Beaufort News

Deputy: Man tosses loaded pistol into bushes

A man acquitted in the brutal 2008 beating of a Bluffton resident was charged with unlawful carrying of a pistol Friday, according to the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office.

Theophilus Hamilton, 20, of Hardeeville was seen at about 9:30 p.m. loitering "suspiciously" near the Hallmark White Oak Apartments, a deputy reported, and Hamilton tossed something on the ground as the patrol car passed on Haigler Boulevard.

According to the report, the deputy frisked Hamilton, who denied throwing anything on the ground. The report said the deputy found a loaded pistol in nearby bushes.

Hamilton declined to submit a DNA swab, the report said. He has since posted a $5,000 bond, according to the county Detention Center log.

Hamilton was charged in the 2008 beating of Brian Lanese and acquitted in 2010. He and Harry C. Battle Jr., who was also charged and acquitted, sued the Sheriff's Office alleging false imprisonment and malicious prosecution. The suit is pending.