South Carolina shock

A white South Carolina judge has ordered white nationalist Augustus Invictus to be released from jail.

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In a stunning reversal, a white South Carolina judge has ordered white nationalist Augustus Sol Invictus to be freed from jail as soon as today.

Sixteenth Circuit Court Judge Daniel Hall (pictured above) previously ordered Invictus to be held behind bars while awaiting trial, saying the racist figure who has ties to neo-Nazi groups like Atomwaffen Division posed a danger to the community. But Hall apparently had a change of heart on Tuesday, issuing a written order saying Invictus would be allowed to go free if he posted a $10,000 bond.

The order is set to go into effect at noon ET today.

Invictus is charged with domestic violence and using a gun in commission of a crime. He allegedly choked his wife and held a gun to her head during a domestic dispute in December. He was also originally charged with kidnapping, but Hall threw out that count a few weeks ago. Invictus has pleaded not guilty to the remaining charges.

During a hearing in February, his wife, Anna Invictus, read a statement making it clear she was afraid of what he might do if released.

“I implore you, I beg you, I plead with you, your honor, to keep him safely behind bars so me and my children and the others who have helped me escape him do not fear for our lives,” she said. “Augustus is not the stereotypical drunken wife beater. His calculated, violent, manipulative intentions deserve special consideration.”

She also mentioned that her husband had studied the late racist cult leader Charles Manson, whose followers murdered several people in the 1960s. Manson is looked up to by a subset of neo-Nazis who advocate for mass shootings and terror attacks to bring about the collapse of modern civilization.

At the time of the hearing, the judge sided with the wife’s pleas and kept Augustus Invictus behind bars.

But last week, with the coronavirus pandemic gripping the world, numerous defendants in York and Union counties in South Carolina were given the opportunity to ask for release from custody yet again. Invictus and his attorney latched onto the chance.

In the order, Hall didn’t explain the reasons for his reversal or even mention the coronavirus. He only repeated the facts of the case and said he considered those as well as the law when making his decision.

Hall is a former defense attorney who has drawn unusually public criticism from local law enforcement in South Carolina for his leniency in criminal cases.

In 2017, the NBC-affiliated TV station in nearby Charlotte, North Carolina, aired a report looking at the judge’s record and said it “uncovered a pattern that has many in our area disturbed and calling for change.”

The station talked to Union County Sheriff David Taylor, who was openly angry about some of the lenient sentences Hall had handed down.

“The inmates in my jail know when he’s coming and they line up to plead guilty in front of him because they know he’s going to give light sentences,” Taylor told the station.

The report mentioned that South Carolina is one of only two states where the legislature, not the public, elects judges. A 2015 report by the Rock Hill Herald noted that Hall ran for a judgeship three times previously and lost before finally winning a seat on the bench in 2014.

Hall’s order on Tuesday requires Invictus to have no contact with his wife and to immediately leave York County upon his release.

Invictus’ defense attorney told the Herald on Tuesday that he expects his client will head to Florida.

The judge did not order Invictus to wear an ankle monitor or keep in contact with law enforcement. Hall only required Invictus to return to York County for court appearances.

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