CHERAW, S.C. — The same judge who sentenced former Chesterfield County Sheriff Sam Parker to two years in prison heard guilty pleas from two former sheriff’s officials last week. They each received probation.
Judge Lee Alford sentenced former Chesterfield County Jail Administrator Ritchie Rollings to one of year probation for not properly supervising inmates and for allowing an inmate to work on his personal property.
Both Rollings and Harold Hainey, a former captain with the Chesterfield County Sheriff’s Office, were indicted in June of 2013, three months after Parker was indicted and removed from office.
Hainey was sentenced to six months probation. Hainey admitted to having accepted money, and other items for personal profit from an inmate.
Alford handed the sentences down during general sessions court on June 9. Parker, the deputies’ former boss, was previosuly convicted of embezzlement, furnishing contraband to inmates and misconduct in office.
Rollings and Hainey testified under oath during Parker’s trial in April that they were not aware their interactions with inmates were forbidden by law until they attended a workshop outlining those guidelines. Each of the officers also testified that Parker was made aware of the limitations allowed inmates at that time — and ignored their warnings to comply with the law.
The charges filed against Rollings and Hainey were intertwined with the charges brought against Parker, and focused primarily on the officers’ relationship with former Chesterfield County inmate Mike Lee.
Lee, who was sentenced to 10 years for arson, testified during Parker’s trial that his time with the Chesterfield County Detention Center made up some of “the best years of (his) life.”
Several people testified that Lee’s move from the detention center to a renovated room at the Chesterfield Armory, a sheriff’s department compound, afforded him many luxuries other inmates are not allowed.
Parker claimed his reason for allowing Lee to stay at the armory was to save time in preparing emergency vehicles for use.
During the course of Parker’s the trial, testimony revealed that, for years, Lee walked to the post office and around town on a daily basis; without supervision and without a county uniform identifying him as a prisoner. Lee was seen driving deputies’ vehicles, he participated in local parades and attended parties at the sheriff’s house where, on at least one occasion, he was allowed to shoot Parker’s gun in target practice.
Parties were held at the armory, one in honor of Lee’s birthday, that were complete with alcohol, steaks and china dishes. Lee was allowed overnight visitation with his girlfriend and his wife.
In a dramatic statement in court, Lee told the judge the only reason Parker had sent him back to a more secure prison was because Parker learned he was “screwing his wife.”
Parker’s location within the prison system has not been released to the public for his protection. However, the S.C. Department of Corrections has said Parker was moved to a North Carolina facility last month.
Lee is scheduled to be released from the Manning Correctional Facility on Sept. 8.
If Rollings complies with his probation, Alford said his term may be reduced to six months. Hainey’s probation time may also be cut in half for compliance.
Reach reporter Karen Kissiah at 843-537-5261.