Man charged with murder, arson sues Aiken County Sheriff's Office over jail attack

Jul. 29—An Aiken man once charged with murder and arson in the death of a 10-year-old boy from Warrenville has sued the Aiken County Sheriff's Office over an alleged attack by three detention center officers on Aug. 9, 2020.

Ridgeland attorneys Neil Alger and Austin Crosby filed a complaint on behalf of Clifford Bryan Beaudin Jr. in the Aiken County Court of Common Pleas on July 20 alleging that the Sheriff's Office was negligent or grossly negligent in its treatment of Beaudin.

Alger said Friday morning that he stands by the allegations in the complaint but added it's still early in the case and facts are still being determined.

He added that his law office is happy to work to protect the rights of people, even those in jail. He said even people in jail have basic human rights that must be respected.

Alger asks the court to award actual and consequential damages plus the costs of the action.

Aiken County Detention Center Administrator Nicholas Gallam declined comment on the suit when contacted Thursday morning.

Beaudin was arrested on July 11, 2020, and was eventually charged with first degree arson, second degree arson, attempted murder and murder.

He was accused of setting a home on fire where Kason Adams, 10, was spending the night with a friend. Adams later died from injuries he received in the fire.

Beaudin was allegedly attacked by three detention center officers, Thomas Caffrey Jr., of Aiken, Hillario Fuentes Rosario, of Orlando, and Rodney Robinson Jr., of North Augusta, on Aug. 9, 2020.

What led up to the alleged attack is disputed.

Alger says in the complaint that Beaudin complied with instructions from a detention center officer to gather his belongings but attempted to hit the officer. He said Beaudin missed the attempt which allowed the officer to retreat and Beaudin to continue to leave.

Warrants obtained by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division say that Robinson grabbed Beaudin and pushed him to the ground after Beaudin demonstrated non-compliance.

"Suddenly and without warning, three of the Defendant's correctional officers and employees returned to the recreation area and proceed to unjustifiably assault and attack Beaudin," Alger says in the complaint.

In the warrants, Robinson and Fuentes-Rosario are accused of striking Beaudin several times with closed fists. Robinson is accused of striking Beaudin with elbows to his head and shoulders. Fuentes-Rosario is accused of kneeing Beaudin in the back. All three officers are accused of using a weapon to deliver an electric shock to Beaudin who was not resisting or being combative, according to the warrants.

The Aiken County Sheriff's Office began an internal investigation into the officers' actions on Aug. 10, 2020.

Capt. Eric Abdullah said the three officers were terminated at the end of the internal investigation.

On Aug. 11, 2020, Aiken County Sheriff Michael Hunt requested the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division investigate the actions of the three officers.

On Jan. 15, 2021, Caffrey, Fuentes Rosario and Robinson were arrested and charged with misconduct in office by a public official.

On Sept. 15, 2021, Beaudin was declared not competent to stand trial.

Alger says in the complaint that Beaudin has a well-documented mental health history including diagnosis of anxiety, depression and schizophrenia.

Second Judicial Circuit Solicitor Bill Weeks said the cases against Caffrey, Fuentes Rosario and Robinson were diverted and alternative disposition programs were involved.