Former Horry County police officer, school teacher’s assault trial set to begin Friday

troot@thesunnews.comMarch 6, 2014 

The assault trial of a former Horry County school teacher and police officer is set to begin Friday morning, a day after it was originally scheduled.

Kevin Lee Duke, 49, of Little River was set to be tried Thursday, but because of missing paperwork involving a statement he made to police , Circuit Court Judge Craig Brown postponed the trial a day.

As part of the discovery of evidence a five-page report was sent from the 15th Circuit Solicitor’s Office to Duke’s attorney, Billy Monckton, but he never received the fifth page, Monckton said.

Prosecutors had paperwork where the report was sent and received, but the last page was missing. That page contained information about Duke making a statement to police following the Dec. 21, 2012, incident in the parking lot of Wal-Mart in North Myrtle Beach.

The missing page of the report was not intentional, Brown said.

Monckton had requested a continuance in the trial, but Brown said he would postpone it until Friday. Monckton could use Thursday to investigate and interview witnesses about the statement, Brown said.

Duke has been free on $2,500 bail since he was charged Dec. 23, 2012, with second-degree assault and battery and third-degree assault and battery stemming from the incident.

Duke had worked with Horry County Schools since Dec. 12, 2012, which was five days before the winter break, after he was hired to teach at St. James High School, said Teal Harding, Horry County Schools spokeswoman.

Duke’s employment with the school district was terminated on Jan. 28, 2013, Harding said.

Duke had worked with Horry County police since May 1991 until he retired as a lieutenant in November 2011, said Lisa Bourcier, Horry County spokeswoman. He returned to work as a patrol officer on Nov. 16, 2011, and then left on May 20.

Duke’s trial stemmed from an incident about 6 p.m. Dec. 21, 2012, when North Myrtle Beach police were called to the Wal-Mart parking lot at 550 U.S. 17 N. in the city limits for an assault, according to a police report. Officers learned that the victims were taken to Seacoast Medical Center by EMS, so they went to that location.

A 51-year-old man and his 47-year-old wife, whose hometown was redacted from the report, told police that they were in the parking lot waiting for a parking space in Row 8 when the incident occurred, according to the police report. The woman told police that she got out of their car to retrieve a shopping cart and her husband was driving their vehicle and waited for a parking spot to open.

While there, the woman said a man driving a silver BMW was behind their vehicle and the driver revved its engine, according to the report. The woman said the BMW driver quickly pulled around their vehicle, blew his horn and flashed his lights at her husband in their vehicle.

The woman said when the parking space was free, her husband pulled their vehicle into it and the BMW driver pulled up beside her, according to the report. The woman said the driver, who was identified as Duke, cursed at her and her husband before he jumped out of his vehicle.

The woman said Duke attacked her husband, punching him in the head, face and body several times as she tried to pull him away and yelled for him to stop, according to the report. The woman said Duke turned and started to punch her, but her husband pulled her away and Duke began to punch her husband again.

The woman got Duke’s license plate number and called 911, according to the report. The woman said Duke then got back in his vehicle and drove away.

Police said the tag was registered to Duke for a GMC Canyon.

Soon after the incident, Duke called North Myrtle Beach police to report he had been assaulted in the parking lot of the store, but he refused to return to the scene or meet with police, according to the report. Officers got surveillance video that showed Duke as the aggressor in the incident.

“Mr. Duke jumped out of his vehicle unprovoked and initiated the assault against both” victims, the officer wrote in the report.

The male victim suffered three broken bones in his head, a black eye and cuts to his eye that required stitches, according to the report. The female victim had marks on her cheek, ear and arm.

Contact TONYA ROOT at 444-1723.

Myrtle Beach Sun News is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service