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.

Cops Involved in Massive Insurance Fraud Scheme

According to the indictment, taxpayers were swindled out of millions of dollars.  Many of those charged claimed to be suffering from mental illnesses due to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.  The indictment was based on a two-year investigation by federal and state authorities.  An official in charge of determining eligibility for Social Security disability, Thomas Hale, has also been charged for aiding in the fraud.

In fraud cases, a major sentencing factor is the amount of loss involved.  Some of the individuals may be charged in conspiracies and held responsible for the losses in their case as well as the losses in their co-defendants’ cases.  The United States Sentencing Guidelines is extremely important in determining an individual’s exposure at sentencing.  The Guidelines is a lengthy document and can be difficult to understand.  It is used in order to prepare your presentence investigation report.  This report includes an individual’s charges, the offense conduct, criminal history, any applicable enhancements for the charged offense(s) and a suggested sentencing range (obtained from the Guidelines).  The report is supplied to the judge at sentencing after objections are made and the judge usually relies on it heavily when sentencing a defendant.  Given the importance of the Guidelines in the sentencing phase, an individual charged in a fraud case should be sure to retain counsel that is readily familiar with the Guidelines.

We have attorneys licensed in South Carolina, Georgia and Florida that are very experienced in the federal arena.  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 federal fraud defense attorney, contact The Mace Firm for a free consultation at 1-800-948-7425.

Ross Ulbricht Indicted in Silk Road Conspiracy

According to Wired, Ross Ulbricht has been identified by the FBI as the mastermind behind Silk Road.  Allegedly, Ulbricht was the owner and manager of Silk Road, an anonymous marketplace for narcotics sales and distribution, forged IDs, and murder-for-hire contracts worldwide.  There is no indication that he has hired a criminal defense lawyer at this time.  Reportedly, Silk Road has had over $1.2 billion in sales since its creation 2 1/2 years ago.  Silk Road obtained $80 million in commissions for its service.  Payments were made with a currency known as “Bitcoin,” a cryptocurrency that can be transferred electronically without the use of a financial institution.  Because Bitcoin was difficult to trace and not subject to any government regulation, Silk Road was able to thrive for 2 1/2 years.

The criminal complaint stated as follows:

Silk Road has emerged as the most sophisticated and extensive criminal marketplace on the Internet today.  The site has sought to make conducting illegal transactions on the Internet as easy and frictionless as shopping online at mainstream e-commerce websites.

There are also allegations that Ulbricht solicited the murder of a Silk Road vendor who threatened to reveal site users if Ulbricht did not pay him $500,000.  The FBI claims that Ulbricht went by the name of Dread Pirate Roberts after a character from the film The Princess Bride.  Ulbricht’s family and friends were interviewed and there is no indication that any of them knew that Ulbricht could potentially be involved in the Silk Road market.

His defense attorney will need to be knowledgeable about several aspects of criminal defense, including computer networking and how that comes into play in the narcotics conspiracy.  The discovery in this case will have to be closely evaluated to determine how exactly Ulbricht is linked to the Silk Road narcotics market and the overall conspiracy.

Our federal criminal defense attorney is experienced and licensed in several states, including South Carolina, Florida, and Georgia.  If you are been investigated or have been charged with a federal crime in any of these jurisdictions, contact our office toll free at 1-800-94-TRIAL.

Comments on Pro Se Motions

Our leading South Carolina criminal defense attorney, Russell W. Mace III, was cited in the Sun News for his insight on pro se motions.  Kachef Spain pled guilty to being a felon in possession of a handgun.  Because of his prior record, Spain received five additional years under the Armed Career Criminal Act.  Under the Act, if a defendant has three violent felonies or serious drug offenses, he or she could potentially receive an enhanced sentence.

In a pro se motion to the district court, Spain argued that two of his previous felonies should only have counted as one given that they were part of the same crime.  Judge Bryan Harwell ordered Spain to resubmit his pro se motion as it was improperly filed.  Mr. Mace stated that Spain’s argument could potentially have merit if the two felonies were, in fact, part of the same criminal act.  On the other hand, Mr. Mace said that Spain could still be given an enhanced sentence if he has other felonies that qualify under the Act.

