COLLETON COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – Suspended Colleton County Sheriff R.A. Strickland pleaded guilty to several charges during a hearing Friday.

The charges included a felony State Grand Jury charge of breach of trust with fraudulent intent, misconduct in office, and a Colleton County charge of assault and battery third degree.

He pleaded guilty to each charge.

Under a plea agreement, Strickland also agreed to resign as sheriff and relinquish his law enforcement privileges.

For the misconduct and breach of trust charges, the Judge R. Markley Dennis, Jr. sentenced Strickland to five years, suspended upon the service of five years’ probation.  He was also ordered 200 hours of community service and random drug and alcohol testing. 

His lawyer, Andy Savage, spoke in the courtroom saying that Strickland has struggled with depression and alcohol abuse, and for the past year had been undergoing extensive therapy and counseling at the Medical University of South Carolina.

The reason for the reduced sentence is that Strickland continues to pursue treatment for his depression, and formally resigned as sheriff.

Strickland said going forward, he is putting his kids first.

“I get to come home and see my children, I get my children as much as I can, I look forward to getting all of this behind me, a special thank you to a friend of mine who has become a very big mentor, which is Andy Savage, I thought my life was over this last year, but I come to find out it’s just beginning.”

Strickland was arrested back in November of 2019 after hitting his wife with a closed fist following a dispute between the two.

It was also discovered that, while serving as sheriff for Colleton County, he provided alcohol to a subordinate who was under the legal drinking age of 21 while in Horry County.

Additionally, he was also previously accused of using his position as elected Sheriff of Colleton County to get free labor performed on his personal property and for his personal benefit or businesses by subordinate deputies and staff, and was further accused of embezzling public funds for personal use.

During Friday’s hearing, Strickland apologized to the people of Colleton County who he said he “let down,” and apologized to his family members and his children.