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State v. Ford

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THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA In The Court of Appeals The State, Respondent, v. Calvin D. Ford, Appellant. Appellate Case No. 2019-001912 Appeal From Horry County Benjamin H. Culbertson, Circuit Court Judge Paul M. Burch, Circuit Court Judge Opinion No. 5974 Heard December 7, 2022 – Filed April 5, 2023 AFFIRMED IN PART, VACATED IN PART, AND REMANDED Appellate Defender Jessica M. Saxon, of Columbia, for Appellant. Attorney General Alan McCrory Wilson, Deputy Attorney General Donald J. Zelenka, Senior Assistant Deputy Attorney General Melody Jane Brown, and Tommy Evans, Jr., all of Columbia, for Respondent. KONDUROS, J.: Calvin D. Ford appeals his convictions for murder, possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime, and possession of a weapon by a felon. During Ford's immunity hearing pursuant to the Protection of Persons and Property Act (the Act), 1 Ford asserts the circuit court erred in failing to sit as fact-finder at the immunity hearing. Ford also contends the circuit court erred in determining the Act does not provide immunity from prosecution for possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime and unlawful possession of a weapon by a person convicted of a violent crime. During Ford's trial, Ford asserts the trial court erred in allowing the State to introduce a witness's prior consistent statement. Ford also contends the trial court erred in sentencing Ford to five years' imprisonment for possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime after sentencing him to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for murder (LWOP). We affirm the trial court's admission of a prior consistent statement, vacate Ford's sentence for possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime, and remand for the circuit court to make specific findings of fact that support whether Ford is, or is not, entitled to immunity for murder, possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime, and unlawful possession of a weapon by a person convicted of a violent crime. FACTS On June 22, 2017, an Horry County grand jury indicted Ford for the murders of Jamal Burgess and Dameion Alston, possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime, and unlawful possession of a weapon by a person convicted of a violent crime. Ford moved for immunity from prosecution pursuant to section 16-11-450. In that motion, Ford included a sworn statement from Aliga Campbell dated August 10, 2016. Campbell described a "heated" conversation he had with Burgess at a birthday party on July 23, 2016 while Burgess was highly intoxicated. During the conversation, Burgess explained his reasoning for knocking out Ford's teeth in an incident five years earlier and asked Campbell to call Ford and invite him to the party. Campbell did not reach Ford, but Ford arrived at the party shortly afterward anyway. According to Campbell, Burgess approached Ford soon after Ford arrived at the party, and they began talking. Campbell recalled that Alston attempted to intervene in the conversation because …


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