A Spartanburg man received a life prison sentence without parole today after a jury decided that he brutally beat an elderly woman during a robbery at her home.
Lonnie Geter, 42, of 727 N. Vernon St., was convicted of first-degree burglary, assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature and common-law robbery for the Sept. 23 assault of Myrle Odessa Miller, 77, at her Lone Oak Road home. Circuit Judge Derham Cole sentenced Geter at the conclusion of a two-day trial.
On the day of the attack, Geter approached Miller and told her he was doing construction work at a neighboring vacant home. He said he needed pliers to fix a problem with the gutters. When the exchange took place, Geter used the pliers to repeatedly strike Miller in her head. Miller fell to the ground and pretended to be dead with hopes of getting Geter to leave. Miller broke several fingers on her right hand when she attempted to shield her head during the attack. In addition, she sustained several deep cuts on her head
Geter took Miller’s pocketbook when he left the home. Spartanburg County sheriff’s deputies said a tip from Geter’s boss helped them arrest the defendant five days later. Miller picked Geter out of a photo line-up. In a statement to sheriff’s deputies Geter admitted to being inside Miller’s house but he said he didn’t attack her.
Seventh Circuit Solicitor Trey Gowdy said Geter’s 20-year criminal record and the circumstances of the crime prompted him to assign the case to his Violent Crime Task Force, a prosecutorial team headed by Assistant Solicitor Bob Coler. The group is charged with the responsibility of working with local police officers to identify and aggressively prosecute the area’s most troublesome criminal defendants.
“The Violent Crime Task Force was created for people like Lonnie Geter,” Gowdy said. “He has no business walking the streets of Spartanburg County. This case had a good outcome because of the hard work of a number of people. I appreciate Judge Cole’s willingness to hold court during a week of terrible weather. Sheriff’s Investigator Taylor Gardner and his cohorts in the detective division also deserve a pat on the back for a job well-done. ”
Since its inception on July 1, 2001, the team has accounted for 13 guilty trial verdicts. Along the way, the team has collected three life prison sentences and several other verdicts in excess of 20 years.
For more information, contact Murray Glenn at 809-4892.