Abuse charge against former Pee Dee police officer dismissed

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MARION, SC (WBTW) – A charge has been dismissed for a former police officer in the Pee Dee following a review of her case from the Marion County Sheriff’s Office and the 12th Circuit Solicitor’s Office.

In January 2020, Akers was charged with abuse of a vulnerable adult. The charge stemmed from an incident on October 13, 2019. The Marion County Sheriff’s Office said that Akers was an in-home nursing aid at that time. A warrant accused Akers of assaulting a vulnerable adult by striking the female with a belt. A report suggested the alleged victim had autism.

Akers, who worked as a police officer in Dillon, Mullins and Lake City until 2016, denied the allegation and called for the sheriff’s office to do a thorough investigation of the case.

On February 20, 2020, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement that the department and the 12th Circuit Solicitor’s Office were conducting a review of the facts and circumstances surrounding Akers’ arrest.

In November, Akers says she found out from an online public records search that her charge had been dismissed. Akers also learned, after asking the solicitor’s office about her case, that the alleged victim had died.

News13 asked the sheriff’s office for information about the dismissal of the charge. On Friday, the sheriff’s office provided the following statement:

As with any case forwarded to the Solicitor’s Office for prosecution from the MCSO, the facts and circumstances surrounding the decision to arrest an individual are reviewed to ascertain whether or not sufficient proof can be established to carry the burden of proof necessary to obtain a conviction in a jury trial, beyond a reasonable doubt. This is the highest standard of proof in our justice system, and many factors are considered by a prosecutor in determining whether or not a case should proceed to trial. These factors include, but are not limited to, the existence of physical evidence (such as DNA), the number and credibility of eyewitnesses, the victim’s statement, the results of physical examinations, the presence and strength of circumstantial evidence, as well as any statements made by the suspect/defendant. Such a review of the facts and circumstances surrounding the arrest of Odette Akers was conducted, and while sufficient probable cause was established by the MCSO to the satisfaction of a neutral and detached magistrate who signed the arrest warrant, the 12th Circuit Solicitor’s Office determined that it would be extremely difficult to establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt to the satisfaction of a Marion County jury, and would, therefore, not be the most efficient use of invaluable court time and prosecutorial resources. Based on the aforementioned review process, the case against Odette Akers was subsequently dismissed.

Sheriff Brian Wallace, Marion County Sheriff’s Office

The sheriff’s office referred News13 to the 12th Circuit Solicitor’s Office for any further questions about the review conducted by the solicitor’s office.

On Friday, 12th Circuit Solicitor Ed Clements confirmed to News13 that the alleged victim in the case died. A document dated November 16 that was requested and obtained by Akers, from the solicitor’s office, says the alleged victim died in 2020 “due to unrelated illness”. News13 has learned the alleged victim died in September.

On Friday, Akers provided the following statement to News13:

On Feb. 20, 2020, the sheriff’s department released a statement to the press indicating that they were doing an investigation into the circumstances of my arrest. Why did it take until November to dismiss my charge? I think there are other factors at play. I also have still not been officially notified that my charge was dismissed. I will not have any further comment at this time.

Odette Akers

Count on News13 for updates.

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