cook of Kershaw, confirmed he is representing Kelly in the case.

According to online court records, Cook acted as Kelly’s attorney in July 2013 when Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) investigators arrested Kelly for allegedly stealing a pick-up truck and leaving it at approximately the same spot where several teenagers found Rabon’s body.

During a press conference Saturday morning, Sheriff Jim Matthews said that the stolen truck case indicates Kelly’s prior knowledge of the area.

Rabon pleaded guilty in November to charges of receiving stolen property with a value of $10,000 or more. A circuit court judge sentenced him to five years in prison, but suspended the sentence upon the 133 days he had already spent in jail, three years’ probation and $1,000 in restitution.

KCSO investigators arrested Kelly on Friday night after investigators found evidence Sheriff Jim Matthews said tied him to Rabon’s murder. The teenagers found Rabon’s body on the afternoon of Feb. 26 in a secluded area north of Haigs Creek subdivision, which is located south of Elgin near I-20.

During a press conference Saturday morning, Matthews said his team of investigators, along with the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division worked feverishly from the time Rabon’s body was discovered until Kelly’s arrest and were still gathering evidence in the case. He said Kelly voluntarily went to the sheriff’s office for an interview Friday, but kept changing his story as to where he was Tuesday night, when it is thought Rabon died. Matthews said investigators found evidence tying Kelly to the murder in both his and Rabon’s cars, and arrested him. On the day her body was discovered, investigators located Rabon’s car at a restaurant at the Lugoff I-20/U.S. 601 interchange. Matthew said surveillance footage and other evidence determined Kelly and Rabon met in the restaurant’s parking lot.

What exactly happened after that remains a mystery for now.

According to online court records, deputies also arrested Kelly in June 2013 for malicious injury to personal property between $2,000 and $10,000 in value and for a first offense of criminal domestic violence. The malicious injury charge was dismissed. Kelly asked for a jury trial on the criminal domestic violence charge, which is still pending. A magistrate released him at that time on $5,000 bond.

A further search of online court records also revealed a first-offense marijuana charge in Darlington County from March 2012. A Hartsville magistrate later found him guilty at a bench trial, fining him $620. Richland County deputies charged Kelly with speeding between 10 and 15 miles per hour over the speed limit in January 2013. Kelly appears to have paid a $133 fine in that case.

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


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