MARLBORO COUNTY, SC (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) — A red Cadillac that used to hold down a parking spot outside the Marlboro County Courthouse wheeled into an empty parking spot outside the Bennettsville Police Department at 6:25 a.m. Thursday.
With an umbrella in hand, former Marlboro County Deputy Probate Judge Tammy Bullock stepped out of her Cadillac and met with her attorney as a detective walked out to meet the former judge. Bullock was scheduled to surrender at 6:30 a.m.
The detective escorted Bullock and her attorney into a side door of the police department.
Bullock did not make any comments or answer any questions asked by FOX 46 Chief Investigator Jody Barr as she made her way into the police department where she was served with an arrest warrant for a state-level felony charge of pointing and presenting a firearm.
Bullock was handcuffed and placed into the back of a police truck where two detectives drove her to the Marlboro County jail where jailers took her mugshots and fingerprinted the former judge.
Bennettsville Municipal Judge Larry Rogers held Bullock’s bond hearing sometime around 9 a.m. Thursday, but Rogers held the hearing in private. Rogers called Shanda Nash, the victim in the case, into the courtroom before he held the hearing to tell her he decided to order a $5,000 personal recognizance for Bullock, meaning she did not have to post any bail to leave jail.
The judge did not leave Nash the option to attend the bond setting. Nash left the jail immediately after. Jailers then called Bullock’s attorney into the courtroom where Rogers set her bail. We asked to speak with Rogers after the hearing, but the person who answered the jail intercom told Barr Rogers didn’t “have time” to meet to find out what bond the judge imposed on Bullock.
The judge would not allow FOX 46 or any other member of the public into the courtroom to attend Bullock’s bond setting with jailers telling FOX 46 access was being denied “Because of COVID,” two separate jailers told the news crew outside the jailhouse’s public access door. Bond courts – as any other court in South Carolina – are open to the public.
The SC Court Administration has a web site showing the current COVID status for courts across South Carolina. The website shows all Marlboro County courtrooms are operating in a “normal” status, but probate and Bennettsville’s city court offices are closed. All bond courts in the county, which includes the city’s bond court, are open to the public, according to the Court Administration’s web site.
The BPD got an arrest warrant for Bullock on Nov. 2 after the department dropped a Feb. 5, 2021 misdemeanor pointing and presenting charge against her that same day. The department asked a judge to sign a warrant charging her under the state’s pointing and presenting statute.
The new charge is a felony where a conviction could carry a 5-year prison sentence. Bullock will attend a bond hearing Thursday morning.
Police charged Bullock after her roommate, Shanda Nash, filed a police report in February accusing the former judge of pointing a gun in her face inside the home they rented in Bennettsville, “And she had the gun right to my face and was like, ‘I’ll f—ing shoot you, Shanda,’ Nash said during an interview with Barr at her Bennettsville home on August 31.
At the time, Bullock was working for Marlboro County Probate Judge Mark Heath as his appointed deputy judge. Bullock was later sworn into office on March 15.
Police initially charged Bullock on a Uniform Traffic Ticket, which allows municipal officers to charge someone under a city ordinance. Those summonses cannot be used to charge someone with a felony crime.
Nash said the argument with Bullock that morning started over Nash’s daughter after she said Bullock went into her daughter’s bedroom to “get onto her” about not having a job.
“That’s what started the argument was my daughter because she (Bullock) stepped in and she was trying to discipline my daughter,” Nash told FOX 46, “And like I told her, if you have something to say to my daughter, come to me. We can discuss it and I’ll discuss it with my daughter.”
Nash said the argument never got physical and never escalated above a shouting match. Bullock, though, went back into her room and shut the door.
“When she opened up her door, she had the gun in her hand already and that’s when I went back and that’s when I fell and she was standing right above me and had it like right to my face and I looked up at her and she was saying, ‘I will f—ing shoot you, Shanda,’” Nash said in the interview.
Bennettsville Police Department records show Nash didn’t report the incident until three days later. Nash said she considered calling 911 that morning but waited to file the report because she thought she and her daughter would end up homeless if she went through with a police response.
A few days later Nash called the Bennettsville Police Department to report what happened. The department released the report to FOX 46 on August 25.
The report shows both Nash and Bullock were interviewed by Bennettsville police. Bullock admitted to investigators she had a gun in her hand when she walked out of her bedroom door during the argument but denied pointing it at Nash.
“The subject (Bullock) stated that upon exiting her bedroom, the complainant (Nash) proceeded to jump in her face again while engaged in a fighting stance,” Corporal Katrina Brigman wrote in her report.
“The subject stated she never pointed her handgun at the complainant at any time,” Brigman continued.
Bullock told the investigator that she had two guns and only one would fit into her purse, so she carried the second gun out of the room.
“I got a gun in my hand. I will not fight you. I am too old, but I will defend myself,” Bullock is quoted in the report as stating to Nash as Bullock walked out of her bedroom to leave for her office at the Marlboro County Courthouse.
We asked Bullock multiple times for an interview, but she would not respond to any of our inquiries.
There were no video or audio recordings of the encounter, but the report noted that Nash’s daughter was in the home when the argument happened. The report shows Nash, and her daughter went to the police department for a recorded interview.
The investigator wrote in the report that Bullock was also interviewed the same day. Both interviews were recorded, but the Bennettsville Police Department declined to release the recordings until the case is closed.
Tammy Bullock was employed with the county probate court from Nov. 30, 2020, through Oct. 27, 2021. Bullock resigned last week; three weeks after our ‘Final Disrespects’ investigation.
That investigation showed Bullock and several others plundering through Hollis Slade’s home within hours of his death in January. Security cameras outside Slade’s home captured audio and video recordings of Bullock and the group discussing their search for Slade’s will inside his home.
Slade’s sister, Beth Boling, also told investigators Bullock posed as a county probate judge when Boling arrived at her late brother’s home the day following his death. Boling lives in Indiana.
The recordings also showed some members of the group removing property from inside Slade’s home and recorded discussions between Bullock and the group about hiding financial records they found in the home from Slade’s family.
In one recording, a woman identified as Charlotte Green admitted to stealing cigarettes out of Slade’s pickup truck.
“Oh, me and Tammy got four packs of cigarettes out of it; figured he didn’t need them no more,” Green said as the recording captured laughter right after that statement. Joyce Slade’s caretaker, a woman named Linda Hood, said Green took a jewelry box containing cash, a pistol, and Slade’s checkbook from a dresser drawer in Joyce Slade’s bedroom.
Boling said that property was later returned to her by Green’s boyfriend, Ricky Gardner, after Boling asked the group to return the items.
This all happened as Slade’s wife, Joyce, was inside the home. Joyce Slade requires around-the-clock care as she suffers from severe dementia. Slade’s family told FOX 46 Joyce likely did not realize what was happening at the time.
The State Law Enforcement Division opened a criminal investigation into the criminal allegations against Bullock and the group on August 30. That investigation is pending as of this report.
Bullock was set to be tried on the city’s original gun charge, but with that charge being dismissed and the new charges filed Nov. 4, Bullock’s trial is canceled. Bullock’s prosecution will likely be handled by the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office or another solicitor’s office since Marlboro County Solicitor Will Rogers cited a potential conflict of interest in the Slade estate investigation in June.
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