The Colleton County Sheriff’s Office and SLED arrested Nyah El Dey, 71, on Oct. 22 on outstanding warrants for intimidation of a court official. Along with El Dey, his wife, Brenda Rivers, 68, was also arrested on warrants stemming from Dorchester County for conspiracy and intimidation. El Dey and Rivers were taken into custody without incident at their residence, 716 Chestnut Rd., in Walterboro.
El Dey’s arrest stems from an incident in January 2018. The search for Nyah El Dey, 68, of Walterboro began on Jan. 19, 2018, several days after he allegedly sent letters described as vulgar and threatening to visiting Circuit Court Judge Diane S. Goodstein.
Goodstein was assigned to handle Common Pleas cases at the Colleton County Courthouse when she received the letters on Jan. 16-17, 2018.
After Goodstein received the letters, El Dey was ordered to appear in court on a rule to show cause.
When he failed to attend court, he was sentenced for direct criminal contempt by Goodstein.
In a previous case, El Dey acted as his own attorney when he filed a civil case in Colleton County Court in August 2016. The motion sought to have the court rule that 14th District Court Judge Perry Buckner and Goose Creek attorney Jay S. Masty lacked jurisdiction. At the time, El Dey and the S.C. Department of Transportation were in a dispute over an easement sought by SCDOT.
Judge Goodstein was assigned the case and in November 2016. El Dey, appearing at a motions hearing, decided to withdraw his court case.
In 2018, after losing a lengthy civil suit in court, El Dey had a 28-page document delivered to the courthouse. The Clerk of Court for the 14th Circuit Court of Common Pleas clocked in the form just after 2 p.m. on January 17, 2018. In that document, El Dey challenged the authority of the presiding judge. In one remark, El Dey stated, “That the Sui Juris demands and commands (the judge) to stand the hell down and get out of the business of the legates who have desire to settle and close this lawsuit between parties in question…”
El Dey was found in contempt of court, and a detention order was issued. Deputies from the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office immediately responded to El Dey’s residence, only to discover that he had fled the area. An arrest warrant was issued for intimidation of a court official.
In the 2018 search, the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office claimed that El Day (also known as Mitchell Joseph Murray, “Strawman” and “Debtor”) “has a known hatred for all governmental and authority figures. He has threatened law enforcement in the past and is known to own firearms.”
Over the next 20 months, El Dey allegedly continued to harass public officials in Colleton County and surrounding counties. On March 14, 2018, Rivers and El Dey reportedly were seen departing the post office in Walterboro. The next day, an attorney at Scott and Payne law firm in Walterboro received a package from El Dey. The attorney had previously represented the defendant in El Dey’s civil case. Upon opening the package, the attorney reported an allergic reaction to an unknown irritant that prompted a significant Hazmat response involving the Walterboro Fire Department, Walterboro Police Department, Colleton County Sheriff’s Office, Colleton County Fire-Rescue’s HAZMAT team, SLED, the FBI, Dept. of Homeland Security and the 43rd Civil Support Team, a specialized South Carolina National Guard unit based in the Columbia area that handles hazardous material incidents.
The guard unit’s tests confirmed what the earlier testing conducted by Fire-Rescue’s hazardous material unit had determined. The package contained a substance that, while not generally hazardous, did cause the attorney’s allergic reaction.
The suspicious package, after being processed and secured by the guard unit, was turned over to the FBI.
The following morning, Rivers was reportedly observed leaving the Walterboro Post Office after allegedly mailing a second package to the sheriff of Colleton County. Rivers was taken into custody on a warrant for obstruction of justice after investigators determined that Rivers was allegedly intentionally aiding El Dey in his flight from prosecution and actively participating in El Dey’s continued attempts to harass and intimidate public officials.
After the arrest of El Dey and Rivers last Thurday, a search warrant was sought and obtained for their residence. Colleton County investigators seized a significant amount of evidence, which was submitted to SLED for processing.
SLED has charged El Dey and Rivers with conspiracy/criminal conspiracy. Rivers was also charged with two counts of impersonating/asserting authority to intimidate or hinder an official by threat/harrassment. The two allegedly sent/had sent or signed documents from the “Moorish National Republic Moorish Divine and National Movement of the Word, an Amended Verified Joinder’s Civil Lawsuit Write for Malicious Persecution and Prosecution” to the Dorchester County Court. According to SLED, the documents “by their format, language and use of seals and titles intended to create the believe they are issued by a court authorized to exercise power and authority.”
El Dey and Rivers were booked into the Colleton County Detention Center and formally charged October 23. El Dey received a $100,000 surety bond and remains in custody pending other legal action. He will be prosecuted by the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office regarding his charge of intimidation of a court official.
Rivers was transported to the Dorchester County Detention Center, pending SLED charges for two counts of impersonation and criminal conspiracy. Rivers received a $5,000 surety bond for all three charges and has since bonded out. The 1st Circuit Solicitor’s Office will prosecute Rivers.
The Colleton County Sheriff’s Office conducted the investigation with assistance from SLED and the U.S. Marshall’s Service.
The Colleton County Sheriff’s Office asks anyone with additional information on the activities of El Dey and Rivers contact the Investigations Division at (843)549-2211.