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Saturday, June 10, 2023

The Blake Wardell Manslaughter Case

     Blake Randell Wardell resided in Honea Path, South Carolina, a town in the northeast part of the state. In the early morning hours of Wednesday, May 14, 2014, the 26-year-old Wardell, a man his age named Timothy Fisher, Taylor Ann Kelly and eight or nine others, were hanging out at a house in Honea Path. (The reporting on this case was so weak there was no information regarding who owned or lived in that house.)

     At 2:45 that morning, someone in the group (presumably) called 911 to report a shooting. Deputies with the Anderson County Sheriff's office, upon arrival at the house, found Wardell unresponsive and bleeding from the chest as he lay in a pool of blood on the garage floor. Paramedics arrived but were unable to revive Mr. Wardell who they pronounced dead at the scene.

     According to those questioned at the death site, Mr. Wardell had found, in the house, an old bullet-proof Kevlar flak-jacket. He put on the vest and asked someone to test it out by shooting him.

     Taylor Ann Kelly, a recent graduate of Belton-Honea Path High School took responsibility for the shooting death. She told the police that she had fired the small-caliber bullet that passed through the lining on the edge of the bullet-proof vest into Wardell's heart. (I presume detectives questioned the others at the scene who confirmed that Kelly was the one who had fired the fatal bullet.)

     Officers took the 18-year-girl into custody and booked her into the Anderson County Detention Center on the charge of involuntary manslaughter.

     In South Carolina, as in most states, the homicide offense of involuntary manslaughter involved, as criminal intent, the reckless disregard for human life. The fact the victim in this case had supposedly consented to being recklessly shot would not comprise a legal defense to this charge. According to the law, there are certain things people cannot legally consent to. Being shot is one of them. In South Carolina, involuntary manslaughter carried a maximum penalty of five years in prison. The judge set the 18-year-old suspect's bail at $10,000.

     On May 16, 2014 an Anderson County prosecutor reduced the charge against Taylor Kelly to accessory after the fact of a felony. According to investigators she had lied to police officers about shooting the victim. She had apparently confessed to protect the real shooter in the case--25-year-old Timothy Fisher.

     The Anderson County prosecutor charged Fisher with involuntary manslaughter. Officers booked him into the county detention center. The authorities did not reveal exactly why the girl had lied for this man. Did she do it voluntarily? Were Kelly and Fisher in some kind of relationship? Did Fisher have a criminal record? What was his relationship to Blake Wardell? The police did say that neither alcohol nor drugs played a role in the shooting. 

     This was a case that called for a careful and professional investigation to uncover possible motives for murder. The criminal investigation should have included a thorough forensic ballistics analysis which would include determining if the fatal bullet had actually passed through a bullet-proof vest. And finally, all witnesses to the shooting should have been asked to take polygraph tests.

     In 2015 Timmothy Fisher was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter. The judge sentenced him to five years probation. 


  1. Hey I know these two people Blake wardell is my son that got killed.i was in jail when they sentence timmy fisher too 5 years probation. So I didn't get to show up at the trail I wish they would reopen the case and give that punk wat he needs .the court gave him 5years probation Taylor kelly was his girlfriend.my son didn't find a bullet proof vest Timmy Fisher bought it from a guy named little Roy freeman. I will also say timmyfisher was also involved in a nothera deadly shooting of another suposes to oObe his friend chunsey Cunningham. That happened at the skate ring in Anderson scS

  2. What was the address where this happened