Solicitor forms domestic violence council

By Greg Oliver
Courtesy The Journal

COUNTY — Last month, the new Violence Policy Center study dropped South Carolina from first to fifth nationally when it comes to the number of women murdered by men.

But officials want to see those numbers drop even further, and 13th Circuit Solicitor Walt Wilkins is doing his part to bring that about in the two counties he serves. Wilkins announced Monday that his office has formed The Domestic Violence Coordinating Council to help combat domestic violence in Pickens and Greenville counties.

The council, which will meet quarterly, will be comprised of professionals from counseling services, hospitals, law enforcement, school systems and social services. Businesses and organizations are encouraged to attend the council meetings and become a part of not only the conversation but also the programs and initiatives that are forthcoming.

“October is domestic violence awareness month,” Wilkins said in a prepared statement. “I encourage everyone to reflect on this important community issue. Wear purple with a purpose and strike up a conversation with a neighbor about the need to curb domestic violence in our community.”

Pickens County has experienced its share of domestic violence incidents in recent years, most of which involve female victims. However, in that county, two of its more high profile cases — both in the Dacusville community — involved women murdering men.

In May 2013, Suzanna Simpson was charged with killing her two small children, ages 5 and 7, and wounding her husband. Simpson was later found guilty of two counts of murder and one count of attempted murder and sentenced to life in prison.

In January 2014, Dacusville resident Shane Williams was shot and killed in his home, and his wife, Crystal Gail Williams, and her friend, Marcus Channing Johnson, were later arrested and charged with murder and criminal conspiracy to commit murder. Williams later pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life without parole.

Wilkins said programs and initiatives from the council would include creating public service announcements, victim safety kits and an interactive information bank. The council will be self-sustaining and conduct fundraisers to cover its expenses. Fundraising events will be announced at a later date.