Beaufort man jailed after alleged abuse, torture

emoody@beaufortgazette.comApril 22, 2013 


A Beaufort man is in jail after allegedly beating a woman, shoving a pistol in her mouth, torturing her and threatening her life, according to police reports.

Leonard Marcels Burkett, 27, is charged with third-degree and high-and-aggravated criminal domestic violence, fleeing to evade authorities, and possession of a firearm during commission of a violent crime, according to the Beaufort County Detention Center log.

He is being held for prosecution, with bond set at $101,092.

The incident began Saturday night, continued into Sunday and was responded to by Port Royal and Beaufort police departments.

A witness told 911 dispatchers that when he drove by the 1300 block of Ribaut Road at about noon Sunday, he saw a man and woman arguing and she screamed for help. The witness honked his horn to distract the man, who walked toward Southside Boulevard before police apprehended him.

The woman told police that Burkett woke her at 11:30 p.m. Saturday. He punched her about 20 times and spat in her face several times. He forced her into the bathroom, dumped cold water on her several times. He later urinated on her.

Burkett also put an unloaded gun in her mouth and pulled the trigger. He beat her on the head again and dug his fingers and nails into her cheeks. This continued for about an hour, and at 2:45 a.m., he let her go to bed, the report said.

In the morning, Burkett allowed her to go to church with the three children in the home. At the last minute, he decided to go with them and asked her for bank account information so he could get money from her, according to the report.

At some point, Burkett hid the victim's cellphone and the home phone, according to the report. She told police she did not try to leave because she had learned from previous encounters he would harm her.

The officer observed scratches on the victim's cheeks, neck and chest, and her left hand and right forearm were swollen.

In 2012, Burkett pleaded guilty to domestic violence charges and was released from jail Dec. 18, according to the jail log.

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