DARLINGTON—A written plea agreement between Steven James Boyle and the Lafayette County District Attorney was presented to Judge James Beer on Jan. 25.
Boyle, known as Kelly Boyle, was charged and sentenced in three different cases per the plea agreement. Cases were filed against Boyle on Oct. 6, 2011, for violating a domestic abuse injunction, a Class U misdemeanor; on Oct. 7, 2011, for eluding an officer, a Class I felony, first degree recklessly endangering safety, a Class F felony, and resisting or obstructing an officer, a Class A misdemeanor; and on Oct. 20, 2011, for two counts of violating a domestic abuse injunction, both Class U misdemeanors.
Boyle, 60 of Darlington, has been in jail since Oct. 5, 2011, and served 112 days before his sentencing.
According to the report by the Darlington Police Department, Boyle was apprehended on Oct. 5, 2011, after police and deputies of the Lafayette County Sheriff’s Department pursued a vehicle driven by Boyle eastbound on Hwy. 81 west of Darlington. Police deployed “stop sticks” which deflated the tires of Boyle’s vehicle.
The plea agreement changed first degree recklessly endangering safety to second degree reckless endangerment, a Class G felony, and dismissed one of the three counts of violating a domestic abuse injunction as well as dismissed resisting or obstructing an officer.
Boyle pled guilty to vehicle operator flee/elude officer, second degree reckless endangerment and knowingly violating a domestic abuse injunction. He also pled no contest to one count of knowingly violating a domestic abuse injunction.
Beer accepted Boyle’s pleas and after hearing from all sides found Boyle guilty of all four counts.
District attorney Charlotte Doherty recommended that sentencing for Boyle be withheld and that he be placed on probation in each count for a period of three years to run concurrent. Conditions of probation include six months incarceration in the Lafayette County Jail with work release privileges, that he not have contact with some specific members of his family, that he not possess or consume alcohol or any drugs that aren’t prescribed to him, that he participates in any counseling deemed appropriate by the department of corrections and that he pay court costs.
The 112 days Boyle has already served would be applied to a sentence if his probation were revoked.
Boyle said he wasn’t happy with his plea agreement.
“It’s all I’m going to get, so I might as well take it,” Boyle said. “What’s another six months of my life?”
He said he lost everything, including his wife and kids and his job. He blamed his recently diagnosed mental disease, bipolar, as the reason he behaved the way he did in all three of the cases being sentenced in court.
Normally in felony cases a pre-sentence investigation is performed by the Department of Corrections, which takes 45 days and another court hearing. Boyle’s attorney, Katherine Findley, asked that the pre-sentence investigation be waived to avoid any further delays.
A competency evaluation in December found Boyle was competent.
Doherty recommended the court adopt the plea agreement in this case.
“We feel this is an appropriate way to gradually reintegrate Mr. Boyle back into the community,” Doherty said. “These three cases were very, very serious crimes and they need to be dealt with seriously.”
Doherty said Boyle has had a very difficult time in jail so far but he has had his mental health problems dealt with while in jail. She spoke about how Boyle provided Alcoholics Anonymous services throughout the community and was a successful citizen in the area.
“It’s taken 112 days for the state to feel like it was safe for Mr. Boyle to be under enough control of himself to be able to go out and seek work,” Doherty said. “And I think at this point this is a good plan for gradually integrating him back into the community… He’s made tremendous strides in his behavior and his ability to control himself to not have long periods of outbursts and rantings.”
Doherty said she thinks it is time for Boyle to take the next step to seek some work and get back out in the community.
“He has hit rock bottom, he’s lost everything,” Doherty said. “I agree with that and I feel really bad for him, but he’s not the victim in this case. He brought this all on himself… He dug himself a tremendous hole and he has been given the opportunity to dig himself out of this hole.”
Findley said she believes Boyle has a lot of remorse for his actions. She said his actions were due to a mental health issue and while he has been in jail he has been treated for bipolar and has been on medications.
Findley said part of Boyle’s frustration relates to not being able to attend his divorce hearings because he was in jail.
“That has substantially added to his frustration with everything that has been going on,” Findley said. “It’s been one of the factors in him hitting rock bottom. He has lost everything.”
Findley said at age 60, restarting his life will seem like a daunting task for Boyle.
Boyle broke down in tears while talking about the bitterness and hurtful feelings going on between him and his family.
“I beat alcohol, I beat tobacco, I beat two heart attacks, but I could not beat this bipolar,” Boyle said. “I was sent three times to anger management and was never diagnosed… All I want to do and all I ask this court to do is take the 112 days that I have served and put it toward the six months... But I have to get on with life.”
Boyle said he will leave his family alone and they can contact him through human services.
“I’m tired of being put here,” Boyle said. “It’s not all me. My family played a big part in this, but I’m the one who is taking it on the nose. At this point I’m 60 years old and I have nothing. All I want is to get back out there and try. That’s all I want to do… I’m just tired of being portrayed as a monster, because I’m not. I have a mental disease and I’m working with it.”
Boyle remains in the Lafayette County Jail for his six-month sentence.