GOOSE CREEK, SC (WCSC) - A man who burglarized a Goose Creek home and was subsequently captured by the homeowner has been sentenced to 45 years in prison.
Solicitor Scarlett A. Wilson announced on Tuesday afternoon that a Berkeley County jury convicted 60-year-old Fred Freeman for breaking into a Goose Creek family's home.
"After a two-day jury trial, Circuit Court Judge Maite Murphy sentenced Freeman to 45 years in prison for the charge of Burglary 1st Degree, and a concurrent 5-year sentence for Possession of a Weapon During the Commission of a Violent Crime," said officials with the Ninth Solicitor's Office.
According to prosecutors, Freeman's criminal history dates back to 1975, and includes multiple convictions for burglary, housebreaking, grand larceny, and various other property crimes.
Authorities say the homeowners and one of their young daughters came home during a torrential rainstorm the night of the incident.
When they opened their front door, they saw Freeman standing in their living room.
"Unbeknownst to them, Freeman had broken a window on the side of the home to gain entry, and had already plundered through various rooms of the house, stealing two pistols, jewelry, a wallet and food items," prosecutors said.
Court records state that upon seeing Freeman, the wife grabbed their daughter, ran outside, locked themselves and their family dog in her car and called 911.
"Her husband charged toward Freeman, chasing him through the back of the house and attempted to apprehend him," the solicitor's office said."Freeman was able to break free of the homeowner's grasp and they continued into the fenced in backyard."
Authorities say prior to attempting to climb over the fence, Freeman turned toward the homeowner, at which time he saw Freeman was holding one of the stolen handguns and a bag containing other stolen property.
According to prosecutors, the homeowner threw a lawn chair at Freeman as he was trying to get over fence, then while trying to grab him again, both men fell over the fence and landed on a concrete slab on the other side.
A report states the homeowner landed on Freeman, and attempted to hold him on the ground.
"A neighbor had heard the commotion and came outside to find them still fighting over the pistol," prosecutors said.
The neighbor was able to gain possession of the gun, then called 911.
The Ninth Solicitor's Office said the homeowner was able to maintain control of Freeman on the ground until Goose Creek Police officers arrived and took Freeman into custody.
According to investigators, when Freeman was arrested, he had the victim's stolen wallet and jewelry in his pants pockets.
"When officers located the bag he was holding while trying to escape from the home, they found the second pistol and other items that had been taken from the home," prosecutors said."The case was prosecuted by Deputy Solicitor Bryan Alfaro and Assistant Solicitor Benjamin Dennis."