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Man guilty of manslaughter gets time-served sentence

Updated: Jun. 9, 2021 at 8:11 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A man who pleaded guilty in the 2018 shooting death of a Ladson woman has been given a sentence of time served and the opportunity to have his record expunged.

Biljoree Curry will not serve anymore jail time in part because of a statute that allows people between the ages of 17 and 25 to have reduced sentences and an opportunity to clear their records.

“The Youthful Offender Act was created by the legislature as a way to at least incentivize younger defendants to complete their sentence and basically stay out of trouble for 5 years,” said Charleston attorney Mark Peper.

At 17 years old, Curry was arrested and charged with murder in connection to the shooting death of Suzanne Richardson. The judge in the case accepted a deal on Friday in which Curry pleaded guilty to manslaughter in exchange for time served. Curry has been behind bars for almost three years.

“There are very few crimes that you plead guilty to under the YOA,” Peper said. “For instance, if it is a crime of violence it does not qualify as a YOA sentence. It has to be a non-violent offence.”

Murder is considered a violent crime, but involuntary manslaughter is not. Under the YOA a judge could have sentenced Curry to a maximum of six years, but he would have only had to serve 10 months. However, because he’s been behind bars for more than two years, no additional jail time was added.

“The carrot, if you will, is anybody convicted under the YOA is then eligible to have that conviction expunged from their record if they go five additional years without any additional convictions,” Peper said.

Peper says having a criminal record can haunt a person long after they have served their sentence. He says the YOA gives young people a chance to clear their names by the time they are 35 at the latest.

Live 5 News reached out to family and friends of Suzanne Richardson for their reaction however they did not get back to us.

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