Suspect in S.C. murder with Charlotte connection behind bars

by: Paige Hansen Updated:

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SOUTH CAROLINA - A murder suspect with a Charlotte connection is behind bars, accused of murdering his girlfriend. 

Lee Bradley was arrested in the parking lot of My Father's Choice thrift shop Tuesday.  The organization also has transitional homes for people, including people released from prison.
 
His arrest has the founder of My Father's Choice re-thinking some of her policies.  Before his arrest, Bradley worked at the thrift store, run by My Father's Choice.  The founder, Dr. Denise Smith-Lewis says he also lived in some of the organization's homes.

"If you've been convicted of a crime, you've done your time, OK," Smith-Lewis said. "Turn your life around and get it on track."

Smith-Lewis says she doesn't want to judge others and for that reason, she says her organization does not do background checks on anyone who moves into one of her homes after getting out of prison.

U.S. marshals arrested Bradley on Tuesday. Bradley is accused of stabbing his girlfriend to death last week in Summerville, South Carolina. Smith-Lewis says Bradley had been with them off and on for some time.

"Everybody was extremely shook up because that's like Lee, the one who encourages us," Smith-Lewis said.

Most recently, Bradley stayed at a halfway home in Rock Hill, South Carolina for about a month before Smith-Lewis said he relapsed and left several weeks ago for South Carolina. Earlier this week, Smith-Lewis says he contacted her and "begged" to come back.

"He said that his girlfriend had an accident and that she got hurt, she was cut with a knife and she got hurt. That's all he said. There was no reason for me to go any further," Smith-Lewis said.

The night before his arrest, Smith-Lewis says Bradley stayed at one of her Charlotte homes, but she would not tell Channel 9 where that home is located.

On the phone today, U.S. Marshal Otis Hamilton said he does not know of any policy that requires organizations like My Father's Choice to check people for warrants.

"If you have people like Mr. Bradley who was wanted for homicide in another state that's participating in their program, absolutely that could be a problem," Hamilton said.

Smith-Lewis says after learning of this arrest, she will look at her policy on background checks and see if that is something she should start doing. However, she said she has a "we tell" policy and reports people to authorities if she learns or suspects they are wanted for a crime.