At an eatery in Conway, SC, Bobby Paul Edwards, 53, allegedly abused and intimidated a black employee, forcing him to work long hours without pay. According to authorities, John Christopher Smith, 40, who suffers from intellectual disabilities, was victimized from 2009 to 2014. Yesterday, Edwards pleaded guilty to one count of forced labor.
According to authorities, Edwards beat Smith with a belt, punched him with his fists and burned his neck with hot tongs to make him work faster. He also verbally abused Smith, using racial epithets and refused to allow him to see his family. Smith lived in a room behind the restaurant.
A regular customer noticed scars on Smith while being served and called authorities. Edwards faces up to 20 years in prison, restitution to the victim and up to $250,000 in fines.