Mother stands by son arrested in fatal fire, meth lab

Photo from the May 31 apartment fire (WCIV)

By Nikki

GOOSE CREEK, S.C. (WCIV)- The fiance of a young woman killed in the massive Pine Harbour apartment fire May 31 is now behind bars along with the girl's mother.Police have arrested 19-year-old Michael Still on drug and conspiracy charges.

"I want to see them prove conspiracy.{} How can you be conspiring when you're asleep?{} My son has cooperated with them (deputies) since day one," said Jan.In an exclusive interview, Still's mother Jan told ABC News 4 that her son was planning to marry his fiance Morgan Abernathy sometime next year.{} She said he was an employee at the Dollar Tree on Rivers Avenue in North Charleston.

"He truly, truly loved her and she loved him," said Jan.{} "He's blamed himself for this because he couldn't get back in there to save her."Jan says that Shonni Abernathy and his friend, Jerald McCabe were in the apartment along with Morgan and her little cousin, Samuel Garbe. But Jan says her son Michael was asleep on the couch.

"I don't call him [Shonni] a father," said Jan.{} "Jerry was one of her father's friends, one of his druggies.{} They're not the only ones I hate.{} There's another one walking around," said Jan referring to Alberta Pierson.{} Pierson, 35, is the mother of Morgan.

Jan says it was McCabe who threw her son out of the burning apartment.

"He was still asleep and when he started to come to his senses a little bit from trying to wake up, he realized what was going on and he tried to go back into get her," she said.

Deputies did eventually discover an active meth lab in the unit, but Jan says her son is clean.

"My son, he was not on drugs he didn't do drugs, he didn't even drink, he didn't even smoke," she said "He was a good kid."She blames the crowd of people outside of the complex for beating up her son while he tried to go back in to get Morgan out of the burning building."They thought he was the one that did it and it wasn't him," she said "It was not him. How can you be doing something when you're asleep on the couch?"

Morgan Abernathy, 19, was killed in the fire.

Also killed in the fire were 69-year-old Joseph Raeth and 4-year-old Samuel Garbe.

Morgan's mother, 35-year-old Alberta Pierson has also been taken into custody Friday.{} Pierson is charged with conspiracy to manufacture meth and unlawful conduct towards a child.

Previously arrested were Morgan's father Shonni Abernathy and Jerald Edward McCabe.

On June 6, a judge set bond for Abernathy and McCabe, at $370,000 each.{} Detective Jason Potteiger told the judge he considered the two men to be a flight risk and danger to the community.{} If both men make bond, the judge stated that they will be placed under house arrest and be required to wear a GPS for tracking purposes.

In bond court Friday evening,the judge gave Pierson a $15,000 bond for the conspiracy charge and a $20,000 for the unlawful conduct charge.

Still was given a $15,000 surety bond.


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