Police want cross-burning couple kicked out of SC home. Will they be removed? What we know

The mother of the man accused of burning a cross near his Black neighbors’ home defended her son Wednesday while neighbors and police called for him and his girlfriend to be removed from the house.

A hearing to declare the house where the cross-burning couple resides a public nuisance included testimony from neighbors, a police officer and Worden Butler’s mother. The house is located along Corbett Drive outside Conway.

The injunction is being sought by the 15th Circuit Solicitor’s Office. A decision will be made by 5 p.m. Thursday, Judge William Seals said.

By declaring the house a nuisance, no one would be allowed to live there, including Butler and his girlfriend Alexis Hartnett, The Sun News reported. Butler and Hartnett are accused of harassing neighbors Monica and Shawn Williams and calling them racial slurs. They also set a cross on fire along their privacy fence around Thanksgiving.

Butler and Hartnett were charged with harassment, and Hartnett also has an assault charge, for their November actions.

According to Hartnett’s laywer Michael Wells, she no longer lives in the Corbett Drive home. However, Hartnett was recently arrested for doing jumping jacks topless in the home’s yard.

Butler’s mother defends couple

Janet Butler, the owner of the house where Worden resides, spoke about her son and Hartnett. She said Butler has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and can struggle to understand the world around him. He has been living in the house since he was 4 years old and she does not believe he should be removed from the residence.

Janet Butler said she does not believe her son is a violent or aggressive person. She believes neighbors have provoked him and Hartnett. She said does not think neighbors have told the whole truth.

Butler gave an example by disputing Monica Williams’ claim that Worden Butler threw a firecracker at her. Bulter said that Williams had thrown it onto the property first.

She also said the trenches dug around the yard, a complaint brought up by multiple neighbors, are for Worden Butler’s plants. The deepest trench was dug so he could start a fish farm, she said.

The home of Worden Evander Butler and Alexis Paige Hartnett on Corbett Drive in Conway where the couple were charged with second-degree harassment in connection with the November 24 cross burning near their neighbor’s fence. The South Carolina NAACP along with area officials held a press conference today at the Horry County Judicial Center to speak about a cross burning incident that happened Thanksgiving weekend. NAACP leadership are calling for the state to pass hate crime legislation. Dec. 27, 2023. JASON LEE/jlee@thesunnews.com

Janet Butler said she did not know about the cross burning incident until the Federal Bureau of Investigation came to her Corbett Drive home.

Williams explains harassment received by Hartnett

Monica Williams detailed what led up to Hartnett’s harassment charge. Williams said while leaving her house in her car on Thanksgiving, she stopped to speak to Worden Butler about the problems they were having. While Williams spoke with him, Hartnett ran up to them and began yelling at Williams.

“(Hartnett) just started calling me all kinds of ‘n----s’ and ‘b---s’ and ‘I kill, I shot a n----r before in a Walmart parking lot and I’ll do the same to you. I shoot n----rs and I don’t get caught when I do,’” Williams said.

Williams also testified the cross burning happened on her property. She said Butler seemed “possessive” of the land.

Butler would put down a rope along the land to show the property line, although he would often encroach onto Williams’ property. Williams said she found this out by having a property surveyor come out.

Butler’s possessiveness prompted the Williams to install the fence farther into their property instead of on the property line. Although the cross was burned on the other side of the fence, Williams said it was burned on her property.

Police want to see the property ‘closed down’

Horry County Police Capt. Danny Furr testified that police have been called to the Butler property an excessive number of times.

“We’ve received several calls for service ranging from public disorderly conduct to breach of peace to domestic violence to nudity to warrant services, unwanted individuals,” Furr said.

He said he has been inside the home and said there is animal feces, holes in the wall, walls missing and furniture strewn around. He described the outside of the home as looking like a “demilitarized zone.”

When asked about the inside of the home, Janet Butler said she was there Wednesday morning and has seen the house look worse and seen it look better.