Bond set at $370k for men arrested in connection to meth lab fire

Abernathy and McCabe (Source: BCSO)
Abernathy and McCabe (Source: BCSO)

GOOSE CREEK, SC (WCSC) - Bond was set at $370,000 each for two men allegedly responsible for operating a meth lab in the apartment unit which caught fire and claimed the lives of three people in Goose Creek last Thursday.

Authorities have charged 39-year-old Shonni Segrest Abernathy and 33-year-old Jerald Edward McCabe with attempting to manufacture methamphetamine, two counts of manufacturing methamphetamine in the presence of a minor and manufacturing methamphetamine in the presence of a minor that resulted in death.

Court officials said both Abernathy and McCabe are in violation of their probations.  According to the Dorchester County Sheriff's Office, Abernathy was put on probation after he was caught burglarizing a Summerville home last December.

According to the report, the homeowner held Abernathy at gunpoint until deputies arrived on scene.

During the bond hearing, it was revealed that the night before the fire, another child was exposed to meth in the apartment at the Pine Harbour Apartment Complex. Family members say the child was not present in the apartment when the fire started.

Authorities recommended to the judge that monitoring GPS systems be placed on both Abernathy and McCabe if they were to bond out.

Investigators say they sifted through rubble for a couple days until they found the remains of the meth lab in one of the apartments.

Shonni Abernathy is the father of 19-year-old Morgan Abernathy, one of three people killed in the fire.  4-year-old Samuel Garbe, also present in that apartment, died too, as did 69-year-old Joseph Raeth, who lived in an adjacent unit.

Moon said both men were arrested without incident and are currently being held at the Hill Finklea Detention Center.

But the court proceedings won't be anything new for either of the suspects. Both have lengthy criminal records.

Burglary, possession of cocaine and an arrest for carrying meth are just a sample of the eight pages of Shonni Abernathy's arrest record, which dates back to 1993.

McCabe's record goes back to 1997 and includes arrests for drugs, burglary and grand larceny.

Now both men have new charges to add to their rap sheets. The investigation into the cause of the fire is ongoing and more charges may be pending.

The Berkeley County Sheriff's Office is asking for anyone with information in regards to the incident to please contact the Berkeley County Sheriff's Office at 843-723-3800 or Crime Stoppers at 843-554-1111.

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