Anderson Co. Sheriff’s Office re-examines deadly 2014 shooting

ANDERSON, SC (FOX Carolina) –

It’s a shooting many thought was put to rest in Anderson County, but now may see the light of day again.

“It’s hard. It gets to a point where they seem to open it back up, like they have evidence that they need….and then nothing,” Jo Pickens said.

Jo Pickens’s son, 28-year-old Leandus Pickens, was shot back in April 2014 at a home on Greenland Road in Anderson County. The man who pulled the trigger said Pickens was trying to get into his home and he shot the suspected intruder.

It’s really hard, no one expects to have to bury their child,” Jo Pickens said.

Pickens said the coroner’s report points out red flags…details that push her to believe that her son was innocent.

“He was sweet in nature, mild mannered, outgoing, friendly. H didn’t meet a stranger and he had a very kind heart,” Jo Pickens said.

Pickens explained her son would not enter a home unwelcomed, especially to someone he knew. Officials said Pickens and the man who pulled the trigger knew each other for more than a decade.

Anderson County Sheriff Chad McBride is asking investigators to re-examine the case. The decision came after a nationally known private investigator, Laura Petller, presented information to the sheriff’s office.

“As a mom I want it to happen but I’m not getting my hopes up,” said Pickens. “It’s been four years but every time, it always comes back to the same thing.”

While the case was being investigated, the late 10th Circuit Solicitor Chrissy Adams said:

“Despite Deputy coroner Don McCown’s initial opinions and speculations as stated in his coroner’s report, my office and the sheriff’s office and the coroner’s office are now in agreement that the castle doctrine applies and bars prosecution in this case. No prints belonging to Mr. Pickens were found. There is no evidence to suggest that Mr. Pickens was ever a welcome guest at the home that evening.”

The man who pulled the trigger was not criminally charged. FOX Carolina reached out to him for comment, and he declined to provide a statement.

The castle doctrine states a homeowner can use deadly force to protect his home. The coroner said Pickens’s death is still ruled a homicide, with one gunshot wound to the chest.

The coroner said the circumstances surrounding the gunshot are questionable. A decision whether to re-open the case should come within the next week or two.

Copyright 2018 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.