RICHLAND COUNTY, SC — Freddie Grants defense attorney filed documents this week indicating that missing Richland County teen Gabrielle Swainson ran away from home after having conversations about sexuality with her mother.
John Delgado, the defense attorney, also said a text message was sent from Swainsons cell phone four hours after she went missing on Aug. 18.
The documents were filed earlier this week as Delgado prepared to argue that the Richland County Sheriffs Department was not forthcoming with a magistrate judge when investigators requested a search warrant for Grants home in Elgin. Delgados goal is to convince U.S. District Judge Cameron McGowan Currie to bar evidence found during the search, saying the warrant was unjustly obtained.
Delgado has indicated that Grant might plead guilty to being a felon in possession of ammunition if the search warrant stands. A hearing on the motions will be held at 9:30 this morning.
Grant was charged on Aug. 21 after FBI agents and Richland County sheriffs investigators discovered shotgun shells and .38-caliber bullets in his home. Detectives cited blood in Gabbiees bed, cell phone pings at Grants Elgin home and his prior criminal record as evidence in obtaining the search warrant.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Stacey D. Haynes filed a response to Delgados motion, saying the conversations between mother and daughter were not recent and that there was enough evidence to indicate foul play when investigators asked for the search warrant. As for the text message, Verizon cell phone records show the message was composed on Aug. 13 and previous attempts for the message to go through the system had failed, Hayes said.
But Delgados motion said he will present more evidence in the hearing that will show Swainson ran away from home. He frequently cited a report written by Maj. Stan Smith, who leads the sheriffs departments investigations section. In the report, Smith said a note relating to sexuality was found in the Swainson home, and the report has confidential information relating to sexuality, the motion said.
When asked about Delgados assertions that Gabbiee ran away from home because of some sort of sexuality issue, Sheriff Leon Lott said, B.S.
Federal prosecutors are seeking a stiffer sentence for Grant on the grounds that he is an armed career criminal. They must show that he has at least three prior convictions on violent or drug crimes. They have cited his conviction on kidnapping and assault charges in 1980 while stationed in Korea as a soldier as well as a possession with intent to distribute cocaine charge in 1991.
Grant has been charged with kidnapping in state circuit court in Gabbiees disappearance.
If Grant does not plead guilty, a trial on the federal charges will be held in January.
Reach Phillips at (803) 771-8307.