Problem inmate gets 3 years for urine toss
Charleston County authorities say Mark Swinton is a problem inmate who gets his jollies throwing urine at the jailers who watch over him.
But one such throw got him tossed in prison Tuesday with a three-year sentence.
Swinton, 24, of North Charleston pleaded guilty to throwing of bodily fluids by prisoner/detainee on state corrections or local law enforcement officer, corrections employee or visitor.
Prosecutors said that on Feb. 21 during the jail's meal time, Swinton had his arm through a flap on the cell door that is used to feed the inmates.
Assistant Solicitor Greg Voigt said because this is a potential safety hazard, two correctional officers tried to address the situation. Instead, prosecutors said, Swinton threw a cup of urine at the two officers.
On Tuesday, Circuit Judge Thomas Houghston sentenced Swinton to three years in prison with credit for 25 months. Voigt said he's seen a lot of cases where inmates have spit or thrown bodily fluids at inmates, but he said this is one of the few he's seen who has pleaded guilty.
In 2004, Swinton was convicted of possession with intent to distribute cocaine near a school. He was most recently being held on several pending charges, including attempted armed robbery, court records show. He could receive more time if found guilty.
Voigt called Swinton a problem inmate and said he's also pulled a fire alarm at the jail.
Records show it's not the first time Swinton has thrown bodily fluids at a detention officer. He was charged in three separate incidents in September and October of 2011 and August 2010, but he has not been convicted in those cases.
“I don't know what's going on, causing you to get in this kind of trouble,” Houghston said in court Tuesday. “You need to make a change.”
What will change is where Swinton will serve his time. According to Voigt, he'll be processed in Columbia before he's assigned to a state prison.
Reach Natalie Caula at 937-5560 or Twitter.com/ncaula.