No criminal charges in public housing poisoning deaths of 2

South Carolina News

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.

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