South Carolina’s highest court on Wednesday upheld the sentence of a man condemned to die for strangling a Clemson University student with her bikini top.
The state Supreme Court affirmed the fate of Jerry Buck Inman. The 41-year-old sex offender confessed to killing 20-year-old Tiffany Souers in 2006. After his confession, a judge then heard evidence concerning whether Inman should get a life sentence or the death penalty. The judge sentenced him to die in 2009.
Inman had asked the Supreme Court justices to reconsider his fate, arguing that the prosecutor in his case should have been removed because he purposely intimidated a Georgia social worker testifying on Inman’s mental condition. The issue came up when it was revealed Dr. Marti Loring was licensed to practice in Georgia, but not South Carolina.
Solicitor Bob Ariail questioned whether Loring could be violating the laws governing “expert witnesses,” as she was not technically allowed to give her expert opinion in South Carolina. Defense lawyers at the time objected, accusing Ariail of intimidating Loring. Loring eventually declined to testify further, even after the judge promised immunity, saying she was worried about her future reputation.
The justices agreed Wednesday that Ariail did intimidate Loring. However, they said the issue did not prejudice the judge’s final verdict of a death penalty.