Mom says she's not being kept in the loop in son's murder case

Renita Royal of Hartsville is upset she wasn't contacted that the man accused of killing her only son was released from the Darlington County Detention Center on bond on February 22.

"The way I found out was in the streets. No one has contacted me. When I try to call different offices or anything, nobody is letting me know anything about what is going on with this case. And like I say it's going on four years," said Royal.

Darenzo Graham posted a $77,000 bond on February 22 on charges of murder and resisting arrest, according to the Darlington County Clerk of Court's Office.

He's accused of shooting to death Royal's 25-year-old son, Forrest, while he was playing basketball behind the Landmark Motel in Hartsville on May 31, 2009.

Police say Graham also shot Michael Jefferson.

Jefferson passed away a year after the shooting from injuries he suffered in the shooting.

Warrants show Graham has four charges pending against him in Darlington County for the two murders, an assault on a police officer and possession of a weapon during the commission of a crime.

Court officials say since 2010, he's been granted bond three times totaling $202,000.

"I just want someone to reach out to me and let me know what's going on," Royal said.

According to the Fourth Circuit Solicitor's Office, there wasn't a bond hearing for Graham, meaning he didn't go before a judge.

They say he posted bond from a prior hearing.

The Solicitor's Office says they had no way of knowing Graham made bond. They say it was the Darlington County Detention Center's obligation to make contact with Royal.

The Darlington County Sheriff's Office provided NewsChannel 15 with paperwork.

showing that detention center employees called Hartsville police on February 22 to notify them that Graham posted bond.

Hartsville police were supposed to contact Royal, but Chief James Hudson says they didn't get the call until after 9 p.m. and Graham had already bonded out.

Hudson also says they didn't have the right phone numbers for Royal.

Hudson adds he went by Royal's home to apologize for the mixup after learning what happened with Graham's release.

Royal has filed a formal complaint with the South Carolina Office of Governor Crime Victims' Ombudsman.

She's asked the governor's office to intervene because she feels like her rights as a victim have been violated.

"I just want someone to reach out to me and let me know what's going on because I'm tired of going through this pain and can't sleep at night having anxiety. It's very hurtful to me and my family."

Royal says she's heard back from the governor's office and someone is looking into her complaint.

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