HAMPTON, SC (WCSC) - A Walterboro man was found guilty Wednesday on all charges related to the December 2009 home invasion, shooting and kidnapping of an elderly Hampton County woman.
Stevie Lamont Aiken, 31, was sentenced to 35 years in prison after a jury found him guilty of armed robbery, first-degree burglary, assault and battery with intent to kill, kidnapping and possession of a weapon during commission of a violent crime.
On Dec. 7, 2009, Aiken and his accomplice, Nathaniel Harris, broke into the home of Margaret Gooding in rural Hampton County, authorities say. After slicing the phone line and throwing two bricks through her bedroom window, Gooding fired on the suspects.
Aiken fired back, striking Gooding twice in the stomach. They then forced her into the trunk of her car and later abandoned the car at an abandoned building outside of Walterboro. On the following afternoon, a concerned resident contacted police about the car and Gooding was found to be still alive.
Harris pleaded guilty in January and was sentenced to 20 years in prison. During the two-day trial, he testified against Aiken. Aiken and another man had recently done yard work for Gooding.
"Mrs. Gooding was alone and was very isolated, which might have made her seem like an easy target," said Solicitor Duffie Stone, who prosecuted the case. "Stevie Aiken knew that and took advantage of it. He didn't bargain on Mrs. Gooding being strong enough to fight back. It is only because of her strength and her unbreakable will to live that this was not a murder case."
Aiken has a lengthy record dating back to a 1993 burglary.
"He's a career criminal who showed no remorse throughout the whole trial," Stone said. "He deserves every day of the 35 years that he received"
She has since moved to an assisted living facility in North Carolina. Her daughter told the court that Gooding had hoped to live out the remainder of her life at her long-time home in Hampton County, but is unable to return and relive what happened to her.
"She has never returned from being in that car," said her daughter Suzette Taylor.