Charleston family ‘devasted’ after son’s killer gets early release from prison
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - After nearly 20 years since their son’s death at the hands of another, the Smalls family finally felt like they had finally reached some semblance of healing.
Carl “Dash” Smalls Jr., who was from the Charleston area, played football at the University of South Carolina, according to our sister station in Columbia. At the time of his death, he was playing for the University of North Carolina.
Smalls was killed during an altercation at a club in Columbia in 2002.
But his family recently got a call they’d never expected.
“We were devastated,” the victim’s mother Lillie Smalls said.
They were informed by a victim advocate and later a robocall about the release of their son’s convicted murderer just hours before it was scheduled.
Jaroid Price was serving time for the murder of Smalls.
“It was very hard. You try to take it with grace, even though you’re still upset. It’s like really there’s nothing you can do because no one gave you a voice,” sister Andriane Smalls said. “We have to re-heal again.”
“Now we’re right back at the same point again I don’t rest well. It’s very hard to deal with it. You know and it’s like it’s so unfair to us,” Lillie said.
His family remembers him as a headstrong person, but also kind-hearted and respectful.
A jury found Price guilty of murdering the West Ashley native at a Columbia nightclub.
After a week-long trial, it took them just 30 minutes to convict.
Their safety, the Smalls family said, is also now a concern for them because it’s unclear what Prices’ whereabouts are.
Earlier this year, a sealed order that came from Judge Casey Manning made him a free man 16 years early.
According to 5th Circuit Solicitor Byron Gipson, Price had provided “significant help to law enforcement” and his office was considering making a motion to consider early release because of this cooperation.
But before they could do so, the order had already been signed.
“It just seems as though the scale of justice is tilted toward the criminals and I always look at that as I call it the criminal assistance system,” father Carl Smalls said.
“It just makes you wonder really what is really going on,” Andriane Smalls said. “Has he done this to any other families?”
They also have concerns about the involvement of Price’s lawyer, State Representative Todd Rutherford.
Smalls was just 22 years old at the time of his death, had been attending University of North Carolina and was a Defensive tackle on the football team. He also spent a brief time on the University of South Carolina football team.
Smalls was a graduate from the former St. Andrews High School, now West Ashley High School, as a player on the Rocks’ football team.
On Thursday, the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled that the order be unsealed.
“Had it not been for the detective and solicitor who all was on our case, they may have gotten by with this,” Lillie said.
They ultimately hope that Price will be returned to prison and those who signed off on the order be held accountable.
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