Latest South Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. EDT

June 21, 2018 - 12:00 am

TRUMP-SOUTH CAROLINA

Trump stresses support for SC governor

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is stressing his support for South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, who is competing in a runoff election for the GOP gubernatorial nomination.

Trump, who will appear in Columbia Monday for McMaster, tweets Thursday: "Henry worked so hard & was so loyal to me that I look forward to reciprocating!" He added the "State is BOOMING."

Trump visits a day before voters decide between McMaster and businessman John Warren in a runoff. McMaster was the top vote-getter in a June 12 primary but fell short of the 50 percent needed to win the nomination outright.

Trump previously endorsed McMaster, who as lieutenant governor was the nation's first statewide elected official to back Trump in early 2016. McMaster became governor when Trump selected Nikki Haley as his U.N. ambassador.

TURTLE SMUGGLING

Feds: Smuggler pleads guilty to shipping protected turtles

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Prosecutors say the 'ringleader of an international syndicate of wildlife smugglers" has pleaded guilty, again, to smuggling turtles.

The U.S. Attorney's Office said in a news release that 38-year-old Steven Verren Baker of Holly Hill entered the plea Tuesday in Charleston.

Authorities intercepted packages containing 46 turtles in 2016. News outlets report that investigators think U.S. collectors bought turtles considered exotic in China, while Chinese customers collected American turtles, to be used in some cases as food or medicine.

Baker now faces up to five years in prison for conspiring to smuggle internationally protected wildlife. The latest crimes were committed while Baker was serving three years' probation after pleading guilty in 2014 to illegally trafficking turtles taken from the wild in South Carolina for sale in Florida.

MAIL THEFT-SENTENCE

South Carolina gets 3 years in prison in mail thefts

GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP) — A South Carolina woman has been sentenced to three years in prison for a mail theft conspiracy.

The U.S. Justice Department said in a news release Wednesday that 48-year-old Casey A. Raines of Greenville was sentenced Wednesday in U.S. District Court to the prison term, f0llowed by three years of supervised release.

Raines was also ordered to pay nearly $7,600 in restitution.

Evidence suggested Raines and others stole mail in Greenville County to find bank account information they used to create counterfeit checks. The checks were used to obtain money for methamphetamine.

Prosecutors say Raines opened bank accounts to deposit stolen and counterfeit checks. Raines and others split the proceeds.

Thirty-eight-year-old Carly L. Wright was named as a co-conspirator and was previously sentenced to 51 months in prison.

GOVERNOR-DEBATE-REPUBLICANS

South Carolina gov hopefuls disagree on political experience

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Two Republicans vying to become South Carolina's next governor disagree on the experience needed as the state's chief executive.

Gov. Henry McMaster stressed in a televised debate Wednesday there's no time for a learning curve. A former lieutenant governor and prosecutor, he's been involved in South Carolina's politics for decades.

Greenville businessman John Warren disagreed, saying his private sector success shows he can manage the state effectively. Warren also says he finds it "very ironic" that McMaster values experience, noting McMaster's ardent support of political newcomer Donald Trump's prior presidential campaign.

Trump has endorsed McMaster and will campaign in state for him Monday.

McMaster and Warren, the top vote-getters in a June 12 GOP primary, are in a runoff Tuesday. The winner faces Democratic state Rep. James Smith in the fall general election.

APARTMENT STABBING

Man stabbed to death in fight at South Carolina apartment

CHERAW, S.C. (AP) — Authorities say a man has been stabbed to death after a fight at an apartment complex in South Carolina.

Cheraw Police said officers found Damien Johnson covered in blood near a vehicle at the Greystone apartment complex around 5:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Authorities say Johnson was arguing with Brandon Sellers when they started fighting.

Police said in a statement that Sellers then pulled a knife and stabbed Johnson several times. Johnson died a short time later at the hospital.

Sellers is charged with murder. It wasn't known if he had a lawyer.

WORKER KILLED

I-77 road worker killed when lift struck by 18-wheeler

BLYTHEWOOD, S.C. (AP) — Authorities say an Indiana construction worker driving a lift has been killed after it was struck by an 18-wheeler on Interstate 77 in South Carolina.

Highway Patrol Lance Cpl. David Jones said the lift was in the roadway as part of a project on a bridge at exit 27 near Blythewood when it was hit around 5 a.m. Wednesday.

Jones says a special team of troopers is investigating and hasn't determined if the construction zone was properly marked or if any charges will be issued for the tractor-trailer's driver. The truck was hauling cows.

The crashed closed the southbound lanes of I-77 about 20 miles (32 kilometers) north of Columbia for several hours.

Richland County Coroner Gary Watts says 40-year-old Nathaniel Deaton of Martinsburg, Indiana, died at the scene.

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