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Georgetown Co. man sentenced to 30 years in deadly Andrews home invasion

Phillip Thomas Powers

Phillip Thomas Powers. Provided

GEORGETOWN — A Georgetown County man pleaded guilty Oct. 18 to charges stemming from a 2021 home invasion that left an Andrews man dead.

Phillip Thomas Powers, 50, was sentenced to 30 years in prison on charges of voluntary manslaughter, 10 years for grand larceny and five years for conspiracy. The sentences will run concurrently.

Powers also was ordered to pay $11,000 in restitution, according to Elizabeth Smith, the assistant solicitor for the 15th Circuit Solicitor's Office who prosecuted the case.

The sentence resulted from a Feb. 10, 2021, incident that led to the death of William Butler II, 64, of Gapway Road, according to a Georgetown County Sheriff's Department release. 

Powers knew the victim, a Vietnam veteran and an avid Christian, would regularly attend church on Wednesday evenings and went to Butler’s home to take items while no one was there. But when the burglary occurred, Butler had stayed home. He died of blunt force trauma.

Georgetown County Sheriff’s Office investigators gathered evidence that Powers entered the Butler home on a Wednesday evening, thinking the man and his wife would be at church. However, Butler decided to stay home. He was found dead of blunt force trauma, according to police. 

Police said that Butler’s truck was stolen during the incident and later recovered in the Big Dam Swamp neighborhood of Andrews, burned to the frame.

Joshua Dylan Leday, 26, of Andrews, was also arrested in connection with the 2021 home invasion and charged with murder, criminal conspiracy, burglary and grand larceny. Leday is still incarcerated in the Georgetown County Detention Center.

Guns and jewelry stolen during the murder, along with other evidence, were recovered from both suspects’ homes, according to authorities.

Investigators discovered that Powers had rented a small house from the Butlers and had done construction work inside their home as payment.

“We offer our sincere condolences to the Butler family and are thankful for the hard work by our team that resulted in justice,” Sheriff Carter Weaver stated in the release.

“Unfortunately, there were not many leads in the beginning of the investigation. However, Agent McKay with the Georgetown County Sheriff’s Office, was able to locate the stolen guns at the co-defendant’s house. This lead led law enforcement to Phillip Powers,” Smith said in an Oct. 21 press release. “After several months, this defendant did admit his involvement in the home invasion of the Bill Butler. It was with the support of the family that justice was able to be served in court. They have been active in the ongoing prosecution of this case. I would like to thank them for their support and faith in the system. I would also like to thank the GCSO for all their hard work.”

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Randal Seyler is the editor of the Georgetown Times and the Myrtle Beach Post and Courier.