Popular Charleston attorney David Aylor passed away on January 2. Aylor, 41, was found dead in his house, but the reason and manner of his death are still unknown, according to the Charleston County Coroner’s office.
The police in Charleston are looking into it. Stephen Schmutz, a former colleague and close friend of the deceased, claimed that the legal world is in shock. The people in the legal field will miss him, he said. A large chasm will form there.
In 2007, Aylor founded the David Aylor Law Office as a personal injury practice. David had worked as both a criminal defense attorney and a civil litigator before taking on the role of the acting prosecutor for the City of Hanahan.
Hanahan was formerly the assistant solicitor for the Charleston County, Ninth Circuit Solicitor’s Office. He worked as a law clerk in Charleston for Senator Glenn McConnell’s Judiciary Committee, US Magistrate Judge Robert S. Carr, and Criminal Defense Attorney Andrew J. Savage III.
The College of Charleston and the University of South Carolina School of Law both counted among his accomplishments. Stephen Bowden, a fellow lawyer and member of the Charleston City Council, recalls Aylor as a “natural in the courtroom.”
One thing that struck Bowden was a large number of young lawyers who got their start in his office while still in high school, college, or law school and afterward decided they wanted to become lawyers like him.
Mark Peper, another attorney, has indicated that he will miss Aylor’s companionship both in and out of the courtroom. Everyone who knew him would agree that he was a hell of a lawyer, but his friend was on another level, he claimed.
To paraphrase one admirer: “He united his community in ways no one else could.” Aylor had previously defended high-profile clients including Timothy Da’Shaun Taylor, who was falsely accused of raping and murdering Brittanee Drexel.
Based on evidence from an inmate, Taylor was identified as a suspect in the disappearance of Drexel from a Myrtle Beach hotel in 2009. However, in May of 2022, Raymond Moody came forward with a confession and led police to Drexel’s gravesite in Georgetown.
The charges against Moody include murder, kidnapping, criminal s*xual behavior in the first degree, and obstruction of justice. The FBI has stated that Taylor is no longer being investigated as a suspect. Aylor claimed the federal government was unfairly targeting Taylor since they only had the word of a “jailhouse rat” to go on.
According to Schmutz, Aylor built solid ties with his clients and worked tirelessly on their behalf. “He was so hardworking that he could easily outwork you,” Schmutz remarked of him. On certain days, he would work as late as 9 o’clock at night as an attorney.
Schmutz also recalled that Aylor was a family man, his parents had relocated to Charleston in order to be closer to their son, and two of Aylor’s siblings were also lawyers. According to Schmutz, Aylor frequently traveled with his son around the United States and around the world.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in South Carolina accused Aylor in October 2022 of violating a judge’s order restricting the dissemination of evidence in a case involving an alleged narcotics network.
Federal prosecutors claimed that Aylor had given a client access to sealed court documents, which were then posted online, compromising ongoing investigations and potentially exposing federal personnel and witnesses to danger.
However, according to court documents, the office changed its mind two months later and on December 19 submitted a stipulation of dismissal that was signed by both Aylor’s lawyer and the office.
Aylor is held liable for the violation of the order, although it is made plain in the agreement that he did not do it intentionally. And the prosecutors who asked for punishment against the lawyer confessed they made some mistakes too.
On December 20th, Aylor issued a statement to the media in which he acknowledged that his office had not taken “due care in preserving and protecting the case material,” calling the incident an “unintentional blunder.”
Aylor’s lawyer and the government both agreed that Aylor didn’t want any of the case evidence to go to anyone but himself. Schmutz stated that the matter was an oversight and “not a charge of dishonesty or duplicity.”
Records reveal that after Aylor submitted the stipulation of dismissal, he did not lose his good standing with the South Carolina Bar.
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