Man pleads guilty to burglary of Conway church

Maurice Ward (Source: J. Reuben Long Detention Center)
Maurice Ward (Source: J. Reuben Long Detention Center)

From the Horry County Solicitor's Office:

Before the Honorable Larry B. Hyman, Jr. on Tuesday, September 17, 2013, Defendant Maurice Wallace Ward was found guilty by a jury of his peers for the 2010 burglary of Freewill Baptist Church located in the Conway section of Horry County.

The incident occurred on the night of August 14, 2010, when Ward entered Freewill Baptist Church without consent and with the intent to steal personal items from the building. During the investigation, the officers discovered DNA left behind on a broken window believed to be Ward's forced-entry location on the night of the incident. After a long investigation, the DNA testing results returned as a match to Ward's. These results were later verified through further analysis, thus, placing Ward at the scene of the crime on the night the burglary occurred.

Based on the facts provided above and Ward's lengthy criminal records, including two past burglary/housebreaking convictions, Ward was convicted of Second Degree Burglary (Violent) and sentenced by Judge Hyman to serve the maximum sentence of 15 years. This is a "violent" and "serious" Class D felony offense under South Carolina law, meaning this conviction adds a "strike" to Ward's criminal record under South Carolina's "three strike" laws.