A Manhunt Ends

Attempted murder suspect is arrested in Laurens County. 


An attempted murder suspect described as a “thug” by the Laurens County sheriff and an “Ernest T. Bass” survivalist by the Newberry County sheriff has been arrested, according to the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office.

Authorities identified the suspect as Tracy Glen Parsons, 53, of Boyce Page Road, Honea Path. A person responding to a LCSO Facebook post about Parsons’ arrest said the suspect had returned recently to his “old stomping ground” in West Virginia, and everyone there was on edge.

“This is one more dangerous man,” Newberry County Sheriff Lee Foster said.

Parsons was arrested Thursday. Laurens County Sheriff Don Reynolds said an alert deputy initiated a traffic stop on a motorcycle Parsons was driving near Laurens.

Among the crimes alleged against Parsons is a Sept. 4 break-in on Dans Circle, Clinton, in which he terrorized a homeowner during a nighttime assault. After another break-in in Newberry County, Parsons allegedly fled into the woods to allude capture.

That’s when Newberry County Sheriff Lee Foster described Parsons as Ernest T. Bass, a character from TV’s Andy Griffith Show, who lived in the hills and caused mischief when he came into town, breaking windows with rocks and taunting law enforcement.

Later, Parsons allegedly entered a residence on Kitty Lane, Laurens, armed with a knife and terrorized people there. After that, he apparently took a stolen vehicle to West Virginia but then returned to Laurens County.

Charges against Parsons include grand larceny value $10,000 or more, burglary 1st degree, and criminal conspiracy (Clinton break-in); burglary 1st degree, attempted murder, kidnapping, armed robbery, grand larceny value more than $2,000 but less than $10,000, possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime, and financial transaction card theft (Laurens break-in, Nov. 4); unlawful carrying of a pistol, possession of a firearm or ammunition by person convicted of a violent felony, resisting arrest, failure to stop for blue lights, use of license plate other than for vehicle which issued, and simple possession (Thursday arrest); bench warrant for driving under suspension 1st offense (2019); and violation of terms of probation by the SC Department of Probation Parole and Pardon (2018).

Bond was denied on all charges except traffic and simple possession.

In a video statement, Reynolds said Parsons was arrested on Hwy 252/Neely Ferry Road about 4 p.m. Thursday. Reynolds said Parsons broke into a house and beat an older lady “who almost got the best of him; he has put fear in her heart as he has other residents in this county. I have a lady in Clinton with her son who does not want to sleep in her own bed. Newberry County, SLED and West Virginia all have been involved in apprehending this individual. I want him to have a long time to think about what he’s done.”  

Reynolds called Parsons a thug. “When you break into people’s residences and steal their stuff and whip an old lady and cut her and bring fear into her heart, what are you supposed to call it.”

Sheriff Foster said Parsons was wanted in connection with a home invasion that resulted in a two-day manhunt near Silverstreet. Parsons also was wanted for thefts in the Whitmire area, Foster said. In the home invasion, Parsons allegedly assaulted two residents and stole their vehicle. Foster said he was seen in Charlotte and also will face West Virginia charges. 

“(Parsons) was very adept at avoiding capture and had excellent survival skills,” Foster said. “Law Enforcement will be requesting a no bond on Parsons because he is a career criminal, a flight risk (to say the least), and an extremely dangerous man.”

A report said that in the Clinton break-in, Parsons allegedly entered the residence at night, became armed, and carried away items valued at more than $10,000. An alleged accomplice drove him to the crime scene and helped him sell the items from the Sept. 4 theft, the report said.

In the Laurens break-in, a report said Parsons allegedly entered a residence armed with a knife, injured people in the house by tying their hands and feet with rope, then cut their arms and slammed their heads into a wall. He is alleged to have taken candy, money, keys, a debit card and a Kia Rio (2011) from this residence on Nov. 4.

When he was caught, a report said Parsons was engaged in a high-speed pursuit across Laurens County, and that resulted in a motor vehicle accident. He tried to run, and officers took him into custody after a struggle. Parsons was armed with a Raven MP-25 handgun in his right front pocket, a report said. The vehicle he was operating, a 2004 Kawasaki, was displaying a license plate for a Harley Davidson motorcycle. He had a white plastic bag with a green leafy substance identified as marijuana upon his Nov. 19 arrest.

When Foster announced Parsons as a suspect in an Oct. 19 home invasion on Dennis Dairy Road, just outside of Newberry, the sheriff said the suspect’s last known address was Clinton Heights in Whitmire. Parsons fled that scene in the victim’s car, a NCSO Facebook post said, and the vehicle was found just west of Silverstreet, when Parsons fled into the woods. 

This alleged attack took place about 7:30 p.m. A suspect came out of the woods behind a residence and hit the homeowner with a pistol, then zip-tied the homeowner before confronting a woman. He struck her with the pistol and tied her up, fleeing in the victims’ vehicle. A SLED helicopter and K-9 units searched the Green Acres area west of Silverstreet. At that time, the suspect was said to be armed with a semi-automatic pistol. 

The suspect took cash from the home, and was seen later in a Silverstreet convenience store leaving toward Greenwood. He was spotted on SC 34 by agents of the SC Department of Natural Resources and the Highway Patrol. 

The suspect went through a soybean field and then his trail was lost near the Saluda River. 

At that time, a NCSO Facebook post said, “We cannot guarantee that (Parsons) is not still in the Silverstreet area. He is known for his abilities in the woods. He has a survivalist mentality. He also has the mentality of the mythical Ernest T. Bass from the Andy Griffith show, although he is not comical, he is dangerous.”  

A convenience store image was released showing Parsons wearing a camouflage jacket and hat. 

His alleged accomplice in the Sept. 4 break-in off Hwy 56 north of Clinton was identified by LCSO as Sandy Gossett Price, 53, of Whitmire. Parsons and Price are alleged to have entered the residence between Sept. 4 and 7, and removed jewelry, firearms, a bow and other personal property (more than $10,000), and Price was arrested Oct. 8 and held on charges of conspiracy, grand larceny and burglary first degree (nighttime). 


(Sources of information: WLBG radio-on-line, Facebook Pages of the Laurens County and Newberry County Sheriff’s Offices.)


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