A man who once eluded authorities for two months after faking his own death has been sentenced.
Julius “Butch” Nesbitt was wanted on drug charges, including illegally selling prescription painkillers, when authorities found his boat abandoned in November 2007 in the Winyah Bay near Georgetown. Nesbitt’s girlfriend filed a missing boater report and the Coast Guard spent two days searching the bay for him.
Federal investigators said only a few people knew the Andrews native’s true plans. His own mother even believed him drowned.
However, prosecutors said Nesbitt staged the accident and instead fled the state for Indiana. It wasn’t until January 2008 that US Marshals caught him in the city of Terre Haute. The marshals said they found counterfeit money on him, along with several newspaper clippings about his disappearance.
Indiana authorities convicted him for counterfeiting and sentenced him to a year in prison. He was then extradited to South Carolina.
Besides the drug charges, Nesbitt was also found guilty for possession of a weapon as a felon and for misleading the Coast Guard into searching for him when he did not need help.
Charleston judge David Norton sentenced Nesbitt to more than 12 years in prison, along with three years of supervised release. He was also ordered to pay back the more than $170,000 it cost the Coast Guard to search for him after the missing boater report was filed.