By David in TN and Nicholas Stix
According to an attorney representing one of the six juvenile black defendants charged in the racist, 8-on-1, June 20 mob attack on Carter Strange in Columbia, S.C.’s Five Points district, the attackers were “just having fun” that night. Most of the attorneys representing the juveniles maintain that they cannot be convicted of conspiracy, in spite of surveillance video showing their three previous attempts that night at assaulting and robbing pedestrians, and the attack on Strange. Two defendants, 19 and 16, are presently being tried as adults, and prosecutors also seek to try two of the juveniles as adults.
One of the attorneys for a defendant in the Carter Strange beating said in court that the suspects were “just having fun.” Carter Strange’s mother, Vicky, told WLTX reporter Nate Stewart, “Well, if that is what they consider fun, then we have a huge problem.”
The defense attorney for one of the defendants asked for his client’s release, arguing that the attackers “were no longer a threat to society, and should be released to their parents’ care.” He did not explain what change might have occurred, that transformed his client from a mortal threat to society, to no threat.
The victim’s mother argued that the defendants are all threats to her family.
Two defendants, Tyheem Henrey, 19, and Yahquann Gant, 16, are already being tried as adults. Family Court Judge Gwen Smalls kept all but one 13-year-old in custody, releasing the latter to his parents under terms of house arrest.
Carter Strange's mother, Vicki, during a June 24 bond hearing.
According to WLTX’ Nate Stewart, two other teenagers, 14 and 15 years old, respectively, presently being tried in Family Court may be tried as adults.
Noelle Phillips of The State newspaper reports that surveillance video shows the making three unsuccessful attempts to attack people, prior to catching Strange from behind: One single man, another man, and two women walking together. In each case, the victim(s) manages to elude the would-be attackers.
Several defendants’ defense attorneys are not even disputing that their clients committed the attack on Strange, but rather are disputing the charge of “conspiracy.” Writes Phillips,
However, many of the teens’ defense attorneys told the judge that none of those people who were potential victims called police that night to report the teens, and no one has come forward since the case has become public.
Prosecutors eventually will have to prove there was a plan or agreement to commit the crime to prove the conspiracy charges, said Nicole Singletary, defense attorney for one of the 16-year-olds.
Carter Strange's parents, Vicki and John, after the June 24 bond hearing.
Police and prosecutors know that the gang was conspiring to attack and rob people, because video surveillance shows them doing just that, again and again and again, for a total of four times, including the attack on Carter Strange. That their other intended victims didn’t call the police is irrelevant. What would the police have done?
Well, did they harm you, sir?
Did they take or damage any of your property?
Then there’s nothing the police can do for you, sir. Have a nice evening.
The defense attorneys are suggesting that the fact that the mob’s other four intended victims didn’t contact the police is exculpatory; as I see it, the video of them repeatedly attempting to attack and rob people seals the case for conspiracy.
Conversely, the defense attorneys are suggesting that only a signed contract or tape recording of the eight formally agreeing to rob and attack people that night would suffice to convict them of conspiracy.
Well, that’s no worse than Casey Anthony's defense.