A 17-year-old Sumter man only collaterally involved with an incident that led to the death of a 54-year-old Sumter woman pleaded guilty on Thursday to cruelty to a child and possession with intent to distribute marijuana.
Daquan Funchess-Johnson was initially charged with unlawful conduct toward a minor and public disorderly conduct for his role as a spectator during a Feb. 27 fight during which Patricia Singleton was shot and killed.
Singleton, according to police, attempted to break up a fight between two teenage girls in front of her Council Street home when Derrick Antwan Darby, 18, allegedly pulled out a .380-caliber gun and fired, striking the woman in the upper chest. Darby was charged with murder, and his charge remains pending.
Third Circuit Assistant Solicitor W. Jason Corbett told At-large Circuit Court Judge D. Craig Brown on Thursday that Funchess-Johnson was present at the fight, holding a small child.
Funchess-Johnson’s drug charge came while investigators were still investigating the incident, video of which was recorded by cellphone showing the two young women fighting while the small crowd cheered.
Brown gave Funchess-Johnson two days with time served for the child cruelty charge and five years, suspended to 30 months’ probation for the drug charge. His probation will end with the successful completion of 3rd Circuit Drug Court.
Other pleas at the Sumter County Judicial Center this week included:
Terry C. Barno, 22, of 2181-A Santee Drive in Sumter, received a five-year prison sentence, with credit for 519 days served since his arrest in 2011 after several home break-ins. Barno pleaded guilty Wednesday to three counts of second-degree burglary, non-violent, and one count of breaking and entering a motor vehicle. He was arrested Nov. 17, 2011, after trying to sell jewelry taken from a local home. Barno told Brown he felt like the time he sat in the county jail “made it clear to me that I need to hang around positive people and do what I can to take care of my (4-year-old) son.”
Raymond Tate, 24, of 920 Trinity Road in Mayesville, received a three-year prison sentence, with credit for time served since his arrest more than five months ago for second-degree burglary and malicious injury to real property. Tate was the subject of a monthslong manhunt after he and several co-defendants stole copper from a construction site on Oswego Highway. Brown revoked 21 months of probation that Tate was still serving from a prior burglary conviction, and said both sentences would run concurrently.
Brown said he “reluctantly” followed a recommendation from 3rd Circuit Assistant Solicitor Edgar R. Donnald that Clarence Alston receive a time-served sentence for criminal domestic violence, second offense. Alston had served 62 days at the Sumter-Lee Regional Detention Center as of Monday, when he pleaded guilty to the charge. He was arrested June 6, according to reports, and had his first CDV conviction in February.“In two months or thereabouts after he’s out, he’s charged with another?” Brown asked. “There’s nothing anyone’s really doing to help this man cope with stress other than him hitting this (victim, who shares two children with Alston). I’m not really comfortable going along with the recommendation.”
Jerell Mallory Richardson, 21, of 2725 Gallishaw Road in Dalzell, pleaded guilty to criminal domestic violence, first offense, on Monday after being charged in February with criminal domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature. His victim, who lives at an apartment complex on Miller Road, told police that the two had lived together for five months and that Richardson kept her “as a prisoner in the apartment,” according to 3rd Circuit Assistant Solicitor Bronwyn K. McElveen.Richardson also had a video camera in the apartment to record the woman’s movements in and out of the home. Brown gave him 30 days in jail or a $200 fine, giving him 30 days to pay.
Jason O. Johnson, 18, pleaded guilty to second-degree assault and battery, receiving three years in prison, suspended to two years’ probation and an order to pay $998.10 restitution. He was arrested in July and spent about two days in jail after he and two co-defendants allegedly assaulted a Sumter man and took $100 from his wallet. Johnson had initially been charged with strong-arm robbery.