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Woman in Hancock standoff gets 12 years

May 11, 2009|By ERIN JULIUS

A South Carolina woman will spend 12 years in state prison for her role in a burglary spree and a two-day standoff with police at a Hancock motel last August.

Rene Reynolds, 21, of Moncks Corner, S.C., also was sentenced Monday to the maximum 10 years in a state prison for her guilty plea in January to conspiring to threaten arson during a standoff with police at America's Best Value Inn in Hancock.

Retired Judge Frederick C. Wright, sitting in Washington County Circuit Court, suspended four years of that sentence.

During a later hearing, Reynolds was given a 12-year sentence for her role in a string of home burglaries and thefts in the days leading up to the standoff, to run concurrently with the other sentence.

Wright did not suspend any of that sentence.

Reynolds gave birth shortly after the Hancock standoff. Her baby is healthy and in the custody of its maternal grandparents, Reynolds' defense attorney said Monday.

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Reynolds has had several relationships with men who abused and controlled her physically and mentally, Wright said Monday.

Her boyfriend, James A. Prevatt, 27, is charged with threatening arson by use of an explosive device and other crimes in connection with the 45-hour standoff with police at America's Best Value Inn, during which he told officers he would kill a hostage. The standoff began the evening of Aug. 20, 2008, when police went to Prevatt's room at the Hancock motel to serve a warrant.

A man inside the room denied them entry, and said he had guns and a hostage, police and prosecutors have said.

Police have said Reynolds was "complicit" during the hostage situation, depicting herself as a hostage.

Reynolds has said that Prevatt was extremely possessive, and she also has been involved with drugs, including alcohol and pills, the judge said.

Defense attorney Mary Drawbaugh referred to Reynolds' relationship with Prevatt as volatile and unhealthy.

"She needs programs ... that deal with severe problems with self-esteem," Wright said as he explained his decision to sentence Reynolds to time in the Division of Correction.

Wright said he believed her problems could be "corrected by incarceration."

Wright later accepted Reynolds' guilty pleas to four counts of conspiracy to commit first-degree burglary and three theft charges. She was sentenced to 12 years for each conspiracy to commit burglary charge, with each sentence to run concurrent to each other and concurrent to the six years she must serve for her role in the hostage situation.

Reynolds was "compliant" during the summer hostage situation and acted as a lookout while Prevatt broke into homes throughout the county.

She declined to make a statement in court Monday, but answered the judge's questions with "yes, sir" and "no, sir."

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