Missing evidence in a 2011 Hardeeville murder case has been found by the state investigators who reopened the stalled case in April, according to interim Police Chief Sam Woodward.
The S.C. Law Enforcement Division is nearly finished with its examination of the July 2011 slaying of 24-year-old Joseph Kilpatrick of Pineland, Woodward said. State officials completed an audit of the Hardeeville Police Department's evidence room last week and are preparing their final report, which will be sent to the 14th Circuit Solicitor's Office for review, he said.
That report will likely include recommendations for improving the evidence vault, Woodward said. The interim chief says he has some ideas for improvements, but declined to comment further before he reads SLED's report.
"A lot of it might match what I'm already thinking of anyway," he said. "We'll just have to wait and see."
Police, Solicitor Duffie Stone and SLED representatives have declined to say what evidence was lost.
Stone said he asked SLED to reopen the case in early April and to determine whether there was any relation between lead investigator Alexis Webber and two of the men initially charged in Kilpatrick's death -- Daquan Aki Aiken, 22, of Bluffton and Kenneth Tremont Anderson, 22, of Ridgeland. Soon after SLED launched its investigation, the Solicitor's Office decided not to continue prosecuting Aiken, Anderson and a third defendant, Johnathan Alexander Lilly of Hardeeville, who was 17 at the time of his arrest.
"We looked at all the evidence that we had, all the information we had and the questions we needed answered," Stone said. "We decided what was right was to start over in the investigation."
Kilpatrick was shot and killed by masked intruders while watching his sister's three children at the Jenny Greene apartment complex, according to police. The children were not injured.
Stone said his staff discussed the case several weeks ago and his office is testing evidence. He declined to comment further until he receives SLED's final report.
Webber resigned from the police department in June 2013 and was later hired by the Chester Police Department, where she worked until March, according to the S.C. Criminal Justice Academy. Attempts Thursday to reach her were unsuccessful.
Additional information was not available Thursday from SLED spokeswoman Kathryn Richardson.
Another SLED investigation involving the city continues, she said. In November, the agency began examining an altercation between then-City Councilman Sal Arzillo and a Hardeeville police officer.
Woodward said SLED has not contacted the police department about that investigation since he was named interim chief in March.
Follow reporter Rebecca Lurye on Twitter at twitter.com/IPBG_Rebecca.
- SLED re-opens Hardeeville murder case, investigates missing evidence , April 20, 2014