Submitted May 15, 2019
from Greenville County Daniel Dewitt Hall, Circuit Court
Charles Grose Jr., of Grose Law Firm, of Greenwood, for
Attorney General Alan McCrory Wilson and Assistant Attorney
General Lindsey Ann McCallister, both of Columbia, for
post-conviction relief (PCR) matter, Korey Lamar Love moved
at the outset of his PCR hearing to amend his application for
relief to add four additional grounds of ineffective
assistance of counsel. This appeal centers upon only one of
those additional grounds, specifically that trial counsel was
ineffective for failing to object to a portion of the
State's closing argument. The State objected to the
amendments, and the PCR court denied Love's motion to
amend, finding the State would be unfairly prejudiced by
allowing Love to amend his PCR application upon such short
notice. We granted Love a writ of certiorari to address
whether the PCR court erred by not allowing him to amend his
application to add the ground concerning the State's
closing argument. We reverse the PCR court's denial of
Love's motion to amend to add that one ground, and we
remand this matter to the PCR court and instruct the PCR
court to consider the merits of this additional ground.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
January 27, 2007, at approximately 1:30 a.m., Isaac Bass
(Victim) completed his shift at the Greenville Wendy's on
Pleasantburg Drive and exited the restaurant through the
self-locking back door. Victim was immediately confronted by
an armed assailant, who attempted to rob Victim. Victim
called for help, and a struggle ensued. Victim broke free
from the assailant and attempted to run away; however, the
assailant shot Victim in the neck. The assailant and a cohort
fled the scene. Victim got to his feet, walked around the
side of the Wendy's, and banged on the drive-thru window.
Because he was shot in the neck, Victim was unable to call
for help. Victim made his way towards the street and flagged
down a passing vehicle. The driver saw Victim on the side of
the road and observed two men sprinting away from the
Wendy's. The driver stopped to provide Victim assistance;
however, Victim did not survive.
there was no physical evidence linking the case to any
suspect, the case went unsolved for a few years. In 2010,
Detective Collis Flavell was assigned to the case. Detective
Flavell informed Victim's parents he was working the
case, and the community soon became involved in raising
reward money and asking people to come forward with
information. As a result of these efforts, Detective Flavell
received a tip suggesting law enforcement investigate certain
members of the Love family.
an investigation, Korey Love was arrested and indicted for
murder, attempted armed robbery, possession of a weapon
during the commission of a violent crime, and possession of a
pistol by a person under the age of eighteen. At trial, the
State's case was built upon the testimony of several
people who explained Love's involvement in Victim's
murder. During the State's closing argument, the State
told the jury:
This is your opportunity to do justice in this case under the
oath that you have taken. You can be instruments of justice
for [Victim]. His death was not the final chapter of his
life, this trial is the final chapter of his life.
counsel did not object to this comment. The jury found Love
guilty as indicted. The trial court sentenced Love to
concurrent prison terms of fifty years for murder, twenty
years for attempted armed robbery, five years for possession
of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime, and
five years for possession of a pistol by a person under the
age of eighteen. The court of appeals dismissed Love's
direct appeal following Anders briefing.
State v. Love, Op. No. 2014-UP-177 (S.C. Ct. App.
filed Apr. 23, 2014).
filed an application for PCR on April 8, 2015, claiming
ineffective assistance of both trial and appellate counsel. A
PCR hearing was held on February 17, 2016. As the hearing
commenced, Love moved to amend his application to add four
additional grounds of ineffective assistance of counsel. The
following exchange took place:
Love: I have an amended application that I
would like to hand up. It adds some matters that were on the
record but not included in the original application.
The State: Your Honor, we would object to
that. Again, this case has been scheduled for more than a
month. I was handed the amendments this morning.
Love: I've marked this as
Applicant's Exhibit Number 4, at least as a proffer, and
I move to be allowed to amend under the liberal rules of . .
. civil procedure that allow amendments, even amendments