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Press Release

"Home Front": Spartanburg Domestic Violence Initiative Nets Another Firearms Guilty Plea in Federal Court

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of South Carolina
Multi-agency partnership launched in December 2016

Columbia, South Carolina ---- United States Attorney Beth Drake stated today that Herbert Daniel Fitch, age 48, of Simpsonville, pled guilty in federal court in Greenville to a single-count indictment charging violations of felon in possession of a firearms and ammunition and possession of firearms and ammunition after sustaining a conviction for a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence. United States District Timothy M. Cain accepted the plea and will impose sentence after United States Probation prepares a pre-sentence report. Fitch has prior prohibiting convictions to include three prior convictions for domestic violence, and therefore, is prohibited under federal law from possessing firearms or ammunition. He faces a maximum sentence of ten years in federal prison and remains in custody.

Evidence presented at the guilty plea hearing established that on July 28, 2016, members of the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) responded to a 911 call from the Caroline Inn and Suites where sounds of a woman screaming as well as a possible gunshot sound were captured.  Upon their arrival, SCSO found the disturbance to be coming from Room 212 where they encountered Herbert Fitch with a gun in his waistband.  As SCSO heard additional commotion from inside Room 212, Fitch fled. SCSO quickly located Fitch attempting to leave the hotel in a vehicle.  After Fitch disregarded SCSO’s commands for him to stop the vehicle, SCSO used stop sticks to deflate Fitch’s tires.  Fitch remained uncooperative though until he eventually surrendered to law enforcement.  SCSO recovered two rounds of 9mm ammunition and a knife from the vehicle.  Fitch was also out on bond when this conduct occurred for another pending criminal domestic violence arrest from 2015.

The prosecution of Fitch’s case in federal court is a direct result of “Home Front,” a focused deterrence-based initiative to combat domestic violence led by 7th Circuit Solicitor Barry Barnette.  The initiative launched in December of 2016 and has the full support and partnership of the U.S. Attorney’s Office. This case and others are being prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer Wells, who is a 7th Circuit Assistant Solicitor specially designated by the United States Attorney’s Office to handle cases from the Seventh Circuit. Modelled after a program started in High Point, North Carolina, members of the Home Front task force began earlier this fall, meeting with representatives from every police department in Spartanburg county as well as the Sheriff’s Office.  The Spartanburg County State Probation office and victim’s advocate stalwart, SAFE Homes, also serve as critical partners in this effort.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, domestic violence is a community crime problem that costs the United States over $5.8 billion every year. It is a major drain on law enforcement resources as domestic violence generates a high volume of calls and repeated calls to the same location. Domestic violence homicides make up 40–50 percent of all murders of women in the United States. Women who have experienced a history of domestic violence report more health problems than other women and they have a greater risk for substance abuse, unemployment, alcoholism, and suicide attempts. Research shows that the repeat domestic violence offender tends to have a significant criminal history that includes a wide range of both domestic violence and non-domestic violence offenses. Most of these offenders are readily identified as they are known to the criminal justice system. The Home Front initiative exposes the repeat domestic violence offender to sanctions because of his pattern of criminal behavior.

According to the 2015 Violence Policy Center “When Men Murder Women” report, South Carolina led the nation in rates of women murdered by men. Sixty-six percent (66%) of the victims were killed with a firearm and ninety-six percent (96%) of women murdered were killed by someone they knew. In Spartanburg County during the 2015 calendar year, SAFE Homes serviced 6726 victims of domestic violence. In the same time frame, the Spartanburg Police Department charged 907 domestic violence cases and the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office charged 1068 domestic violence cases. There were fourteen (14) domestic related deaths in Spartanburg County in 2015.

Solicitor Barnette has had enough.  “Domestic violence is violence, period.  It continues to plague our community--so costly and harmful to families and children, persisting year after year.  It is time for these offenders to get our best shot—our best efforts.  That is Home Front.”

United States Attorney Beth Drake agrees.  “The U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) welcome the opportunity to partner with Solicitor Barnette and state law enforcement, and to use federal gun laws to pull violent offenders who are abusing their families and loved ones out of the community.  The goal is simple – stop the abuse, or swift and sure, the full force of a coordinated law enforcement effort will come to bear to stop you from abusing.  Home Front takes the burden of addressing abusers from the victims and shifts it to us – a very engaged group of local, state, and federal law enforcement.”

The Spartanburg Police Department and ATF investigated the Fitch case. Seventh Circuit Assistant Solicitor Jennifer Wells, serving as a Special Assistant United States Attorney for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, is prosecuting the case.



Lance Crick (864) 282-2105

Updated September 1, 2017

Firearms Offenses