Stinnette to face multiple charges
by Samantha Lynn | July 26, 2019 8:17 pm
According to reports:
For Immediate Release: July 26, 2019
Stephen Stinnette is facing multiple charges in addition to a pre-existing murder charge after he escaped from Sumter County Sheriff’s Office Detention Center on Thursday during what is thought to be a planned disturbance. Stinnette, 32, was reported missing from the facility after inmates were returned to their cells following a temporary evacuation after another inmate set fire to his own mattress at about 7 p.m. that evening. This inmate did not share a cell with Stinnette who escaped from the facility after he and other inmates became combative with detention officers and deputies. This incident was confined to that housing unit.
Two detention officers sustained minor injuries during the physical altercation but they are doing well. Stinnette was among the inmates who were moved to an interior recreational area during the cell evacuation but he made his way to an exterior recreational area during the physical altercation. He sustained minor injuries during his escape over a fence topped with barbed wire and razor wire.
Stinnette was located about one mile away from the detention center approximately nine hours after the initial events started. He has since been relocated to another facility.
Sumter County deputies, Sumter Police Department and State Law Enforcement Division agents searched the area around the detention center and set up a perimeter immediately after Stinnette was reported missing. The search was conducted by air with a SLED helicopter and on the ground with county and state K9 teams. Sumter County Sheriff Anthony Dennis credited law enforcement’s quick action in ensuring that Stinnette was not able to make it out of the perimeter. The sheriff’s office also collaborated with Sumter County Emergency Management to send out a reverse 911 call to residents within a five-mile radius of the detention center warning them of Stinnette’s escape. Hours before Stinnette was located, Dennis also requested the help of the U.S. Marshals Service to expand the search for the escapee.
“I was very concerned for the public with Stinnette at large because of his reported involvement in the senseless killing of Jerry Johnson in 2018,” Dennis said. Johnson’s body was found in Lake Marion in Orangeburg County in April 2018 after it had been buried at two other locations in Sumter County. He had been shot multiple times.
Stinnette is awaiting trial for that case and is one of five subjects charged in that investigation. After Thursday’s events, he is also charged with escape and likely faces other charges. Charges are also expected for subjects who assisted Stinnette in his escape and for those individuals who were combative inside the facility. Two other inmates were seen attempting to climb the fence but were stopped. Dennis said anyone who assisted in Stinnette’s escape will be charged and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. There are no details to release at this time regarding possible co- defendants in Thursday’s events. This investigation is ongoing. Command staff at the sheriff’s office and detention center are also assessing the situation and facility to bolster security efforts to prevent future incidents.