2012-09-24 / Front Page

Bizarre incident ends with man dead

By TIM GULLA Ledger Staff Writer tim@gaffneyledger.com

While investigators await several test results and still need to sit down with the Seventh Circuit Solicitor to talk about their conclusions, Cherokee County Sheriff Steve Mueller said Sunday afternoon that the early Saturday morning death of a 28-year-old Gaffney man likely will be deemed justified.

Joshua Lee McAbee, of Owens Lane, died at approximately 4:20 a.m. Saturday during a physical altercation with a homeowner in the 3600 block of Corinth Road, according to Cherokee County Coroner Dennis Fowler.

An autopsy conducted Sunday morning showed McAbee died from multiple blunt force trauma to the head, Fowler said.

Events began unfolding at approximately 4 a.m. Saturday, first in the 3400 block, where McAbee allegedly drove his truck into a yard and started spinning the vehicle’s wheels, according to Mueller.

McAbee then ended up in a yard in the 3600 block, where he allegedly did the same, striking a trailer in the process, and waking up the residents there.

“The guy (McAbee) came into his yard, tore up his yard, hit his trailer, and he (the homeowner) went out to investigate,” Mueller said.

The homeowner also called 9-1-1 to report a larceny in progress.

Mueller said the homeowner, who was armed, reportedly fired several rounds to scare McAbee but did not aim at him.

“His (the homeowner’s) intention was to hold him (McAbee) at gunpoint and at some point they got close enough that they got into a struggle,” Mueller relayed.

At some point during the struggle, the homeowner dropped the weapon. While the two men were struggling on the ground, the homeowner struck McAbee with a cinder block, the sheriff said.

Fowler said paramedics and fire personnel were summoned to the location a short time later and found McAbee unresponsive. Fowler pronounced McAbee dead at the scene at 5:30 a.m.

Mueller confirmed that no arrests have been made and no charges have been filed. Mueller also confirmed that neither the resident of the 3600 block who was involved in the struggle, nor the owner of the property in the 3400 block where McAbee first allegedly drove, knew McAbee.

“We’ll take the autopsy report and all of our findings and we’ll sit down with the Solicitor’s Office,” Mueller said. “Preliminarily,” the sheriff said, “I believe the homeowner will be justified in his actions.”

Following Sunday’s autopsy, Fowler said McAbee’s death will be treated as a homicide.

“Whether that will be something that’s justifiable or not will be determined by the solicitor and the sheriff,” he said.

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