A man accused of murder and assault and battery with intent to kill related to a 2009 incident in Myrtle Beach, entered an Alford on Monday instead of going to trial.
Bruce Olen Underwood was set to begin a trial on indictments for murder in the death of George Allen Pennell and assault and battery with intent to kill in the beating of Timothy Regimball, said Bradley Richardson, senior assistant solicitor with the 15th Judicial Circuit. He entered the Alford plea to voluntary manslaughter.
In an Alford plea, the defendant does not admit guilt, but acknowledges a jury would likely convict based on the evidence.
A judge sentenced Underwood to 22 years in prison without parole.
His co-defendant Timothy Wayne Haley previously pleaded guilty to assault and battery with intent to kill.
Haley admitted to beating Regimball, but denied any part in the beating death of Pennell, the solicitor said.
The incidents occurred Feb. 19, 2009 when Pennell and Regimball were found beaten “savagely” in a shared campsite off S.C. 15 and Boundary Street in Myrtle Beach.
Haley and Underwood lived on a separate campsite nearby, according to the solicitor. Pennell was pronounced dead at the scene due to a blunt force trauma to his head and other injuries. Regimball suffered a fractured skull with damage to his left eye and broken ribs. He spent several days in the hospital, but survived.
Myrtle Beach police arrested both men on charges of murder and assault and battery with intent to kill.
Haley was jailed until his plea. Underwood was released on bond in October 2011. Richardson said Underwood failed to appear in court and a bench warrant was issued for his arrest. He was found in California.
According to Richardson, Haley has a previous conviction for first degree assault in Alabama.
Contact TONYA ROOT at 444-1723.