Gun charges dropped against man paralyzed in Horry County drug raid

Apartment on Withers Swash Drive where Julian Betton was shot multiple times. (Image Source: News13)

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – The man paralyzed after being shot multiple times during a 2015 Horry County drug raid had all gun charges against him dropped Thursday morning.

The incident happened at a Myrtle Beach apartment around 3:10 p.m. April 16, 2015 on Withers Swash Drive and involved an assembled team of at least 12 heavily armed agents to execute the drug charge and search warrants, according to a complaint filed by Jonathan David McCoy, attorney for Julian Ray Betton.

Betton was in court Thursday morning to enter a plea deal. Betton’s attorney says prosecutors agreed to drop all gun charges in exchange for Betton’s guilty plea to the drug charges.

“He was charged by DEU with pointing and presenting that weapon at police officers that day.  And I think what we heard loudly and clearly today from the Attorney General’s office, after an independent review of the case, is that there was not enough evidence of even that allegation to proceed to trial on those matters,” said Civil Defense Attorney Brad Bannon.

Betton was originally charged with three counts of pointing or presenting a firearm at a person, which were dismissed Thursday, and three felony drug charges. One of the drug charges was dropped, and Betton pleaded guilty to the two other charges, namely sale to an informant of less than 8g of marijuana and possession of less than a pound of marijuana. Betton was sentenced to time served – 70 days.

Since the shooting, Betton and his legal team have filed a federal lawsuit against officials and officers involved in the raid that left him permanently paralyzed.

Part of McCoy’s complaint states that Betton was walking out of the restroom in his apartment when he walked into his living room to find “three unidentified men carrying assault rifles in his living room. He did not know who the intruders were. Defendants opened fire only seconds after they entered the apartment.”

The lawsuit seeks the following on Betton’s behalf:

  • Compensatory damages from Defendants, jointly and severally, in an amount to be determined at trial
  • Punitive damages from Defendants, jointly and severally, in an amount to be determined at trial
  • Special damages from Defendants, jointly and severally, in an amount to be determined at trial
  • Reasonable attorneys’ fees and expenses from Defendants under 42 U.S.C. § 1988
  • Costs of court and interest as allowed by law
  • A trial by jury on all contested issues of fact
  • Such other and further relief as the Court may deem just and proper

That lawsuit was put on hold in mid-February after attorneys for the defendants, which include the 15th Circuit Solicitor, Jimmy Richardson, asked the judge to stay the case until Betton’s criminal charges were resolved. US Magistrate Judge Kaymani West agreed to the order February 15.