SC sheriff's captain disciplined, deputy fired after review of hidden recording in murder case


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BEAUFORT, South Carolina — A South Carolina sheriff's deputy is out of a job, a senior investigator reassigned and three other officers disciplined after a recording of a suspect's grilling surfaced just before a high-profile murder trial, a newspaper reported Sunday.

Beaufort County Sheriff's Cpl. Curtis Evans was fired two weeks ago after an internal investigation found he didn't tell superiors about the recording, the Beaufort Gazette (http://bit.ly/1hXFhZF ) reported.

Evans recorded the questioning of one of the three men charged with killing 8-year-old Khalil Singleton in 2012. Singleton was hit by a stray bullet as he played outside with a friend in their neighborhood on Hilton Head Island.

The 55-minute recording captures Evans telling a defendant he could avoid the murder charge if he cooperated with detectives. Aaron Young Sr. did cooperate by revealing where a gun was hidden but he was charged anyway.

The recorded exchange surfaced on April 22, just as the trial of Young and two other defendants was beginning. The judge ruled to indefinitely delay the trial the next day.

Evans, who had no authority to question the suspect, also took no steps to have the recording preserved so it could be submitted as evidence later, the investigation found. Each is a violation of Sheriff's Office "general orders," the investigation found.

A message left Sunday at a phone number listed in Evans' name was not returned.

Evans told a Sheriff's Office internal investigator that he spoke to Young while he was in an interrogation room to keep him calm. Evans denied making any promises.

The senior investigator who was reassigned and put on one year's probation, Capt. Robert Bromage, failed to properly oversee and manage the investigation, the internal review said.

Bromage told the internal investigator he wished he'd caught the problems earlier.

"This whole issue is a series of breakdowns and management issues and I am a part of the management, so therefore part of it falls on me," Bromage said, according to the report. Bromage declined to comment Friday, the newspaper reported. He did not have a listed phone number and could not be reached Sunday.

Three other officers received a written reprimand and one year's probation for failing to supervise the investigation, failing to review all the audio and video recordings collected for their potential value as evidence, talking to the suspect outside the presence of interrogators, or failing to review sources in the investigation.


Information from: The Beaufort Gazette, http://www.beaufortgazette.com

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