Crime & Courts

Ex-SC deputy accused of beating wife hit with more domestic violence charges, cops say

This story was updated to reflect that Donald Ross, Jr. was terminated by Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office. A previous version said Ross resigned.

Another domestic violence charge was filed Monday against a former South Carolina sheriff’s deputy who was arrested last week for multiple crimes after he abused his wife, the S.C. Law Enforcement Division said.

Former Spartanburg County sheriff’s deputy Donald Douglass Ross Jr. was charged with another domestic violence crime for attacking his wife, SLED said in a news release.

Ross picked up his wife and slammed her to the ground while their child watched during a July 2016 argument in Georgetown County, according to an arrest warrant.

Ross was charged with second-degree domestic violence for the Georgetown County assault that caused his wife to briefly stop breathing, arrest warrants show.

The 37-year-old had previously been charged with one count of second-degree domestic violence and two counts of third-degree domestic violence, SLED reported.

He is being held in the Georgetown County Detention Center after his bond was set at $2,500, jail records show.

Ross was a deputy with the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office from 2016 until this week, according to department spokesperson Lt. Kevin Bobo.

He was locked up in Greenville County for the previous charges, which included a similar attack on his wife.

Police said in February 2011, Ross picked up his pregnant girlfriend, whom he lived with and later married, “forcefully slamming her body to the floor.” The slam caused “pain and cramping,” an arrest warrant says.

In September 2017, Ross shoved his wife into a wall “causing her to hit her head, leaving a visible raised lump,” an agent wrote in another warrant. The couple’s child was in earshot of the incident, the agent said.

Little more than a year later, Ross is accused of punching his wife in the mouth, busting her lip and drawing blood, according to a separate warrant.

Judge Latoya Tennell Barksdale signed the warrants for Ross’s arrest Friday, and agents arrested him the same day. Ross was fired from the Sheriff’s Office on Friday, Bobo said.

The latest charges against Ross come nine years after police arrested him on allegations of abusive behavior.

In 2010, Ross was an officer with the Greenville Police Department when agents charged him with domestic violence, Fox Carolina reported. Ross refused to let a woman leave the home, police said in a report. He threw her to the ground, pinned her with his knees, punched and choked her until she became dizzy, then poured water into her nose and mouth making it difficult to breathe, according to a warrant, Fox Carolina reported. The victim had bruising, an officer wrote. Ross resigned a week later after four years as a Greenville police officer.

Court records indicate that Ross was never convicted of the charge.

For the current charges, Ross was jailed at Greenville County Detention Center. A judge ordered him held on $10,000 bail. As of Saturday afternoon he remained in custody, according to jail records.

If convicted on the three abuse charges Ross could spend more than three years in prison and be forced to pay $7,500 in fines. Being found guilty of domestic violence also makes it illegal to own guns.

The Attorney General’s office will prosecute the case against Ross.

Ross’ father, Donald Douglas Ross Sr., was also a law enforcement officer charged with violence against a woman, WIS reported. In 2006, Ross Sr. resigned from being a SLED agent when police charged him with slapping a woman in the face. He pleaded guilty to assault and battery, court records show.

Since 2017, five Spartanburg sheriff’s deputies have been arrested on domestic violence charges or accusations of violence against partners.

A deputy pleaded guilty to charges after police said he choked his wife and child and pointed a gun at them, court records show. Another pleaded guilty after getting in a drunken fight with his wife and threatening her with a gun, police said.

Cases against two officers with the Spartanburg County Detention Center, which is run by the Sheriff’s Office, are still pending. One jailer is charged with four counts of attempted murder after police alleged he burned down the house of his ex-girlfriend’s relatives. On May 3, agents charged another guard with choking his girlfriend and then violating a restraining order to stay away from her, according to court records.

David Travis Bland won the South Carolina Press Association’s 2017 Judson Chapman Award for community journalism. As The State’s crime, police and public safety reporter, he strives to inform communities about crimes that affect them and give deeper insight into victims, the accused and law enforcement. He studied history with a focus on the American South at the University of South Carolina.
Noah Feit is a Real Time reporter with The State and McClatchy Carolinas Regional Team. The award-winning journalist has worked for multiple newspapers since starting his career in 1999.
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