Community questions shooting suspect's bail

Man charged, released; 2 victims now suffer from ‘lifelong injuries’


Members of the community have expressed concern that an 18-year old Sumter man charged with a violent crime has been released on bond.

According to a Sumter Police Department news release, two shooting victims "suffered lifelong injuries" from a shooting incident that occurred Friday at Harmony Court Apartments.

According to the release, Andrew Jeremiah Tiller, 18, of 2665 Goldeneye Ridge, was charged Monday after reportedly admitting he shot the victims. Tiller faces two counts of attempted murder, two counts of armed robbery and one count of use of a weapon during a violent crime.

Tiller was reportedly released Tuesday from Sumter-Lee Regional Detention Center after providing a $37,500 surety bond and agreeing to wear a leg monitoring bracelet. Magistrate Judge Larry Blanding set the bond, according to a person at the Magistrate Court office.

Magistrates must consider two factors when setting bond, Third Judicial Circuit Solicitor Ernest "Chip" Finney III said.

Those are the flight risk of the accused and the danger to the community the accused represents.

The judge hears the background on the case, Finney said, and considers information about the person who is charged, such as whether the accused has a previous criminal background and how deep his or her ties are to the community.

The judge can also consider the nature of the crime and the possible sentence in setting the bail, he said.

Whether the defendant is a danger to the community "is usually apparent by the nature of the charges," Finney said.

Finney said he has not been directly involved in the Tiller case and does not know what information the magistrate heard during the bond hearing. He said the solicitor's office does not usually send a lawyer to bond hearings.

According to Title 17, South Carolina Code of Laws, a judge shall consider: family ties, employment, financial resources, character and mental condition, length of residence in the community, record of convictions and record of flight to avoid prosecution or failure to appear at other court proceedings.

The code says the court shall also consider a person's criminal record, any charges pending against a person at the time release is requested, all incident reports generated as a result of an offense charged, whether a person is an alien unlawfully present in the United States and poses a substantial flight risk due to this status and whether the charged person appears in the state gang database maintained at the State Law Enforcement Division.

The right to post bail is secured in the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which reads: "Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted."

The first 10 amendments to the Constitution are collectively known as the "Bill of Rights."