COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Chesterfield County Sheriff Sanford Parker, Jr., has been suspended from office following charges of misconduct and furnishing contraband to inmates.
According to Parker's indictment, Michael Lee and William Skipper were treated more like they had get out of jail free cards in Chesterfield County than convicts serving time.
At the time, Lee was serving 15 years for arson. He is still in prison. Skipper was serving seven years for drug trafficking but has since been released.
(Click here to read the indictment)
The indictment says both spent a lot of time at the town armory, even slept there, with access to squad cars, guns, iPads, alcohol and visitors. It also alleges they were often out and about in civilian clothing, eating at restaurants, shopping, running errands, even hanging out and vacationing with Parker.
Prosecutors say the freedoms Lee and Skipper received were in exchange for refurbishing the armory, which houses part of the sheriff's office, and for working on the sheriff's house.
A former deputy who worked under Parker but doesn't want to be identified thinks the charges are nothing more than revenge by Michael Lee.
He says Sheriff Parker sent Lee to a different prison after Lee got too close to a gun and Lee's easy time at the armory was over.
Prosecutors also say Sheriff Parker falsified documents, gave county-owned guns to friends, and had a county-owned boat made into his personal shrimp boat for fishing trips.