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South Carolina woman sentenced to more than five decades in prison for shooting dead her ex, injuring another woman

South Carolina – Deborah Michelle Anderson, a 43-year-old woman from Mullins, was sentenced to 57 years in prison for the 2021 murder of her ex-boyfriend and the attempted murder of another woman. The sentencing came after Anderson entered a guilty plea last Thursday to charges stemming from a violent encounter that occurred in front of a Pee Dee hospital, according to the 12th Circuit Solicitor’s Office.

The tragic events unfolded on December 9, 2021, when Anderson fatally shot 38-year-old Jeffery DeMarus McFarland and injured 51-year-old Cheryl Woodberry. The shooting took place at a stoplight on Highway 76, directly in front of Pee Dee Academy, as McFarland sat in the passenger seat of Woodberry’s car. McFarland succumbed to a gunshot wound to the head at a nearby Marion County hospital.

Woodberry, who survived the attack despite being struck by gunfire, played a crucial role in the case by identifying Anderson as the assailant. She recounted to law enforcement that Anderson had followed them in a Crown Victoria after they had left McFarland’s residence. According to Woodberry, Anderson pulled up alongside their vehicle at the stoplight and opened fire without warning.

The violent incident prompted immediate lockdowns at nearby institutions, including Pee Dee Academy and MUSC Health Marion Medical Center, where both victims were treated. This precautionary measure was highlighted during the plea by Assistant Solicitor J. Ryan White, who underscored the potential danger posed to other individuals in the vicinity.

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During her plea, Anderson opted for an Alford plea, a legal maneuver where the defendant maintains innocence while acknowledging that the evidence likely to be presented at trial would result in a conviction. This type of plea is treated the same as a traditional guilty plea concerning sentencing.

South Carolina Circuit Judge Michael Nettles, presiding over the case, also sentenced Anderson to 30 years for the attempted murder of Woodberry, with both sentences to run concurrently. According to state law, Anderson will not be eligible for parole.

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“While I am aware that the Defendant’s guilty plea spares the victims’ families the ordeal of a trial, her actions that day endangered not only the victims but those who were also traveling in proximity on Highway 76,” Assistant Solicitor J. Ryan White said during the plea, as reported by WPDE. “Pee Dee Academy and MUSC Hospital, located across the street from the stoplight where the shooting occurred, also went into lockdown as a safety precaution. It’s a miracle that more people weren’t injured,” White added.



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