- Associated Press - Thursday, April 9, 2020

ROCK HILL, S.C. (AP) - A South Carolina man fatally shot his wife, son and then himself while he was out on bond on domestic violence charges, authorities said.

Paul Patrick Johnson Sr. killed his wife Sharekia, 42, and the couple’s 5-year-old son on Wednesday, The Herald of Rock Hill reported.

York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson said Johnson then shot himself and later died at the hospital. It was the second time Johnson had violated the terms of his bond by contacting his wife.

Johnson, 41, was arrested on Dec. 17 and accused of beating his wife with a belt and choking her, the newspaper said, citing an arrest warrant. He was charged with domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature.

He was granted a $15,000 bond and told not to have any contact with his wife but two hours after his release on Dec. 18, Johnson was seen on a doorbell video at his wife’s home, police records said.

He was taken back into custody and his bond was revoked.

Johnson asked the court to reconsider his bond revocation and on Jan. 8, Johnson was released on the same bond conditions, court records said.

Sixteenth Circuit Solicitor Kevin Brackett said prosecutors argued that Johnson was a threat to his wife at both bond hearings.

“I don’t know what else we could have done to keep this man in jail,” Brackett said. “We argued he should go back to jail after he willfully violated his bond the day of his initial release, and we were successful.”

Johnson was released two months before court officials started setting emergency bond hearings for jail cases because of coronavirus concerns, the newspaper reported. Tolson and Brackett both said COVID-19 had nothing to do with Johnson’s release.

South Carolina ranks fifth worst in America for violence against women at the hands of men, according to 2019 statistics from the S.C. Attorney General’s Office and the Violence Policy Center, the paper reported.

“South Carolina has to take domestic violence more seriously,” Brackett said.

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