This situation shows the importance of hiring a good criminal defense lawyer.  The procedures involved with the judicial process can be difficult to understand.  There are a lot of rules and technicalities that must be followed before a court will even accept a motion.  Spain’s motion was dismissed because he did not follow proper procedure.  It would be best for him to consult with a South Carolina criminal defense attorney to determine whether his motion has merit and whether he has any other potential arguments to be made before the court.  It is unclear whether Spain has already exhausted his right to appeal or whether he waived it during his guilty plea.  In any event, it would be best for any defendant, whether charged or convicted of a crime, to consult with a criminal defense attorney to ensure all of their arguments are made before the court and preserved.

If you or loved one has been charged with a crime, contact our office for a free consultation at 1-800-94-TRIAL or contact us online.  We have criminal defense attorneys licensed in South Carolina, Florida and Georgia.

The Appellate Process and South Carolina Appellate Attorneys: Facts

In South Carolina, in order to appeal a conviction and sentence in the Circuit Court, your criminal appellate attorney must first file a notice of appeal within ten days of the judgement.  Once the notice has been filed, the transcripts from the trial and any important pretrial hearing should be ordered from the court reporter.  Your South Carolina appellate attorney then informs the South Carolina Court of Appeals that the transcripts have been received and a briefing order is issued by the court.

When reviewing the issues to be raised on appeal, it is important to determine if the issue was preserved in the trial court.  In order for an issue to be preserved, counsel must have made an objection when the issue is raised at trial.  In other words, the issue must have been brought to the trial judge’s attention.  If the issue is not preserved, the appellate court reviews the matter using the standard of review of plain error.  The court must decide to recognize the error under these circumstances and only does so when the error is evident and clearly prejudicial and effected the outcome of the case.

It is best to raise issues that have been preserved in the trial court when preparing an appeal.  Once the initial brief is filed, the State has the opportunity to file an answer brief.  When the answer brief is filed, the appellant may decide to file a reply brief to address the arguments made in the state’s answer brief.  The final briefs are then filed and the appellant must wait for the court to render a decision.

The court may decide to hear oral arguments if they have questions about the briefs that were filed or want to hear more arguments on a particular issue.  If oral arguments are granted, your South Carolina appellate lawyer then appears before a panel of three judges and engages in a question and answer session with the appellate judges.  The court usually issues an opinion thirty to sixty days after oral arguments are heard.

Once the decision is rendered, either side may petition the South Carolina Supreme Court.  This document is called a Writ of Certiorari, in which an appellate attorney in South Carolina requests the South Carolina Supreme Court to hear the case.  It is important to note that if an individual wins an appeal in the Court of Appeals and the State decides to petition the South Carolina Supreme Court by filing a Writ of Certiorari, the appellant will not be transferred back to the circuit court until the court makes a ruling on that petition.  However, an appellate attorney can file a motion for bond pending an appeal.

If the court reverses an appellant’s conviction, the case is generally remanded back to the Circuit Court for a new trial.  In some cases, the appellant’s conviction is unchanged, but the sentence is over turned.  In those instances, the appellant goes back to the Circuit Court in order to be re-sentenced by the trial court with instructions by the Court of Appeals.  If you have questions about the appellate process in South Carolina, please contact The Mace Firm.

Three Charged with Tax Fraud in Horry County

Tyrona Bellamy from Longs and Derrrick Burgess from Myrtle Beach have both been arrested for tax fraud violations. These charges stem from allegations that false tax returns were filed in order to get refunds from the government. This is not an uncommon type of indictment in these times. Usually the defendants arrested are just the tip of the iceberg for prosecutors. The real defendants that will be investigated are the individuals who set up the fake returns and took a percentage of the money on the back end of the transactions. These defendants are lucky in that it appears that they are only charged at the state level. This means that they are all likely to either get probation or some type of non-jail sentence if they plead guilty or they are found guilty. Unlike state court, federal indictments usually carry a jail sentence if convicted. This type of tax fraud is easily uncovered just by looking at the documents filed by the defendants. There is no massive paper trial that would require and FBI agent or IRS investigator to spends days trying to put together. This is simply a plain theft on paper. That also makes the case very easy to prosecute. A good criminal defense attorney in Myrtle Beach should be able to get the charges dismissed at some point depending on the prior record of a specific defendant. The call to indict and try a tax fraud case is not at a high point in this current economic state. The other factors that must be considered is whether there is enough loss of revenue for the government to spend money trying the case to verdict.

