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Help for homeless after two found dead - Live5News.com | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports

Help for homeless after two found dead

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By Nicole Johnson  bio | email

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A homeless woman murdered, then left dead behind a Nassau Street home. The coroner says Janice Case was strangled to death and left with bruises on her face.

Police arrested 59-year-old James Nehiley and charged him with Case's murder. A judge denied him bond. He will stay behind bars at the county jail.

Police say someone found Case's body behind a home on 97 Nassau Street Friday afternoon. Witnesses say she didn't have any clothes on, appeared badly beaten, and was partially covered with a green blanket. Police say the accused killer, Nehiley, is also homeless.

Case is the second homeless woman found dead in downtown Charleston this week. On Thursday police found a homeless woman, named Anita Tedder, dead in Marion square. Now Charleston community leaders are trying to combat homelessness in the city.

Even before the deaths of two homeless women, State Representative Wendell Gilliard says he made it a mission to help the growing population of homeless people in our area.

"These people are people who once served this country. These people are educators. They paid taxes to this great country," Rep. Gilliard said.

He currently has two resolutions moving through the statehouse. One would have the state gather information to determine whether current shelters can handle all the people, and the other asks for an accurate count of homeless military veterans.

"Then we need to assure we're giving our vets the quality of care they so much deserve," Rep. Gilliard said.

After the homeless woman was found dead at Marion square, Gilliard began drafting another bill affecting the homeless that would make it a hate crime to murder a homeless person. Gilliard says in cases like the Nassau street murder of Janice case, there's no doubt in his mind that the homeless people are targets of crimes.

"They are the first that a preyed upon by criminals because they have to sleep in the street at night. They have to sleep in the forest at night," Rep. Gilliard said.

"They are discriminated against. Yes they are, very much so, and we do need legislation to look at that," homeless advocate Laurachelle White said.

Gilliard also organized a meeting with local church leaders, to share ideas on how to help homeless citizens. In the future he hopes to get input from medical professionals and state and federal politicians for his "Hope for the Homeless" program.

Charleston police say the two homeless women found dead this week are not related cases. They say Anita Tedder who was found dead in Marion square was not murdered, but Janice Case was.

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