Officers use child's phone to contact alleged, suspected abuser
Ex-substitute teacher arrested for alleged sex lure of a minor
Authorities have identified Michael Bernard Bunner, 66, of 101 Woodrow St., Laurens, and a former District 55 substitute teacher, as a suspect in an alleged attempt to lure a minor for sex.
The victim is 12 years old, a report said.
He was accused of two counts, disseminating material to a minor on Dec. 18. These incidents occurred at Wal-mart and at a Hilldale Avenue location, a report said.
Officers used the 12-year-old’s phone to arrange a meeting with Bunner, and he was arrested when he showed up for the meeting.
In a Facebook post, Laurens County Sheriff Don Reynolds said, “This guy is without a doubt a sexual predator of children. There is no place in our society for such people and I’m glad he is in jail, where he belongs. It’s only by the Grace of God and the courage of the victim’s friends to tell an adult about what was going on that we were able to stop this criminal before he could physically assault the victim.”
The Laurens Police alleged the disseminating offense, and bond was set at $100,000. Bond was denied on a charge filed by the Sheriff’s Office alleging that on Dec. 19, Bunner criminally solicited the victim for sexual activity.
A report said in the Dec. 19 incident, a Ford Elementary school resource officer was made aware by school officials of the obscene material, and special victims officer then arranged a meeting by text message.
Believing he was texting the child, Bunner allegedly made arrangements to pick up the child from a residence for the purpose of participating in sexual activity, a report said.
After surveillance, Brunner was arrested when he arrived at the meeting site.
It is not suspected at this time that there are other victims, the Sheriff’s Office said.
In a separate incident, authorities identified Patrick Nathaniel Davis, 35, of Lexington, as the victim in a two-vehicle wreck Dec. 22 on I-26 in Laurens County. Northwest of Clinton, the two vehicles westbound on the interstate ran into each other and ran off the road.
A Chevrolet pick-up driven by a 31-year-old man from Arlen, N.C., with a 34-year-old woman from Roseland, Fla., as a passenger was involved, but both were wearing seatbelts and did not have life-threatening injuries.
A 1994 Toyota driven by the victim went down an embankment, hit a tree and overturned with the driver dying at the scene. Cause of death was ruled as blunt force trauma. This wreck occurred about 1:55 a.m. Dec. 22.
It is the 32nd fatal traffic wreck of the year in Laurens County. It is one of five fatalities on SC roads over the Christmas holiday travel period.
In Laurens County Criminal Court recently, two people charged with Felony DUI with death appeared for bond hearings.
Tara Ann Mahon, 34, of Climbing Rose Court, Fountain Inn, was denied bond a second time in connection with the June 14 death of 18-year-old Wesley Robinson of Laurens.
She was charged with being drunk at the wheel when she ran her vehicle into the back of a tractor Robinson was driving on Hwy 308 near Laurens. A report said records show, she had another DUI charge in February, 2018.
Circuit Judge Frank Addy Jr. denied bond, and said the matter could be revisited in April. Addy said he could not guarantee that he could keep Mahon from behind the wheel of a vehicle while out on bond.
More than 20 family and friends were in court to support the Robinson family as Mahon arrived for her second bond hearing.
A report said the prosecution is alleging that Mahon was under the influence of meth and marijuana. But her attorney said a defense on her behalf will be Mahon “may have not been impaired by meth, because what was in her system was only 10-15% over the maximum therapeutic dose.”
The attorney said Mahon should not have to sit in jail waiting for an April trial date, meaning that she would have been in jail for almost a year simply on an arrest, not an arrest and conviction.
Three people spoke to the judge in favor of keeping Mahon in jail until her trial date. Addy agreed, and declined to set bond at this time.
Also in criminal court, Jerry Anthony Irby, 60, of 1434 Trinity Church Rd., Laurens, was granted $25,000 bond on a Felony DUI charge from June 9.
He is accused of causing the death of Brittney L. Boyd, of Cross Hill, in a head-on wreck on Hwy 39 near Cold Point. Irby was seriously injured and airlifted to Greenville for treatment.
He is unable to walk or drive, a report said.
In addition to posting $25,000 PR bond, Irby was instructed not to drive, and to maintain a weekly contact with his attorney.