Alexander gets probation decision
A Cross Hill man convicted of accessory after the fact of murder is being returned to prison for 2 years.
A Facebook report today said Will Alexander, convicted in 2014 in connection with the strangulation death of EA Asbill, 19, of Clinton, was returned to prison following a hearing this morning at the Laurens County Judicial/Services Center. General Sessions Court was last week and this week for Laurens County.
A previous report said Alexander was arrested in late June by the SC Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services. The arrest was made on a public safety warrant, according to SCDPPP Public Information Director Pete O’Boyle, issued because Alexander allegedly violated the terms of his probation by testing positive for methamphetamines and amphetamines.
Alexander, 34, of 50 Jaybird Lane in Cross Hill, was booked at the Johnson Detention Center on $75,000 bond. A previous report said that Alexander also was arrested in October 2016 for allegedly violating the terms of his probation by testing positive for meth and cocaine. His bond at that time was set at $100,000.
Another man convicted in the strangulation death, Michael Beaty of Clinton (found guilty of murder), has an appeal decision pending before the South Carolina Supreme Court. He is serving a life without parole sentence.
PREVIOUS: The Clinton Chronicle, October, 2014
Alexander gets three years,
convicted of accessory to murder
By Vic MacDonald
A Cross Hill man convicted of aiding a cover up in the homicide of a Clinton teen in 2013 will spend three years in prison, a circuit court judge announced Friday.
Will Alexander was convicted last month of accessory after the fact of murder in what his lawyer said is “a media-driven case.”
Alexander was found guilty of helping Michael Beaty, accused of murder, cover up what happened to Emily-Anna Asbill the night she was found in her car at a Clinton residence, strangled to death.
Beaty allegedly strangled Asbill, his sometimes-girlfriend, with a USB cord, forensic evidence at Alexander’s trial showed.
Alexander gave seven statements to authorities related to what Beaty and Asbill did the night of June 29, 2013, which later led to Asbill being declared dead at the local hospital early the next morning.
In asking the judge for probation for Alexander, his attorney Public Defender Chelsea McNeill said it was Asbill who attended an “out of control” party that night, Asbill who had semen in her according to her autopsy with DNA that did not match Beaty or Alexander, and Asbill whose blood-alcohol level was twice the legal limit.
“I baptized Will long ago,” retired First Presbyterian Church, Clinton, pastor Dr. Joe Brooks said in a statement on Alexander’s behalf. “Will has had difficulty with an illness. I don’t know what the right thing is in this case.”
Brooks said the late circuit judge Jim Johnson, whose portrait hangs in the courtroom where Alexander was tried, convicted and sentenced, and the late Bill Alexander, District 56 educator and Will Alexander’s father, “played football together.”
“Jim Johnson would do the right thing (probation), you will, too,” Brooks said to Judge Griffith.
Griffith’s sentence of Alexander was seven years suspended to three years in prison, credit for 104 days already served (before getting bond and later while awaiting sentencing), and court-mandated drug and mental illness treatment and counseling.
Alexander is to be subject to random drug tests while he is in prison and on probation.
Alexander did not make a statement to the court, and he did not testify at his trial.
“It has been very difficult for us, too,” his mother, Jane Alexander, told the court, after EA Asbill’s mother, Emily Joy, addressed the court in a victim’s impact statement.
“Will and I have had a whole year together (awaiting trial),” Jane Alexander said. “Will suffers from a severe mental illness.”
Eighth Circuit Solicitor David Stumbo said that illness does not explain or mitigate Alexander’s actions. “This (victim’s) family’s been jerked around,” Stumbo said. “To this day there is a lack of cooperation.”
“It is shocking,” Stumbo said, “not because Will Alexander took (Asbill’s) life, but there is a pattern of deception and selfishness that is atrocious.”
“No parent should have to bury their child,” Joy said. “(Alexander) could have stopped it. We ask for the maximum sentence to begin closure and justice for EA.”
“She always wanted the best for everyone else,” Amanda Asbill, the victim’s older sister by three and a half year said in a letter read to the court (Amanda Asbill was in class at the College of Charleston during the sentencing on Friday). “We stuck by each other. One of my best memories was in Florida, she visited me and we swam with the dolphins, something I had promised her for years. ...
“She was ruthlessly, cruelly and brutally taken from us.”
Stumbo told the court last Tuesday he attended the silent witness ceremony at the Statehouse in Columbia, at the invitation of SC Attorney General Alan Wilson.
Emily Joy was there, Stumbo said, and a silhouette on display represented EA Asbill, as one of the 47 victims of death at the hands of a significant other in South Carolina in 2013.
“Will Alexander is not responsible for the death of Emily- Anna Asbill,” McNeill said. “Will Alexander wanted to help the prosecution, he really, truly did. ... He is completely freaked out he cannot recall (the night of June 29, 2013). It has caused him anxiety, panic and severe remorse. Despite the jury’s verdict, I truly believe in no way he tried to cover up what happened. (Alexander) is a mentally ill drug addict, and that is a toxic, toxic combination. He doesn’t know what he saw that night.
“No purpose would be served,” McNeill said, “by having this young man in prison.”
After the sentencing, Alexander was led away to begin serving the three-year sentence.