No charges filed in killing

PICKENS — In a news conference at the Pickens County Law Enforcement Center on Tuesday, 13th Circuit Solicitor Walt Wilkins said no charges will be filed in the March 25 shooting death of Travis Scott Whitman.

Although the investigation determined that Whitman’s wife, Katherine Ann Henderson, had fired the shot that killed him from a .22 caliber rifle, Wilkins said the shooting was in self-defense.

According to Wilkins, Whitman had pleaded guilty earlier in the day to second-degree criminal domestic violence in a case in which Henderson was the victim.

Pickens County Chief Deputy Creed Hashe said officers had responded to the couple’s home more than 22 times since last August, and officers believe that on the day of Whitman’s death the couple had been arguing throughout the day.

“Mr. Whitman left the home, and during that small window of time, Henderson and (witness Brandi Payne) went back into the home to collect some clothes, and while inside Ms. Henderson indicated to Ms. Payne that she was concerned because there were weapons in the home and felt a need to try to hide them,” Hashe said.

Hashe said the investigation revealed that upon Whitman’s return there was another heated exchange before Whitman produced a fixed-blade hunting knife.

“During the altercation he observed the 8 mm rifle,” Hashe said. “He lunged and got the rifle and exited the bedroom. Henderson said she saw him manipulate the bolt on the rifle, and as he turned she fired a single round from the .22 caliber rifle.”

Wilkins said the information gleaned during the investigation led officials to determine there were no charges that could be filed and proven beyond a reasonable doubt to a jury, as the two witnesses’ statements painted the same picture of a shooting in self-defense.

“If you take all those pieces of evidence with the statements and the consistency of the statements based on the forensic evidence that we were able to obtain and volatility of the situation, it seems like we need to have a conversation about criminal domestic violence, because that is really what occurred here,” Wilkins said.

“We know that Mr. Whitman had amphetamine and methamphetamine in his system based on toxicology reports. It appears that Ms. Henderson and Ms. Payne were in direct fear for their lives, and under our ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws and self defense laws, it appears she had a reasonable fear where she could in fact defend herself, and in fact she did by shooting one round of that .22 caliber rifle.”