Embattled Florence Sheriff Kenney Boone placed under house arrest, given $50K bond

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RICHLAND COUNTY, SC (WBTW)  – Embattled Sheriff Kenney Boone was placed under house arrest and given a $50,000 bail during his bond hearing.

Boone told the judge today he was surprised by the charges and this morning was the first time he has heard about the charges.

“This is a surprise to me, if what I understand has been going on since November has been going on,” Boone said.

The state asked for GPS monitoring, no contact with the sheriff’s department or any property of the sheriff’s department and house arrest to be revisited after seven days.

Boone asked for the reasoning behind the GPS monitor and the state attorney said the information leading to the indictments came from inside the sheriff’s office so there is concern about some sort of retaliation.

The state attorney also said in the past couple weeks some texts made about another situation were considered to be threatening. “Based on those, we want to ensure everything is going to be calm,” the attorney said.

Boone may leave his home for medical and legal appointments, the judge said. The judge mentioned Boone could come back after the first week with his attorney to request the removal of the GPS monitor.

(COLUMBIA, SC) –  A grand jury has indicted Florence County Sheriff William Kenney Boone on charges of embezzlement and misconduct. 

The governor has suspended Boone from office because of the indictment. William C. “Billy” Barnes has been appointed the interim sheriff, according to a news release.

Boone was charged with one count of misconduct in office and two counts of embezzlement, South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson announced Wednesday.

The embezzlement offense is a statutory felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine at the discretion of the court. The misconduct offense is a common law misdemeanor, punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

The indictment alleges that Boone used both county and federal funds allocated to the Florence County Sheriff’s Office for his own personal use.

The indictment claims Boone, “while serving in his capacity as Sheriff for Florence County, did purchase or cause to be purchased from the Florence County Sheriffs Office Federal Narcotics Account funds a variety of consumer type goods, including but not limited to bicycle equipment, groceries, coolers, baseball equipment, electronics, or clothing, from various vendors including but not limited to, Academy Sports, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Sam’s, Wal-Mart, Shell, Best Buy, Bicycle World, Rapid Weight Loss, Piggly Wiggly, Mainstream Boutique, GameStop, Mast General Store, and various restaurants, whereby he then unlawfully converted $10,000 or less worth of such purchases to his personal use.”

This case is being investigated by the State Law Enforcement Division and will be prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Office. 

Attorney General Wilson stressed every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until they are proven guilty in a court of law.

The South Carolina Sheriff’s Associaton said in a statement to News13 that Boone is no longer a member of the association:

“Sheriff Boone’s indictment is truly heartbreaking for all parties involved, including the Members of the SC Sheriffs’ Association. Nevertheless, criminal allegations against elected officials, especially Sheriffs, are serious and cannot be ignored. Like all other citizens, however, Sheriff Boone is innocent until proven guilty and will have the opportunity to plead his case before the court.

As a result of Sheriff Boone’s suspension from Office, he is no longer a member of the SC Sheriffs’ Association. While this is a sad reality, we are encouraged by the return of Sheriff Billy Barnes, both for the citizens of Florence County and the men and women of the Florence County Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff Barnes honorably served the citizens of Florence County during his twenty-year tenure as Sheriff. We are confident in Sheriff Barnes’ ability to provide stability in the Florence County Sheriff’s Office during this time of turbulence. Furthermore, we believe Sheriff Barnes has the integrity, ethics, and experience to restore the citizens’ faith and trust in the Office of Sheriff.”

Senator Hugh K. Leatherman (R- Florence), wrote the following in a Facebook post

“Like everyone, I am surprised and disappointed with the news this morning about Sheriff Boone. He like all accused in our judicial system should be provided due process and a presumption of innocence. Having said that, today’s event is a reminder that elected officials should be held to a higher standard, especially those charged with enforcing the laws that are the backbone of our democracy.

I hope that everyone will join me in supporting the members of the Florence County Sheriff’s Office and acting Sheriff Billy Barnes as they continue to protect and serve.”

Count on News13 for updates on this story.

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