James "Bob" Shirley
James "Bob" Shirley
Two men, including a former state representative, were arrested during the weekend following a brawl at an Abbeville bar that led to a stabbing.
Mason Ashley, 40, of 206 Pineview St., Abbeville, was charged with attempted murder, possession of a weapon during a violent crime and second-degree assault and battery in connection with the weekend melee.
The barroom scuffle also involved former one-term state representative James "Bob" Shirley. Shirley, 61, of 907 W. Washington St., Abbeville, faces a count of third-degree assault and battery stemming from the incident.
Records indicated both men paid their respective bonds and were released from the Abbeville County Detention Center during the weekend.
The incident occurred early Saturday morning at Pop-A-Top Sports Bar & Grill, 91 S.C. Highway 72 West. Officers responded to the Abbeville bar just after 4:15 a.m. and found two victims outside the establishment who were stabbed.
According to an Abbeville County incident report, one woman had a stab wound underneath her right breast, and a male victim was bleeding profusely from a laceration to his right abdomen. EMS responded to the scene and transported both victims, whose injuries were listed as minor on the incident report.
The female victim told deputies the two suspects were playing pool with the male victim, who won some money from the two men. When the victim left the bar with his girlfriend, he found Shirley outside urinating on his vehicle. According to the report, the victim told Shirley to stop urinating on his vehicle, at which point the former state representative punched the man, sparking a fight.
The female victim told officers the man then retaliated, punching Shirley back and knocking him to the ground. The woman said she attempted to grab the male victim and get him to leave. That's when the female victim said Ashley came around the vehicle and stated, "Ya'll ain't doing that." He stabbed the woman and then stabbed the other victim, she told officers.
Officers questioned the two suspects, who were still at the scene when deputies arrived. Both men told officers no one had a knife. Investigators later discovered a black knife with a three-inch blade in Ashley's possession and two-inch knife in Shirley's possession, the report indicated. The male victim was subsequently transported to Self Regional Medical Center to be treated for his injuries.
Shirley could not be reached for comment Tuesday. The Abbeville native ran for the state House of Representatives District 11 seat in 2012, initially filing as a Democrat. He was one of nearly 200 candidates decertified during last year's statements of economic interest filing controversy, and ultimately ran as a petition candidate. He finished third to Republican Craig Gagnon in the three-man race, garnering about 14 percent of the vote.
Shirley was elected to the Statehouse in 1990 for a single term. Saturday's ordeal was not the former legislator's first brush with the law. South Carolina Law Enforcement Division records indicated he was convicted in 2000 of simple assault and battery and paid a $450 fine.
An Abbeville Police Department incident report noted Shirley punched a victim named Donald Berni in the facial area.
During an October 2012 interview with the Index-Journal, Shirley described those allegations, which came during another of his runs for the Statehouse, as politically motivated.
"(Berni) and I today don't have any problems," Shirley said. "There is absolutely nothing to this."