DNA found on weapon of gunman charged with assault: SC cops

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A man has been sentenced to prison after an attack on a South Carolina trail, officials said.

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A woman was on a popular South Carolina walking trail when a gunman attacked her in 2019, officials said.

Now, the 31-year-old man charged with the Swamp Rabbit Trail assault faces jail time, according to Greenville-area prosecutors.

Ronald Dean McKinney III was sentenced to 20 years behind bars after pleading guilty to assault with intent to commit criminal sexual behavior and armed robbery, the 13th Circuit District Attorney’s Office said in a March 2 press release.

An attorney purporting to represent McKinney did not immediately respond to McClatchy News’ March 2 request for comment.

A 49-year-old woman was alone on the Greenville trail when officials said McKinney came from behind and forced her to the ground on November 25, 2019.

“McKinney then assaulted the female victim with intent to commit sexual assault,” the prosecutor’s office said in a press release. “The victim began to fight back, and the accused presented a pistol and told him to shut up.”

McKinney struck the woman with the gun and shot at her clothing during the incident, the Greenville Police Department wrote in a 2019 Facebook post.

At the time, officers called Swamp Rabbit Trail “one of Greenville’s busiest recreation destinations.” Officials said someone who saw the incident called 911 and McKinney fled with the woman’s belongings.

“McKinney grabbed the victim’s cell phone and wallet and fled,” prosecutors said. “The Greenville Police Department located the gun in McKinney’s house. The gun was processed for DNA, and the victim’s DNA was found on the gun’s barrel and trigger.

The woman received medical treatment for her injuries, McClatchy News reported.

Simone Jasper is a reporter who covers breaking news for The News & Observer and real-time news in the Carolinas.