Darlington courthouse escape could have been ‘a different story,’ says sheriff

DARLINGTON, SC (WBTW) – The search is still on for a man, the Darlington County Sheriff’s Office says slipped out of court Monday after a judge sentenced him on drug charges.

Sheriff Wayne Byrd says 23-year-old Shanard King walked to the side of the courtroom on the fifth floor then ran out and down a stairwell.

“You know, he knew ahead of time that he was going to be going to jail when he left the court,” said Byrd.

King had a 9 year jail sentence looming when he turned around to talk to his family that was there.

“It’s not that unusual…what was unusual though is instead of speaking to them all of a sudden he bolted and ran for the door,” Byrd stated.

With a hearing like this we have minimum security in there.  It would be one thing if this was somebody brought from the jail to receive a sentence,” he added.

Byrd says that minimum security for a case like this is usually standard.

“We’ve had people try to escape from custody before.  You’ve got a building that was designed at a time when you didn’t have the security concerns as you have now,” he explained.

Darlington County Administrator Terence Arrington says a committee has met for the last four months to discuss a plan to build a new courthouse.

News13 also asked Sheriff Byrd if Monday’s incident was an issue with the courthouse or not following procedure of handcuffing him right after sentencing.

“It’s a little of everything.  Certainly we would’ve rather had somebody there to take him into custody immediately upon announcing his sentence, but you know you try to work with people.  If we had taken him into custody immediately this would have been a different story,” he said.

We also requested surveillance video, but Sheriff Byrd says there are no cameras inside the courthouse.

As far as plans for a new courthouse, State Senator Gerald Malloy of Hartsville chairs the county committee which plans to meet again next month.

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