Beaufort News

1 Bluffton beating suspect in custody, another still at large

A Bluffton man is in custody and another remained at large Tuesday after an attack last week that left its victim seriously injured, according to the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office.

Donald Jason Rhinesmith, 30, is charged with attempted murder, first-degree burglary, and third-degree assault and battery. He is being held at the Beaufort County Detention Center. Bond is set at $51,000.Rhinesmith was arrested Monday. It was unclear Tuesday where deputies found him.Authorities said that at 4 a.m. Thursday, Rhinesmith entered a home on Bluffton's Fox Path Lane where his sister and her boyfriend live. He was accompanied by his friend, Michael Aaron Holder, according to a Sheriff's Office news release.

Investigators believe Rhinesmith was angry about a recent domestic dispute between his sister and the victim.

The two men kicked open a locked front door before entering the couple's bedroom, according to a Sheriff's Office incident report. Rhinesmith and Holder then attacked the man, who was sleeping next to Rhinesmith's sister. Her 11-year-old daughter also witnessed the beating before fleeing the home, and Rhinesmith's sister tried to shield the victim as her brother and Holder beat him, according to the report.

The two men fled, and Rhinesmith's sister called 911.The victim was taken to Savannah's Memorial Health University Medical Center and later released, according to hospital spokeswoman Beth Lakey.Holder is a white male, about 5-foot-6, 140 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes. Anyone who knows his whereabouts is asked to contact the Beaufort County Dispatch Center at 843-524-2777.

If convicted of the attempted murder charge, Rhinesmith faces a minimum of two years and a maximum of 30 years in prison.

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