Ethan Mack is seeking to have his manslaughter conviction tossed out in the June 2009 killing of Charleston's Kate Waring, arguing that his lawyer did a poor job of representing him in the case.
That's a fairly common tactic for inmates looking to wriggle out of lengthy prison terms. Mack's attorney, David Aylor, said he stands behind his work in the case.
No court date has been set to hear Mack's petition for post-conviction relief. Mack, 32, is currently serving a 25-year prison term at the maximum-security Perry Correctional Institution in Pelzer.
Last April, Mack entered an Alford plea to voluntary manslaughter in Waring's death, not admitting guilt but conceding there was enough evidence to convict him. The plea came as prosecutors prepared to take him to trial for a second time on a murder charge. His first trial in October 2010 ended in a hung jury.
Authorities maintain that Mack tortured the 28-year-old woman with a stun gun, bashed her head with a wine bottle and dumped her in a water-filled bathtub to die at his James Island home.
Mack had nothing but good things to say about his attorney at the plea hearing. Now, Mack claims he was the victim of ineffective counsel and "malicious prosecution" by the Ninth Circuit Solicitor's Office. An 11-page petition filed by Mack states, among other things, that his lawyer failed to file an appeal on his behalf, challenge his co-defendant's statements, share a defense strategy and inform him of the consequences of his guilty plea.
The document doesn't offer many specifics and uses boilerplate language from similar appeals filed by other inmates. Some of the claims, such as Aylor's supposed failure to challenge co-defendant Heather Kamp's statements, seem odd. During Mack's trial, Aylor cross-examined Kamp for the better part of two days.
Aylor did not want to discuss specifics of his former client's claims. "My work speaks for itself, and I stand behind my work in this case," he said.
Mack's court-appointed lawyer for the post-conviction relief process is Charles Brooks of Sumter. Brooks said he was still reviewing the case and had no new information to provide.
Solicitor Scarlett Wilson said she doesn't think Mack's effort will help his cause. "The contents of the defendant's application appear to be boilerplate, vague assertions which are fairly typical of what we see in most every PCR claim," she said. "I am confident that his convictions will be upheld."
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