Lexington, SC - Eric English, age 30, was found guilty of Criminal Sexual Conduct with a Minor in the First Degree on January 10, 2018, in Lexington County General Sessions Court for the sexual assault of a minor under the age of 11. Circuit Court Judge Eugene C. Griffith, Jr., presided over the trial of this case and imposed a sentence under seal because English failed to appear for trial. On April 9, 2018, the sentence was unsealed and English received a 40 year sentence.
Solicitor Rick Hubbard commented that “our office is dedicated to seeking justice for victims in our circuit. This little girl was brave enough to testify during the trial and it is our hope that she has closure. English will be in the Department of Corrections where he belongs.”
Law enforcement began an investigation on March 4, 2014, when the victim disclosed sexual abuse by English. The victim was assaulted in Lexington County in March of 2014 while under the age of eleven (11). The victim was immediately referred to Palmetto Health Richland Hospital in Columbia for a sexual assault examination in which evidence was collected during the exam that was critical during the trial of this case. The victim testified during the trial regarding the sexual assault committed against her by English.
The State was prepared to call this case for trial in November of 2017. However, over the objection of the Solicitor’s Office, English was granted a continuance, released on a personal recognizance bond, and was given permission to leave the State of South Carolina.
After being properly notified of trial, English was tried in his absence after he failed to appear on his trial date. On January 10, 2018, a Lexington County jury took less than twenty (20) minutes to convict English. A General Sessions Bench Warrant was issued for his arrest and a multi-state manhunt ensued in an effort to bring him in to custody.
Later that afternoon, English was identified by officers near an apartment complex in Polk County, Florida, and over forty (40) local law enforcement officers were on the ground in an effort to apprehend him. However, English was able to allude law enforcement for over two weeks until he was ultimately apprehended in Naples, Florida, on January 29, 2018. English opposed extradition and was eventually extradited on March 28, 2018, and brought to Lexington County. His sentence was unsealed on April 9, 2018. English filed a motion requesting that his sentence be reconsidered. Today, Judge Griffith held a hearing to reconsider the sentence, denied English’s motion to reconsider, and affirmed the original sentence.
The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant Solicitor Rhonda Patterson and Assistant Solicitor Bradley Pogue of the Eleventh Circuit Solicitor’s Office. The Lexington County Sheriff’s Department handled the investigation of this case.
Senior Assistant Solicitor Patterson remarked that “crimes against children are some of the most difficult and important cases we prosecute. Eric English earned this lengthy sentence for victimizing this child in one of the most horrendous ways possible.”