PICKENS — The shooting deaths of a long-time Pickens football coach and his neighbor on Monday was not the result of a long-standing problem between the shooter and the two victims, Pickens County Sheriff Rick Clark said during a press conference held this morning.
Clark said there was a “a lot of rumor and speculation about this case in the community and we want to clear it up.”
Clark refuted any claims there was any type of longstanding problem between Albert Bowen, the man charged in the case, and Bill Isaacs, one of the victims. Dickie Stewart, 65, who was friends with Isaacs, was also shot and killed while he was on the phone with Pickens County 911 reporting that Isaacs was laying in the grass.
In a chilling 911 call released by the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office, Stewart can be heard telling the dispatcher that his neighbor — 75-year-old Isaacs — is down on the grass. Isaacs lived at 411 Gilliland Road and Stewart lived at 419 Gilliland Road, closer to the intersection with Homestead Place.
“I can’t tell what’s happened to him,” Stewart is heard saying.
The dispatcher asks Stewart if he is on Gilliland Road and then Stewart yells “I’ve been shot! He got me too!” Stewart tells the dispatcher again that he has been shot then the line went silent.
“Despite what you may have heard, through social media or in the community, there was no longstanding feud in this case,” Clark said. “This type of information is harmful to all the families involved and also hurts our investigation. What we have are three incidents of malicious damage since September of 2014 and the date of this tragic incident. The rumors and false information have to stop.”
Clark said there was not an “all-out feud” between Isaacs and Bowen, but there was “ongoing concern about peace in the neighborhood.” The PCSO had increased patrols in the area following some property damage complaints over the last couple of years.
As part of the press conference, Clark released three incident reports — one from Sept. 8, 2014, one from Dec. 21, 2014, and one from last Sunday, the day before the shooting.
In the first incident, Isaacs and his wife reported damage to their vehicles — two bullet holes in one vehicle and a single bullet hole in the tailgate of a truck and a fourth in the siding of their home at 411 Gilliland Road.
Four days later, the investigating officer canvassed the neighborhood and spoke with Bowen who stated he “had heard shots during the past week” that had “almost shook his house.” Five days later, on Sept. 17, fragments of .22 caliber rounds were discovered.
On Dec. 21, 2014, Isaacs and his wife reported that three rounds were fired into their residence and into a vehicle. Isaacs discovered a bullet fragment on Jan. 12, 2015, and turned it over to the PCSO.
The final incident report was filed by phone at 4:30 p.m. Sept. 13. Isaacs reported the windshield of a Model A parked in the driveway had been damaged by a gunshot by someone shooting in the direction of the house. Isaacs was “adamant about not having an officer respond to the scene,” the deputy wrote in the report.
A detective from the PCSO went to the Isaacs home on Monday morning to follow up on the report from Sunday, stayed about 30 minutes then went back to the Law Enforcement Center. Isaacs then went for his morning walk, Clark said.
Here is a timeline of what happened next:
9:50 a.m.: A motorist calls Pickens County 911 and reports a man “lying in the grass on the side of the road” and describes him as wearing a red shirt.
9:51 a.m.: Stewart calls Pickens County 911, reporting finding Isaacs on the side of the road. He is then heard telling the dispatcher that he has been shot.
9:57 a.m.: The detective returns to Isaacs residence.
9:58 a.m.: Bowen is placed into investigative custody.
Solicitor Walt Wilkins of the 13th Circuit Solicitor’s Office that under state statutes, the charges do qualify as a death penalty case but he cautioned that it doesn’t mean his office will request it.
“We will review all of the evidence once the investigation is over, speak with investigators, and the victims’ families and decide at that point how we will proceed,” Wilkins said.
Bowen, 64, of 412 Gilliland Road, has been charged with two counts of murder and two counts of possession of a weapon during a violent crime. His home is located directly across the street from the Isaacs.
The bond hearing for Bowen was waived by request of the Public Defender’s office, which is currently representing him. As a result, bond was denied and he remains in the Pickens County Detention Center. A trial date has not been set.
Bowen does have a criminal record, but Wilkins said his office has not seen anything to indicate “something like this could have been a danger.”
“I don’t know what the entire file will contain but there doesn’t appear to be anything of significant contemporaneous relationship to this crime,” he said.
A public memorial service for Isaacs has been scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday at the old Pickens High School stadium (Bruce Field). Those attending are asked to wear Blue Flame blue.
“In cases like this, our condolences go out to the families. The Isaacs family, what a tremendous family to Pickens County. I grew up on Main Street at Clark Furniture in Pickens in the 70s and 80s when Pickens football was king,” Clark stated at the beginning of the press conference.
“Mr. Isaacs was a a builder of men and a builder of communities and community pride. The Stewart family, we met with both families yesterday, and hugged and consoled each other. Just two great families and the way they are holding up is an inspiration to us all,” he added. “We lost a God-fearing man and a true person who I know Secona Baptist Church is going to miss.”