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Cleared of homicide, Conway man sues county, investigator

CONWAY, S.C. (AP) — A Conway man who was cleared in a child’s death after spending nearly four years in prison is suing Horry County and the investigator who handled his case.

The Sun News of Myrtle Beach reported that 38-year-old Robert Palmer filed the lawsuit last week, saying the ordeal cost him his job, kept him away from his family and left him with nightmares about what he endured in prison.

The lawsuit accuses the county, the state and police investigator David Weaver of malicious prosecution, false arrest and negligence.

A county spokeswoman declined to comment, saying the county typically doesn’t comment on pending litigation.

Palmer and his then-girlfriend Julia Shawnette Gorman were charged in the death of Gorman’s 17-month-old grandson, Aydian Grimes. Gorman’s daughter had left Aydian in the couple’s care and at some point, the baby received head injuries.

Aydian was being treated for skull fractures and bleeding in his brain and died in July 2008 after his parents decided to remove him from life support.

Gorman and Palmer were convicted during a joint trial in November 2011. They were sentenced to 20 years on aiding and abetting charges and 10 years each for an unlawful conduct toward a child charge.

The South Carolina Supreme Court reversed Palmer’s conviction in July, citing a lack of evidence that he was aware of Aydian’s injuries or caused them. The justices upheld Gorman’s conviction.

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