Case against suspended Florence County sheriff ‘a sad situation,’ interim sheriff says

Case against suspended Florence County sheriff ‘a sad situation,’ interim sheriff says
Left: Interim Florence County Sheriff William "Billy" Barnes; Right: Suspended Florence County Sheriff Kenney Boone (Source: WMBF News)

FLORENCE, S.C. (WMBF) – The interim sheriff for Florence County called the allegations against suspended Sheriff Kenney Boone “a sad situation.”

William “Billy” Barnes has served as the interim sheriff since April, following Boone’s arrest on two counts of embezzlement and one count of misconduct. He is accused of using thousands in funds from the sheriff’s office for personal use.

“I don’t know how he got to this point in his life. I hired Kenney when he was 21 years old. In a way, he was just like one of my kids. It’s a sad situation,” Barnes said.

Barnes served as Florence County sheriff from 1974 to 1993 and most recently served as the department’s polygraph examiner.

Shortly after the state Attorney General’s office announced the charges against Boone, Gov. Henry McMaster appointed Barnes to serve as the interim sheriff of Florence County.

“It was something I was not looking for but when the governor calls, it’s hard to say no,” Barnes said.

Barnes previously said he’d serve as sheriff until Boone is “acquitted, convicted, the indictment is otherwise disposed of, or until a sheriff is elected and qualifies in the next general election.”

The next general election for sheriff is in November of 2020.

Upon his appointment, Barnes said one of his first acts as sheriff was to ask the South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division to conduct a complete audit of the Florence County Sheriff’s Office.

According to FCSO Maj. Mike Nunn, the office’s federal forfeiture account is temporarily frozen pending audit. He added, however, the department’s helicopter is fully operational.

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