A magistrate judge set a $15,000 surety bond for each of the four Shaw Air Force Base airmen arrested for allegedly painting satanic symbols at Salem Black River PresbyterianChurch in Mayesville during bond hearings Friday.
According to a news release from Sumter County Sheriff's Office, 18-year-old Kayla Marie Eilerman of Ingleside, Texas; 18-year-old Clayre Marie Savage of Port Barre, Louisiana; 19-year-old Daveion Raaheim Green of Leeland, North Carolina; and 20-year-old Brandon Munoz of Baltimore, Maryland, allegedly spray painted satanic symbols on the outside of the sanctuary and two other structures on the church grounds on Sept. 29, causing approximately $3,000 in damage.
Deputy Ken Bell, public information officer for the sheriff's office, said the four active-duty airmen were apprehended after a joint investigation involving county and Shaw investigators. Each of the airmen confessed and has been cooperative since he or she was arrested, he said.
During the bond hearings at Sumter-Lee Regional Detention Center, Sgt. Wayne DuBose with the sheriff's office said the defendants did not have criminal histories before being arrested on Thursday and requested that a $15,000 surety bond be set and the airmen be restricted to the base.
Magistrate Judge Larry Blanding set a $500 surety bond for trespassing; a $10,000 surety bond for malicious injury to a house of worship; and a $4,500 surety bond for criminal conspiracy.
Blanding also said the defendants would be restricted to Shaw Air Force Base between 7 p.m. and 5 a.m. on weekdays and from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. on weekends.
Each defendant is scheduled to appear at Sumter County Summary Court on Oct. 23 for the trespassing charge and at Sumter County Judicial Center on Dec. 1 for the malicious injury to a house of worship and criminal conspiracy charges, which are both felonies.
George McFaddin, a member of Salem Black River, said he has been involved with the church his entire life and has monitored the church at night in the past to prevent these kinds of incidents.
McFaddin said the vandalism was an unfortunate event for the church but a dark day for the U.S. Air Force.
Senior Master Sgt. Rivers said he apologizes to the congregation of Salem Black River and the community for the airmen's unacceptable behavior. He said Eilerman and Savage will be under his watch if they are able to make bond.
No service member spoke on behalf of Green and Munoz during the bond hearing.
Deputy Bell said as far as county investigators have gathered, the suspects vandalized the church during a "night of foolishness." However, in South Carolina, vandalizing a house of worship is a felony, he said.
Bell said he does not think the suspects intended to harm the members of the church, but their actions did cause some members fear.
Salem Black River is a small church out in the county, and the congregation was taken aback by the vandalism, he said.
Bell said social media played a large role in the identification of the suspects. Still images from surveillance footage were shared across multiple platforms, and numerous calls and tips were received, he said.
Bell said the incident is not a reflection of Shaw and Sumter's relationship, which has been excellent.
He said he hopes the four airmen will learn from this incident and can hopefully move forward in their careers.
The magistrate judge's power only allows him to restrict the airmen to the base, but Shaw could give more punishments, Bell said.
"Such behavior is not representative of the airmen of Shaw Air Force Base as a whole," said 1st Lt. Alannah Staver, 20th Fighter Wing chief of public affairs, in a news release issued on Friday.
The United States Air Force does not condone acts of vandalism, she said.
"We feel we are a part of this community, are proud to serve here, and we are disappointed to hear of this incident," she said.