Men freed of murder charges file lawsuit against FCSO

FLORENCE, SOUTH CAROLINA (WMBF) - A double murder remains unsolved, and the men freed from murder charges are now suing the Florence County Sheriff's Office.

"Well, from the very beginning of this case Hiral and Ranjit maintained their innocence, and we always said that they were not guilty and that law enforcement just rushed to judgment in this case," said Rose Mary Partham, attorney for Hiral Gopaldas and Ranjit Gopaldas.

In 2011 the two men were arrested in connection to the stabbing death of Hiral's estranged wife and her mother. Both men served time in prison before the case was thrown out due to a lack of evidence linking the men to the scene of the crime.

"The arrest warrant states that a witness put Hiral Gopaldas at the crime scene at or around the time of death. I think it was misleading to the magistrate because the same witness puts him leaving with the victim and the son at the front door," Partham.

The lawsuit filed in Florence County on Thursday accuses Florence County investigators of loss of liberty, economic damages and emotional distress.

"So often people read in the newspaper or hear on the news that someone has been arrested and they immediately jump to the conclusion that they must have done it," Partham said. "And  that's often not the case. It's important that people keep an open mind and realize that they can't believe everything they read, or jump to the conclusion that someone is guilty because they have been arrested."

A spokesperson with the Florence County Sheriff's Office says they have not yet been served that suit.

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