Charges, questions continue surrounding drug raid and officer-involved shooting
HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - A drug raid left one local man in a coma, now paralyzed and fighting criminal charges from a hospital bed.
His name is Julian Betton, and he was the focus of a DEU drug bust back in April. Now, new charges are added against him.
His preliminary hearing was held on Friday. It centered around testimony from the lead investigator of the case.
That investigator explained that under DEU supervision, an informant went into Betton's home on two separate occasions and purchased marijuana.
Each score cost around $100, and ranged between 7-8 grams of marijuana each time.
That informant was wired with an audio and video recording device. During the preliminary hearing, the investigator admitted that during the first sale, the video device malfunctioned. There was audio, but no images.
Jonny McCoy, representing Julian Betton, cross-examined the investigator and asked if they had any other evidence that Betton was selling marijuana to any other person besides that one informant.
The investigator admitted that no, not to his knowledge.
There was also discussion about what happened in the seconds leading up to the officers entering into Betton's home. The investigator said he was holding the ram, he was the first in the line of officers.
He told the court he believes he heard someone announcing the police presence before he rammed down the door and peeled back to allow other officers to enter in front of him.
He explained he called out 'police! Search warrant!' before entering but that he did not immediately see anyone inside, simply that he was 'announcing it to anyone who happened to be inside.'
When it was all said and done, the judge decided there was probable cause for arresting Julian Betton for the possession and sale of marijuana.
However, there was no discussion about what happened in the split seconds surrounding the shooting.
That is because a third charge, pointing a firearm, wasn't discussed in today's hearing. Instead, McCoy said his client was indicted on those charges on Thursday. The defense attorney pointed out that decision happened before his client could have a hearing.
"I've been practicing criminal law for a while and I've never seen an indictment like this before discovery, before any talks of what took place," said McCoy following the hearing.
Jonny McCoy says his client wasn't in court today because he is stuck in a hospital bed, paralyzed from being shot by police officers during the drug raid.
He was shot nine times, but McCoy believes more than 40 shots were fired off in the house. All of those shots came from the guns of police officers.
An initial report from officers stated Betton fired the first shot. However, a SLED investigation finds that to be untrue, Betton never fired his gun.
It also found the officers were justified in their use of force. However, he is still accused of pointing a weapon at those DEU agents.
"So, we're just going to forget the fact that all three were dishonest, not truthful or…mistaken, that he fired a shot?" questioned McCoy.
It's a question that remains unanswered at this time, until more details are released into what happened inside of Betton's home back in April.
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