Comments Off on Mother, boyfriend of woman killed in Goose Creek apartment fire arrested on meth lab charges

MONCKS CORNER — He’s had enough.

A magistrate setting bail Friday night for the third and fourth suspects to be charged in the wake of a fatal apartment building fire declared that methamphetamine is an epidemic in the area and “it’s time to get it stopped.”

A meth lab was found in the ruins of the May 31 fire that killed three people and gutted a 16-unit building at Pine Harbour apartments in Goose Creek, authorities said.

Authorities on Friday announced the arrests of two more people in connection with a meth lab found at the site of this fatal fire in Goose Creek.

 The remains of an apartment building at Pine Harbour apartments that fire ravaged. 
Authorities on Friday announced the arrests of two more people in connection with a meth lab found at the site of this fatal fire in Goose Creek.

No one has been accused of causing the fire, which still is under investigation, but three men and a woman are now jailed on charges related to making meth in apartment D-80, which is where the fire is believed to have started.

Magistrate James A. Polk set bail at $35,000 for Alberta Pierson, 35, whose address was apartment D-80. Warrants allege that Pierson permitted her 12-year-old daughter to be exposed to dangerous chemicals used to make methamphetamine.

She faces charges of conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine and unlawful conduct toward a child.

Also Friday, Polk set bail at $15,000 for Michael Still, 19, of Royle Road in Sangaree, who is accused of obtaining materials used in meth-making. Polk said the charge of conspiracy to manufacture meth made against Still includes earlier alleged procurement of chemicals and equipment needed to make meth.


Shonni Segrest Abernathy (left) and Jerald Edward McCabe were arrested earlier this week.Shonni Segrest Abernathy (left) and Jerald Edward McCabe were arrested earlier this week.




On Wednesday, Polk set bails totaling $370,000 each for Pierson’s common-law husband, 39-year-old Shonni “Scooter” Abernathy, and a family friend, 33-year-old Jerry McCabe. Both are charged with attempting to manufacture meth and exposing children to meth-making materials.

Local, federal and state authorities are probing the fire, which took the lives of Abernathy’s and Pierson’s daughter, 19-year-old Morgan Abernathy; the cousin she was babysitting, 4-year-old Sammy Garbe; and 69-year-old veteran Joseph Raeth.

Though their hearings were separate, Polk told Pierson and Still Friday that he hopes they have learned just “how dangerous methamphetamine is.”

He told Pierson that she is accused of exposing her child “to a dangerous climate, chemicals and hazards, and also training the child that this is how to make money in life.”

Ricky Mixon, Pierson’s uncle, spoke favorably of her in court and asked Polk to consider a personal-recognizance bond. Mixon said the Department of Social Services has given him and his wife, Glenda Mixon, temporary custody of Pierson’s daughter.

DSS will permit Pierson to visit the daughter as long as one of the Mixons is present, he said.

Polk agreed to order visitation to be permitted, per the DSS arrangement. “I trust their evaluation,” Polk said. But, the judge added, Pierson cannot contact her daughter by social media. “Stay off of Facebook,” he ordered.

Mixon said he has known Pierson “all my life and I practically raised her. She is no flight risk at all. She works 60 to 70 hours a week,” he said.

Alan Still, the father of Michael Still, spoke on his son’s behalf. “He’s never got in no trouble, and he always works,” the elder Still said.

Polk noted that neither Still nor Pierson has prior convictions. But he warned the suspects that they are playing a deadly game.

“By now, everyone is aware of the consequences of what meth can do,” Polk said at Still’s hearing. “It’s an addictive, killing drug and we have an epidemic of it around here, and it’s time to get it stopped,” Polk said.

Investigators said they found chemicals and other materials in the rubble that are commonly used to make meth. Affidavits say Abernathy and McCabe had been making meth the morning before the fire.

Abernathy and McCabe have criminal records and were on probation. Past crime reports indicate that each struggled with substance abuse.

The affidavits in Pierson’s warrant state that investigations revealed a meth lab operational in her apartment, and members of her family had been manufacturing methamphetamine inside her residence “for a lengthy period of time.”

Also, the documents state that “friends and family members,” including Pierson, knowingly purchased materials needed for the volatile brew. The warrant also states that Pierson “made five documented purchases” of meth-making materials, dating to August of last year.

A mob of apartment residents attacked Still after he emerged from the fire, saying he left people inside, according to witnesses and police reports.

Relatives of Pierson expressed shock at the arrests. But they have called for justice regardless of who is responsible.

“Right now, we still don’t want to speculate and point fingers,” said Pierson’s brother, 31-year-old Allen Pierson of Ladson. “We don’t care who it is. If they’re guilty, they’re guilty.”


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