COLUMBIA, SC — The July 1 shooting death of a single mother as she worked alone in a Columbia bakery continues to draw public outrage over crime and the states bond system.
On Saturday, several hundred people are expected to march from Carolina Cafe on the corner of Sumter and Pendleton streets to the State House in memory of 33-year-old Kelly Hunnewell. Hunnewell was a cafe employee who was gunned down while beginning her shift at an off-site bakery where bagels and other treats were made.
Organizers will use the rally to voice their concerns about violence and an ongoing pattern of people getting arrested for violent crimes while out of jail on bond for other offenses. Rally speakers plan to talk about juvenile crime, bond reform and other problems in the criminal justice system that have come to light since Hunnewells death.
S.C. Sen. Katrina Shealy, an independent from Lexington County, organized the rally. S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson is among the other politicians who will speak. Vicky and John Strange, the parents of a teenager who was severely beaten by eight people in June 2011 in Five Points, also will speak.
Crime victims, including Hunnewells family, are expected to attend.
Im just so frustrated, Shealy said. It seems like every time I turn on the TV, someone is getting shot.
Three teenagers, who have been identified by police as gang members, have been charged in Hunnewells death.
Two of her three attackers were out of jail on bond while awaiting trials for other crimes. And one of them had been identified 10 days earlier as a suspect in a burglary, but Columbia police and the 5th Circuit Solicitors office had failed to obtain an arrest warrant for him.
The crime and the revelations about her attackers criminal histories have caused a community outrage that has not simmered down.
People especially were sympathetic to Hunnewells case because she was a single mother of four who worked an early morning shift so she could be home with her children during the day.
Since her death, Mayor Steve Benjamin has organized a panel to discuss suggestions for state bond reform and to recommend changes to Columbia police department policy.
Lauren Schlueter, one of the owners of Carolina Cafe, hopes the rally continues to galvanize the public. She believes that Hunnewell would be alive if law enforcement and judges had properly done their jobs.
It fires me up because Kellys death was senseless and avoidable, Schlueter said.
Reach Phillips at (803) 312-4300.