After being charged with misconduct in office and obstructing justice, former Simpsonville City Police Office investigator Ralph Bobo pled guilty to a misdemeanor on Tuesday, June 16th. James Bannister acted as Bobo’s attorney.
Bobo admitted to removing a strand of hair from the evidence locker in the murder case of Cassandra Johnson, which was originally investigated in 1984. Advancements in technology allowed detective Bobo to use DNA evidence from the victim’s jacket and person to track down two specific individuals believed to be the murderers.
The DNA evidence that led authorities to the two suspects was unrelated to the strand of hair that Bobo removed. One of the DNA suspects was deceased and the other was serving a life sentence for murder in N.C. In 2002, the Simpsonville Chief of Police instructed Bobo to make the man who had discovered Cassandra’s body a suspect. Bobo believed the hair that he took belonged to this man as he was the only Caucasian involved and the hair had been identified as that of a Caucasian. Because this man had an alibi and no evidence indicated he had anything to do with the murder, Bobo took the hair and destroyed it in order to protect the man and his family. The destruction of the hair occurred after the DNA evidence was obtained.
Bannister argued that the evidence removed by Bobo was irrelevant and Bobo apologized to the family. In addition, Bannister argued that the murderer died in jail serving a life sentence and the other suspect was dead before the DNA evidence was discovered. As a result, this was not a case where Bobo caused someone guilty of murder to walk free. After originally facing up to 20 years in prison, Ralph Bobo pled guilty to the misdemeanor charge and received 18 months of probation.
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