Many times the government will agree to a less charge in order to resolve the case short of trial. Many criminal defense lawyers in federal court can handle any type of tax fraud case. Our Myrtle Beach criminal lawyers are very capable in the representation of individuals and companies related to tax issues.

Shots Fired at Myrtle Beach Nightclub

According to the Myrtle Beach police, two groups of people were arguing inside Kono Lounge, and security escorted the groups outside. However, they continued to argue in the parking lot and witnesses reported hearing shots fired in the parking lot. No one was hurt and no one saw the shooter, however, shell casing were found in the parking lot.

Altercations often occur at nightclubs, and may result in injury. In this case, if the shooter had injured someone, he could have been charged with attempted murder, assault and battery with intent to kill, possession of a firearm, and assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature. Even though nobody was hurt in this case, the shooter could also have been charged with pointing and presenting a firearm, discharging a firearm in public and disorderly conduct. It would be important to contact a criminal lawyer in Myrtle Beach, as these charges are serious.

The shooter may also be sued in a civil action as well for battery, assault or intentional infliction of emotional distress. The bar may also be liable for negligent security. The bar may also incur liability of it can be proven by a personal injury lawyer in Myrtle Beach that the bar was aware the shooter was drunk an continued to serve him alcohol.

In order to prove battery, a personal injury attorney in Myrtle Beach would have to prove that a harmful or offensive touching occurred. Unlike assault, actual contact must be shown to prove battery. Assault is the causing of reasonable apprehension of an immediate harm or offense contact to the person of another. For assault, a person needs to show intent and the resulting apprehension.

Under these facts, a Myrtle Beach personal injury lawyer in South Carolina may prove negligent security by showing that the owner of the premises (the bar) could foresee the possibility of an attack occurring on the property. Negligent security can also be shown by showing that there was a failure to properly protect guests on the property, and is a common action against hotels, apartments, condos and amusement parks.

If you have questions about assault, battery or negligent security, contact the the Mace Firm, we have attorneys in Myrtle Beach who practice criminal law and personal injury.

Horry County Man Charged with Ponzi Scheme

It has been reported that Archie Larue Evans has been indicted in the Florence Division of the District of South Carolina.  Federal prosecutors have alleged that he stole approximately $2.5 million dollars from members of a Baptist Church.  His arraignment is scheduled for August 15, 2012.

Prosecutors claim that he convinced members of the church to invest in his company and promised investment payments between 10% and 12%, however, the money was allegedly spent by Evans.  He faces charges of mail fraud, conspiracy, and money laundering.

If he decides to plead guilty or is found guilty by a jury, the amount of loss attributed to him will be crucial for his sentencing hearing.  The United States Sentencing Guidelines state that a defendant is subjected to a higher sentence the higher the amount of loss. These guideline calculations are critical to every person indicted in federal court.  They provide a basis to understand what possible penalties are involved with a particular crime.  Knowing what a person is facing is critical to proper representation in federal court. When a person is convicted of a ponzi scheme, the amount of victims is also important, and could lead to increased penalties.  Additionally, if the court finds that the defendant abused how position of trust or that the scheme involved vulnerable victims, his sentence could be increased by the district court.  Lastly, if other individuals were involved in the scheme, he may receive an enhancement for his role in the offense if the district courts finds that he managed or directed others in the scheme.

Evans will need to hire an experienced Federal Criminal lawyer to handle his case, one that is familiar with the sentencing guidelines and the possible enhancements he could face at his sentencing if he decides to plead guilty to the charges.

If he goes to trial and looses or decides to appeal his sentence, he will need to hire a federal appellate lawyer in South Carolina.  His possible appellate issues would include any enhancements he received at his sentencing proceeding.  It will be important for his federal criminal defense attorney to preserve all issues at the trial level for any potential appeal.  If the issues are not preserved, they are waived and can not be appealed by an appellate lawyer in South Carolina.