Three South Carolina Men Indicted on Federal Civil Rights Charges
WASHINGTON—The Justice Department announced today that a federal grand jury in Florence, South Carolina indicted three men from Marlboro County, South Carolina on charges relating to their attack on an African-American man and two white men in December 2007.
Thomas Howard Blue Sr., 48, Thomas Howard Blue Jr., 28, and Judson Hartley Talbert, 34, were charged in a 21-count indictment with violating and conspiracy to violate the civil rights of three South Carolina citizens, carjacking, use of fire to commit a felony, use of a firearm in relation to a crime of violence, evidence tampering and grand jury perjury. Each civil rights count carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison and $250,000 fine. A trial has not yet been scheduled. An indictment is merely an accusation and defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty.
The grand jury charged that Thomas Howard Blue Sr. forcibly escorted Dahndre Moore out of his establishment known as the Stop and Shop because Moore is African-American. Once outside, Thomas Howard Blue Sr. forced Moore to the ground and Thomas Howard Blue Jr. threatened Moore with a chainsaw. While Moore was being attacked by the father and son, Judson Hartley Talbert stole Moore’s car and drove it to a site along the Great Pee Dee River known as Blue’s Landing. After being chased by the Blues, Moore escaped by running up the road and seeking refuge in a local home.
According to the indictment, Thomas Howard Blue Sr. retrieved a pistol and attacked Jackson Hayes, a white man whom Blue believed to be aiding Moore, and used the pistol to threaten another white man, Jamie Gray, who came to the Stop and Shop to retrieve Moore’s car. Thomas Howard Blue Sr. and Judson Hartley later burnt Moore’s car in an attempt to cover up their crimes. The indictment also alleges the three defendants committed perjury when testifying before a federal grand jury that was investigating the incident.
The case is being investigated by FBI Special Agent Steven Stokes with assistance from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives and Investigator Shawn Feldner of the Marlboro County Sheriff’s Department.
Assistant U.S. Attorney A. Bradley Parham and Civil Rights Division Trial Attorney Michael J. Frank are prosecuting this case.