Ex-South Carolina sheriff pleads guilty to domestic violence

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A former South Carolina sheriff who previously pleaded guilty to stealing public money and was then arrested a month later on a criminal domestic violence charge pleaded guilty Wednesday to the abuse count.

A judge sentenced former Florence County Sheriff Kenney Boone to spend 30 days in jail or pay a $1,000 fine, suspended upon the successful completion of nearly seven months of domestic abuse counseling, South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson announced.

An additional charge of ill treatment of animals was dismissed because there was not sufficient evidence to prove accusations Boone had harmed his cat during the incident in February, Wilson’s statement said.

A police report from the night said Boone, then 53, came home intoxicated, argued with his wife about money, and then started throwing things. Boone then went to his vehicle, got a baseball bat and swung at a cat, furniture and a potted plant before threatening officers who were called to the home, the police report alleged.

A month earlier, Boone avoided prison time when he was sentenced for embezzlement and misconduct in office. But a judge held a five-year prison sentence over his head if he couldn’t complete five years of probation.

In that case, the former sheriff admitted he used $17,000 in Florence County funds and drug seizure money to buy groceries, window tinting and other personal items. Boone was ordered to pay back the $17,000, and if he did, his probation could have been shortened to 18 months.

Before he was sentenced, Boone apologized for taking the money, saying politics were tough and pressure-filled and he had made some bad choices.

At a bond hearing in February on the domestic violence charge, Boone told a judge he was unemployed and that his 35 years in law enforcement should show he isn’t a threat to anyone.

Boone became the 10th South Carolina sheriff to be convicted of crimes in office in the past decade when he pleaded guilty to the misconduct charges.

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