Criminal Defense Lawyer Discusses Ocean Blvd Shootings

Criminal defense lawyer in Myrtle Beach discusses the tragic events that occurred in the area over the holiday weekend. Each year, Atlantic Beach and its surrounding beaches host a BikeFest during Memorial Day weekend. Typically, the BikeFest doesn’t end with so many deaths and unanswered questions; this year is a different story.

Saturday Night, Ocean Boulevard in Myrtle Beach

Police in the area responded to a large fight that broke out on the street. Some who were involved in the fight fled the area and continued arguing. Back at the scene, one man had been shot and the authorities were trying to help him when more shots were fired at the Bermuda Sands Resort located nearby. Three people were killed in the second round of gunfire at the hotel and the gunman remains on the run.

Sunday Night, Wave Rider Resort in Myrtle Beach

The following evening in an unrelated event, two more people were shot at the Wave Rider hotel on South Ocean Boulevard. Around 10:30 that night, two people were shot inside one of the rooms at the hotel. Both victims were transported to the local hospital; their injuries were not fatal. The shooter in this incident also fled the area and police are still trying to locate the person.


While all this was happening, many onlookers took video of what they were witnessing. Some then posted their videos to social media accounts and on YouTube. Some of the videos have been useful to police in their attempt to identify and locate suspects in the shootings. One video they have obtained shows the street fight, then shows a man firing a gun and a bullet striking at least one person. One of the victims of one of the non-fatal shootings have surprisingly asked police to stop “harassing” him about the incident and said that he did not wish to talk to police about the shootings or their investigation.

Police in the area have asked that witnesses come forward with any information or video footage they have related to the shootings.

Future Implications

On Tuesday, many locals headed to the town’s council meeting to voice their complaints and fears about what happened during this year’s BikeFest. The mayor, John Rhodes, was surprised at the amount of violence and said that “this past weekend was the worst I’ve seen in Myrtle Beach and I’ve been here for 51 years.” Rhodes proposed that the city increase police presence during the bike weekends to help deal with the issue. He claimed that making the city safer during BikeFest would be an ongoing process. There are plans to add at least 30 new members to the police force, in addition to a meeting with South Carolina governor Nikki Haley on Friday to “discuss extra support available from the state.” The mayor also wants those who visit Myrtle Beach for vacation to know that “this is not what happens the rest of the year, so please don’t look at this as something as a habit that happens every week.”

In 2008, the Myrtle Beach City Council attempted to put an end to all bike rallies in the area due to complaints about the increased crime activity and noise. That year, the council also passed a helmet law along with additional reform ordinances in an effort to end the bike rallies, but it didn’t work. The South Carolina Supreme Court ended up overturning the helmet law two years later.

The Mace Firm has criminal defense lawyers licensed in South Carolina, and Florida that are experienced in both state and federal court. Our criminal defense attorneys are dedicated to their clients and make it a personal goal to provide their clients with the best defense possible.  We believe that is exactly what our clients deserve.  We keep our clients fully informed through every stage of the process.  If you need to speak with a criminal lawyer in Myrtle Beach, contact The Mace Firm for a free consultation at 1-800-94TRIAL.

Criminal Defense Lawyer on Schenecker Verdict

Criminal defense lawyer in Myrtle Beach discusses the case of mother turned murderer, Julie Schenecker. Julie met her husband, Parker, in Germany in the 80’s when she was working as a Russian linguist; both have military backgrounds. Parker and Julie were later married and were raising their two children, 16 year old Calyx and 13 year old Beau, in Tampa, Florida. They seemed like a normal family to their neighbors; however, Parker testified at this trial that Julie had begun to show signs of mental illness after their wedding. He also testified that his wife would mention suicide, but noted that she did not say she was planning on doing it.

Things started getting really rocky for the Schenecker family around the end of 2010 when Julie was involved in a minor car accident. She was under the influence of alcohol and Oxycontin when the accident occurred. That incident forced her into rehab; she also refused to allow her husband to speak with any doctors she would be working with at the facility. Julie went on to refuse the family counseling that her husband had also suggested to help get their family back on the right path.

The following year, 2011, is when Julie snapped again. On January 27, Julie sent an email to Parker stating that he needed to “get home soon” and that she and the kids were “waiting for” him. Parker was working out of the country at the time. When the email was written and sent, Julie knew that not everyone would be waiting on Parker when he got home. Julie knew this because, minutes earlier, she shot and killed the two teens. 13 year old Beau was shot in the family’s car as he and Julie were on their way to his soccer practice. 16 year old Calyx was shot while she sat at her computer doing school work. After Julie shot Calyx, she tried to manipulate the teen’s mouth into a smile. Julie then planned on turning the gun on herself, but she didn’t make it that far in her plan. She ended up passing out on the back porch until the next morning, January 28.

The morning of the 28th is when Julie’s mother called police because she was worried that she could not reach Julie or the children. Knowing the mental state Julie was in at that time, Julie’s mother wanted the police to drive by the home to check on everyone. When police arrived at the home, they found Julie on the back porch covered in blood and unresponsive. They woke her up and placed her under arrest; she had admitted to the officers that she killed the children because they “talked back and were mouthy.” Julie had shot the teens with a .38 revolver that she purchased five days prior to the incident. Less than a month later, Julie was indicted by the grand jury for first degree murder. Her husband, now ex-husband, was not supportive of Julie after the murders and filed for divorce.

