YORK COUNTY, S.C. — A former Chester County deputy accused of killing a retired police lieutenant was given a bond in court Tuesday.
Evan Robert Hawthorne was arrested for the July 2021 death of Larry Vaughan, who served at the Rock Hill Police Department for 30 years before his retirement.
At the time, the coroner said it looked like Vaughan was in some sort of fight before he was murdered.
In court Tuesday, a judge ordered Hawthorne eligible to be released on $250,000 bond.
Solicitors said the two men didn’t know each other before Vaughan’s death. Surveillance footage shows they met at a bar in Rock Hill, and prosecutors said they drank together to the point of falling over and were so intoxicated they were kicked out of the bar.
Prosecutors said Hawthorne followed Vaughan home and killed him using blunt force trauma.
Prosecutors said the bar owners walked Vaughan to his apartment in downtown Rock Hill.
They said Hawthorne followed and Vaughan allowed him inside.
The solicitor said that 55 minutes later, Hawthorne was seen leaving the apartment complex covered in blood on his face, hands and clothes as he “stumbled off in a direction not toward his home.”
Hawthorne’s defense argued that a bond should be set. He spent six years in the U.S. Marine Reserves and is not a danger to the public.
The defense said that Vaughan had a blood alcohol level of 0.27. Zoloft was also in Vaughan’s system, which could make someone violent, according to the defense.
The judge setting a bond shocked some, while giving others relief.
Vaughan’s sister, Laurie Williams, asked the judge to keep Hawthorne in jail.
“It is Christmas time,” Williams said. “I had my brother for 49 Christmases, and that was not enough. I beg of you, please deny bond.”
Hawthorne’s mom said Hawthorne acted in self-defense.
“My son’s innocent,” said Vonda Hawthorne, the suspect’s mother. “He was attacked, and he had no choice. It was self-defense. And I’m so thankful that God gave him a chance to come home for Christmas.”
If Hawthorne makes bond, he would be on home detention with a curfew.
The judge said he would have to wear a GPS monitor and would not be allowed to have firearms or weapons.
According to York County jail records, Hawthorne was still listed in custody as of Tuesday.
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