HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) – Fifteenth Circuit Solicitor Jimmy Richardson announced on Monday that charges have been dismissed against the fourth suspect in a sexual assault case involving two four-year-olds.
Back in 2016, Lindsey Honeycutt, Ambrose Heavener, Panteleimon Spirakis and Anthony Strickland were arrested for allegedly engaging in sex acts, including intercourse, with the two victims.
Both victims disclosed during a trauma-focused therapy session that Honeycutt and Heavener forced them to have sex with their siblings and each other, according to the police report. The victims also disclosed that Honeycutt and Heavener would have sex with them, and the female victim was forced to have sex with Spirakis.
The victims revealed to investigators that one of the locations of the sexual assaults was "the dance club," which was later identified as Chez Joey, the strip club on Seaboard Street, where Honeycutt worked as a dancer and Strickland was a manager, according to the victims.
Honeycutt was the first to plead guilty in August 2018.
Richardson said that prosecution of the co-defendants and their guilty pleas were made possible by the cooperation of Honeycutt. But he said that has not been the case when it comes to Strickland’s case.
“Ms. Honeycutt has been either unwilling or unable to implicate Mr. Strickland in the commission of these crimes,” Richardson said in a statement.
Richardson also said he had hoped that Heavener’s case would have gone to a jury trial and that testimony would have implicated Strickland.
“The possibility also existed that Mr. Heavener would testify in his own defense and potentially implicate Mr. Strickland or otherwise provide information helpful to the prosecution of the case,” Richardson stated.
But Heavener entered an Alford plea last week, which means the defendant maintains his or her innocence while acknowledging there is enough evidence that a jury would convict.
Richardson said he also spoke with witnesses about Strickland but said they didn’t provide any information that was helpful to the case.
“Based on the foregoing, I do not believe there is sufficient evidence to proceed with prosecution of the charges against Mr. Strickland at this time,” Richardson stated. “Therefore, I made the decision to dismiss all of the pending charges against him.
Honeycutt and Heavener were sentenced last week to 15 years in prison in their cases.
Spirakis pleaded guilty in 2018 but has requested a new trial in the case. He filed a post-conviction relief in May that is asking for his guilty plea to be tossed out and a new trial ordered due to “ineffective assistance of council (sic)” and “judicial error.”