(Walhalla, SC). James William Toward was sentenced to 48 years in prison today for the murder of Scott Johnston in 2014, as well as kidnapping and burglary, 1st degree. Trial was set for Monday of this week when Toward chose to enter a guilty plea to all charges. The prosecutor in the case was Deputy Solicitor David Wagner. The defendant was represented by Gordon Senerius of Anderson, SC.
On January 2, 2014, law enforcement was called to Ames Street in Seneca. When officers arrived they found the victim, Scott Johnston lying on the floor deceased. A second victim, Jody Corley, was tied up and laying on her stomach on the floor near Johnston. She was transported to Oconee Memorial Hospital due to gunshot wounds. Ms. Corley identified the perpetrators as neighbors living across the street, one of which was James Toward. The two neighbors were taken to the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office for interviews. According to statements made at that time, the defendants needed money for rent and broke into the house to steal items to get the money. Mr. Johnston was awakened by the burglary and Toward chased him into a bedroom where shots were fired. During a subsequent struggle for the gun with Toward, Ms. Corley was shot in the foot. Shell casings, bloody clothes and stolen items were removed from the scene as the two fled.
“Today’s guilty plea allows the families of Scott Johnston and Jody Corley to see justice delivered for the unbearable pain and loss that James Toward put them through and ensure that the man who murdered Mr. Johnston is sent to prison for the next 48 years,” said Solicitor Chrissy Adams.