Cherokee County was again the scene of violence when a kidnapping resulted in a shootout over the weekend.Authorities say 52-year-old Jerry Case kidnapped a Gaston, North Carolina family, and drove them to South Carolina. The victims escaped when Case stopped for gas. Police found Case and a shootout resulted in a wooded area at the intersection of Highways 18 and 85. Case is hospitalized in Spartanburg Regional in critical condition. A deputy received minor injuries and did not require medical attention.
Cherokee County citizens are still recovering from a killing spree in the county that left five people dead and ended in a shootout in Gaston. Now, Gaston County police are investigating the kidnapping case as well.
This incident has residents and officials upset because Case was on parole for murder, for the 1986 murder of a taxi cab driver. His sentence was commuted to life in prison in 1992 by the North Carolina Supreme Court. He has a lengthy criminal background dating back to 1974, including convictions for first-degree murder, second-degree murder, second-degree kidnapping, assaulting a policeman, escape and breaking and entering.
No one is upset more than 7th Circuit Solicitor Trey Gowdy. “It’s a travisty, inexplicable, how someone can go from death row, which at one point that was his residence, to out on parole, taking college prep classes.”
Gowdy says kidnapping and assault and battery with intent to kill charges may be filed against Case at some point. He says the Cherokee County Sherriff will decide when Case recovers enough and is conscious enough to be served with the charges.
Gowdy says local residents have a right to be upset. He says the last two defendents, including the alleged serial killer, were freed by North Carolina’s prison system. “I would hope that it’s impossible to explain to the residents of North Carolina, but I can promise you it’s impossible to explain to the residents of South Carolina. It’s the second time we’ve been victimized by a failure of North Carolina’s Corrections system. And I can tell you the people of the upstate are ready for North Carolina to get its criminal justice act together.”
But Gowdy says it should stand as an example for South Carolina Corrections officials as well. “South Carolina’s corrections system has its own problems. And there’s any good to come out of this situation, it’s that we can examine our own system so we will be good stewards and not release suspects like Case or serial killer Patrick Burris. This is a time to make some much needed reform.”