COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A prosecutor in South Carolina says no criminal charges will be filed in the carbon monoxide deaths of two people at a Columbia public housing complex.
Solicitor Byron Gipson said Wednesday that while the January deaths were tragic, South Carolina’s lack of a criminal negligence law prevented him from holding anyone criminally accountable.
Authorities did say they filed 869 code violations against the Columbia Housing Authority for a wide range of problems at the 244 units at Allen Benedict Court.
More than 400 people were ordered out of the 80-year-old units after the deaths. They haven’t returned.
Authorities say 62-year-old Calvin Witherspoon Jr. and 31-year-old Derrick Roper were found dead in January in separate apartments in the same building.
Gipson says debris blocked the carbon monoxide from escaping from a heater.