Evidence Dismissed in Rick Chow’s Murder Case

Judge Robert Hood ruled on Thursday that evidence collected during search warrants against Rick Chow, the Columbia gas station owner accused of the fatal shooting of 14-year-old Cyrus Carmack-Belton in May, will be dismissed. The decision was based on the lack of “probable cause” in the search warrant, thereby violating Chow’s Fourth Amendment rights and his rights under the South Carolina Constitution against unlawful searches.

The July 7th search yielded personal items, including Chow’s laptops containing banking information. Jack Swerling, a member of Chow’s defense, argued that the warrant exceeded its scope. Deputy Solicitor April Sampson countered that the state required access to find potential store policies about shoplifting.

Chow allegedly shot Carmack-Belton after wrongfully accusing him of shoplifting water bottles. Todd Rutherford, representing the Carmack-Belton family, stated his belief that the evidence’s dismissal would not affect the case’s outcome.

During the hearing, Judge Hood cautioned SLED agents from examining the seized evidence. He highlighted in his Thursday order that the recovered items were not utilized in the crime Chow is charged with. Chow’s request for bail on the murder charge was declined in August.

Lou Nightingale
Author: Lou Nightingale

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