CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Ninth Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson says she has ideas on how to prevent those charged with violent crimes from committing new crimes while out on bond.

She said this is an issue she has seen for years. While she doesn’t necessarily believe new laws need to be created, Wilson said changes can be made to the penalties offenders face if they reoffend while on bond.

In the first part of a News 2 investigation, we heard from the family of Lequandra Royal. She was shot and killed in Orangeburg in October 2021. Six months later, the man charged with her murder bonded out of jail.

Now Lequandra’s mother, Sharon Royal, said she fears for her safety.

“And my grandchild as well because he’s just one years old,” she said. 

Solicitor Wilson has been watching other families like Sharon Royal’s suffer.

“One of the first murder cases I had the defendant was out on 16 bonds,” she said. “16 different warrants for several events — and he just continued to bond out.”

Just a few weeks ago, police said Justin Moultrie was out on bond for murder when he was accused of shooting and injuring a nine-year-old in Downtown Charleston.

Wilson said repeat offenders have gone too far.

“In my view it should be a totally separate crime and additional crime if you commit crime while on bond,” said Wilson. 

She suggests that changes should be made to the penalties criminals face for committing new crimes while on bond.

“We need sentence enhancements for repeat offenders, we need more bond revocations, we need enhanced bond statutes,” said Wilson.

Now she is making an effort to stop preventable violent crimes.

“I’m talking about people with guns who have them unlawfully, and people who hurt other people,” she said.

Bond reform is also an issue Charlie Condon dealt with during his time as South Carolina’s Attorney General and a solicitor in the Lowcountry.

He said if the pendulum swung too far on denying bond, there could be impacts to consider.

“The net effect of that will be there will be lots of innocent people who are either factually innocent or legally innocent who will be sitting pretrial,” said Condon. “You could quickly have an overcrowding problem.”

He does not believe it is a one size fits all approach.

“There are some defendants that should not have been released that have been out there and committed other crimes that could have been prevented with an adequate and fair bond,” he said. “But you don’t hear about the other ones in which the bond might’ve been too high given the circumstances.”

For Solicitor Wilson, her focus is on addressing those accused of dangerous crimes. 

“This is happening over and over again and people are sick of it — I’m sick of it,” she said.

Wilson said the next steps are bringing attention and getting lawmakers in the Lowcountry on board with addressing those who are committing new crimes while on bond.

She has been working with lawmakers to make changes. She even teamed up with other elected officials in 2019 to hold a press conference on how they plan to address repeat offenders. She continues to hold similar conversations today.