GOOSE CREEK, SC (WCSC) - The man convicted in a deadly meth lab explosion and fire in Goose Creek that killed his own daughter and two other people was sentenced on Wednesday to 30 years in federal prison.
Shonni Abernathy pleaded guilty in 2013 to two counts of manufacturing methamphetamine where children reside and conspiring to manufacture methamphetamine.
The charges stem from a meth lab explosion and fire that happened in May of 2012 at the Pine Harbour Apartments in Goose Creek.
The fire killed Abernathy's daughter, 19-year-old Morgan Abernathy and two other people; 4-year-old Samuel Garbe and 69-year-old Joseph Raeth.
Last September, Jerald McCabe, who was also convicted on the same charges, was sentenced to 25 years in prison. Abernathy and McCabe both faced a maximum of life in prison and a fine of $10 million.
The May 31, 2012 fire destroyed over a dozen units in the apartment located on Harbour Lake Drive. Investigators say a used, one-pot meth lab was found in the apartment where the fire began, as well as other chemicals used to manufacture methamphetamine.
Authorities say the Abernathy and McCabe made meth in the apartment on numerous occasions.
Abernathy's daughter was one of the victims in the fire, along with her 4-year-old cousin she was looking after, Samuel Garbe. Raeth, a 69-year-old veteran, was living in an adjacent apartment at the time of the explosion and was also killed.
In 2012, SLED agent Max Dorsey testified before a congressional committee regarding how methamphetamine is impacting South Carolina and referred to the Goose Creek fire and its victims.
"These people did nothing wrong. They were victims of circumstance," Dorsey said.
"I've been involved in law enforcement in Berkeley County for many, many years and this has been one of the most tragic events ever to occur in the Goose Creek community," said Sheriff Wayne Dewitt at the time of the incident. "I think about a 4-year-old child, a 19 year old and then a man who served his country honorably in the military. Just senseless losses. So we hope we can go forward at this point."