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Man pleads to voluntary manslaughter in 2014 death
Robert Simon Web
Robert Wendell Simon - photo by Provided by the Kershaw County Detention Center

A man accused in the death of a Camden man four years ago is now behind bars, awaiting sentencing.

Around 5:35 a.m. on March 22, 2014, a Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) deputy came up on the scene of what appeared to be a single-car accident on Black River Road. The deputy found 25-year-old Antwan Dixon, of Black River Road, Camden, unconscious behind the wheel of the burning 1999 Ford Taurus and pulled him out. He then called for EMS; Dixon was ultimately flown to Palmetto Health Richland in Columbia.

Doctors there discovered Dixon was suffering from a single bullet wound to the head. He died later that day at around 7:30 p.m.

From the beginning, KCSO investigators said they wanted to talk to then 22-year-old Robert Wendell Simon of Dalzell. At first, investigators only referred to Simon as someone they wanted to talk to -- he was not yet a suspect and no warrants were issued for his arrest.

At the time, Sheriff Jim Matthews said investigators found a bullet hole in the driver’s door of Dixon’s car and as well as broken side glass.

Nearly a week and a half later, on April 1, 2014, Simon turned himself at KCSO headquarters, accompanied by his father. A deal had been made that, if Simon did that, investigators would not question him. Instead of speaking with him, they simply served him with a warrant for murder.

Matthews said Dixon and Simon had been involved in some type of disagreement prior to the shooting, but declined to elaborate.

About a week later, on April 7, 2014, Simon appeared in court. Circuit Court Judge R. Ferell Cothran Jr. decided Simon would remain in jail; Cothran said he would make a decision on a bond at a later date. The 5th Circuit Solicitor’s Office argued for bail to be denied because it took 10 days for Simon to turn himself in to deputies. Simon’s attorney, however, argued all the evidence against his client was circumstantial -- that there were no eye witnesses and no connection to a murder weapon.

According to a copy of the KCSO’s arrest warrant for Simon, investigators alleged Simon fired several .40 caliber rounds into Dixon’s car, one of which struck him in the head. They alleged the shooting was the result of some kind of domestic disturbance.

“Evidence at the scene suggests (Dixon) was attempting to flee the area in his vehicle while (Simon) was firing upon it,” investigators wrote in the warrant. The shooting took place at or near the intersection of Black River Road and Pathfinder Trail.

On April 16, 2014 -- nine days after the court hearing -- a different judge, DeAndra G. Benjamin, set Simon’s bail at $65,000, which was covered by a bonding company the same day. An attempt by prosecutors to revoke his bond failed in February 2015.

On Monday, nearly four and a half years later, Simon, now 26, appeared in court again and pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of voluntary manslaughter, often just referred to as manslaughter. Judge L. Casey Manning accepted the plea, but deferred on passing sentence, possibly until his next term of court, which according to the S.C. Department of Justice, may not be until the week of Oct. 22.

According to the South Carolina Code of Laws, manslaughter carries a penalty of between two and 30 years in prison.

Other cases

According to online court records:

• The 5th Circuit Solicitors Office dropped all charges against Myles James Dunne, 38, of Wateree Avenue, filed against him by the KCSO and Camden Police Department in mid-April. Officials charged him with reckless driving, leaving the scene of an accident and failing to stop for blue lights after he allegedly drove his car on a portion of a practice track at Springdale Race Course, struck another vehicle and tried to flee from county deputies. The solicitor’s office dropped the charges on June 21. Dunne, however, now faces a pending charge of possession of a controlled substance stemming from a July 28 arrest. That case is still pending.

• Earlier this month, one of two men accused of trafficking methamphetamine and burglary successfully petitioned for his case to be moved from circuit court to drug court. Deputies responded to an Old Stagecoach Road address on May 21 to follow up on a reported shooting and burglary call from earlier that morning. Upon arriving, deputies encountered Andrew William McManus, 29, of Camden, and an alleged accomplice, Andrew Lee Tuten, 30, of Lugoff. Deputies charged both men with trafficking in meth and also charged McManus with third-degree burglary. Approval to move McManus’ case to drug court came on Aug. 6. About a week later, on Aug. 13, the solicitor’s office dropped the trafficking charge against Tuten.

• A man arrested May 29 for allegedly breaking into a Whiting Way, Elgin, residence and assaulting an 11-year-old boy is back in jail after the company that put up his bond filed a motion be taken off the bond. That led to Nathaniel Brady Roberts being remanded back to jail on Aug. 17 to be held on the $10,000 bond a judge had originally set on May 30 for the burglary charge. Meanwhile, a magistrate’s court hearing on Roberts’ third-degree assault and battery charge has been rescheduled for Sept. 10 after originally being scheduled for July 2.