A Laurens County jury agreed Friday that the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office was not to blame in the 2011 death of Nicole Kingsborough.
Minnie Kingsborough, the mother of Nicole, filed a lawsuit against the LCSO, accusing the department of negligence that led to the death of her daughter. In the suit, which was brought on behalf of Nicole Kingsborough’s estate, it was alleged that LCSO officers at the Johnson Detention Center did not provide enough information to a judge to make an educated decision on the bond of Benny Brown, Jr.
After bonding out of jail, Brown, who had a criminal history that included criminal domestic violence charges, murdered Nicole Kingsborough in the parking lot of the Fountain Inn eatery where she worked. As LCSO deputies attempted later to arrest Brown, Deputy Roger Rice was shot and killed by Brown. Brown is serving consecutive life sentences after being convicted of both murders in 2016.
After deliberating for eight hours over Thursday and Friday, the jury of seven women and five men decided that the LCSO was grossly negligent in the handling of the information for Brown’s bond hearing, but also agreed that any negligence did not directly cause the death of Nicole Kingsborough.
No damages were awarded to the Kingsborough estate.
“We’re certainly disappointed that they didn’t find for the plaintiff,” said Patrick Knie, lead attorney for Minnie Kingsborough. “We’re hopeful that in light of the fact that they did find the sheriff’s department grossly negligent, they will take a look at their policies and improve what they provide the magistrates so something like this doesn’t happen again.”
Laurens County Attorney Sandy Cruickshanks and Greenville attorney Russell “Rusty” Harter represented the LCSO.
“I believe it was the right result,” Harter said. “It was a tragic situation for everybody. We want to thank the jury for their hard work on the case.”
Read Wednesday’s Laurens County Advertiser for the complete story.