Julie’s criminal defense lawyer entered a plea of not guilty for his client as he was planning to pursue an insanity defense in the trial. Prosecutors for the case eventually decided against the death penalty, as well. Her trial began this month in Tampa. During her trial, many facts were revealed about Julie and her mental stability. One of Julie’s doctor’s testified that he advised her to refrain from drinking alcohol while taking her medication for bipolar disorder. He also testified that, over the six months that he saw Julie, she became more and more depressed. Another doctor testified that, “despite the fact that she was experiencing severe mental illness, she did know that she was killing her children…and she did know that that was wrong.”

For the insanity defense to hold up, Julie’s criminal defense lawyer needed to prove to the jury that his client did not know right from wrong at the time the murders occurred. This proved to be a difficult task, as Julie had purchased the gun a short time before the murders. Julie also kept a journal which stated that she had planned to murder the children on a Saturday, but that plan didn’t pan out. After the murders, Julie wrote in her journal once again, detailing how she had “offed Beau” and that Calyx’s body was easier to move than Beau’s. Julie’s trial concluded with the jury reading a guilty verdict after less than two hours of deliberations. She was sentenced to two concurrent life sentences without the possibility of parole.

Criminal Defense Attorney on Cell Phone Searches


Advancing technology may eventually lead to a new legal framework regarding police searches of cell phone data. As of now, police contend that a cell phone should be treated like a wallet, meaning they can search the item without a warrant following an arrest. Others feel that cell phones should be treated more like a computer with expansive,  personal and intangible data. In today’s world, cell phones contain a vast amount of information. Most of that information is personal and private to the person using the device. For instance, home security applications have the ability to allow users to view their home security cameras from anywhere they have a connection. This could mean that anyone, at the touch of a button, could see your home and its surroundings. For those who have something to hide, viewing the cameras may result in some type of incriminating evidence to be revealed.

Cases and Oral Arguments

Riley v California

Riley is a known gang member who was found to have been involved in a shooting. Following the shooting of a rival gang member, Riley and others fled the scene. Several days later, Riley was stopped and searched by police. During the search, police located two guns used in the shooting. Police confirmed that those were the exact weapons used through ballistics testing. As a result of the stop and search, Riley was arrested. Police also seized his cell phone.

Following an investigation of the records, police found that Riley’s cell phone had been used near the location of the shooting around the time of the shooting, and was used about a half-hour later near where police found the getaway vehicle used in the shooting. The cell phone also contained photos of Riley making gang signs. Riley’s criminal defense attorney was unsuccessful in arguing that the evidence used to prosecute his client was obtained via an invasive and illegal search.

United States v Wurie

Wurie was arrested for distribution of crack cocaine in 2007. Prior to being booked at the police station, officers noticed that one of Wurie’s cell phones kept ringing. The incoming calls were from a number that was stored as “my house” in Wurie’s phone. Officers opened Wurie’s phone to view his call log. Upon opening the phone, they saw a photo that was saved as Wurie’s wallpaper. It was a picture of a woman holding a baby.

One of the officers proceeded to research the phone number labeled as “my house” and found an address that was near where Wurie was arrested. The officers suspected Wurie of being a drug dealer and that he may be hiding drugs at his residence. The officers went to the address associated with the “my house” phone number. Upon arriving at the apartment, officers witnessed a woman through the window who resembled the woman pictured on Wurie’s cell phone wallpaper. Then, officers obtained a warrant which resulted in the seizure of 215 grams of crack cocaine, four bags of marijuana, drug paraphernalia, a firearm with ammunition and $250 cash. Wurie was convicted and sentenced to over 20 years in prison.

In this case, an appeals court vacated the lower court’s decision, stating that the officers were not justified in looking through Wurie’s cell phone. One Judge wrote that cell phone searches may become “a convenient way for the police to obtain information related to a defendant’s crime of arrest – or other, as yet undiscovered crimes – without having to secure a warrant.”

Oral Arguments

One similarity in the above cases is that they both involved the seizure and use of cell phone evidence in an arrest. The cases were contentious enough to reach the Supreme Court due to the rapidly advancing technology related to cell phones. The decisions on the cases are expected early this summer.

The issue at hand surrounds how much weight technological changes are given when interpreting the Fourth Amendment’s proscription of unreasonable searches. In the US Constitution, the Fourth Amendment protects “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures” and provides that “no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

Closing Thoughts

Following the Court’s ruling, it is very possible that there will still be gray areas and unanswered questions surrounding the search of cell phone data following an arrest. However, the pending decision from the oral arguments held in the cases mentioned above should shine some light on the issue.

The Mace Firm has criminal defense lawyers licensed in South Carolina and Florida that are experienced in federal court. Our criminal defense attorneys are dedicated to their clients and make it a personal goal to provide their clients with the best defense possible.  We believe that is exactly what our clients deserve.  We keep our clients fully informed through every stage of the process.  If you need to speak with a criminal defense attorney, contact The Mace Firm for a free consultation at 1-800-94TRIAL.