Freddie Grant Makes Court Appearance on Murder Charge

11:40 AM, Aug 9, 2013   |    comments
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Freddie Grant sits during a hearing on August 9, 2013.

Columbia, SC (WLTX) - The man charged with killing a Columbia teenager made his first court appearance Friday morning in Richland County.

Freddie Grant, 53, went before a magistrate at the Richland County Detention Center. Grant is charged with murder in the death of 15-year-old Gabbiee Swainson. Previous Coverage: Sheriff Says the Search For Gabbiee is Over

Meanwhile, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott and Coroner Gary Watts confirmed Friday morning that the body recovered in a field in Elgin Thursday is Swainson. An autopsy on the body is being performed Friday, and a cause of death could be given by the end of the day.

During the court hearing, Grant was informed of the charges against him and his rights. Under South Carolina law, a magistrate cannot set bond on a murder charge, so that proceeding will take place in circuit court at a later date, possibly next week.

Grant said little at the hearing, answering questions about his name and where he was staying. (He had been held in a federal prison in Kentucky after being convicted on an ammunition charge related to this investigation) Grant did seem to indicate there was some confusion as to whether his lawyer was to have been at the hearing.

The attorney was not present.

Lott said Grant was flown back to South Carolina from Kentucky Thursday after telling investigators that he would show them where Swainson's body was. The site he took them to in Elgin was just a few miles from his home, and in an area not far from railroad tracks.

Crews began digging at the site, and by the early evening, had removed Swainson's body from a five foot deep hole. Although he would not be specific about what they found, Lott said a piece of evidence recovered from the grave led him to conclude those were Swainson's remains.

Lott said he then notified the girl's mother of the discovery.

Swainson had been missing since August 18th, 2012--357 days in total. Lott had been saying since earlier in the investigation that Grant was the chief suspect in the crime.

Lott said Thursday the investigation turned when they arrested Grant's daughter last month. Investigators say the woman had Swainson's cell phone, and put it behind a dumpster in Myrtle Beach.


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