A Hilton Head Island man has been convicted of 17 charges and sentenced to more than a century in prison for sexually abusing two young neighbors.
The girls were ages 8 and 11 when Herndon was arrested in 2019 and the abuse occurred over a period of more than five years.
Herndon received maximum sentences for each offense. The criminal sexual assault charges and one of the sexual exploitation charges are to run consecutively. The other exploitation sentences are to run concurrently, resulting in a 110-year sentence.
Herndon’s crimes were revealed after a relative grew suspicious of his relationship with the girls and discovered a hard drive full of pornographic images of them in the defendant’s home.
Herndon was initially charged by the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office with two counts of criminal sexual conduct with a minor and one count of sexual exploitation of a minor.
After further investigation, the Solicitor’s Office issued direct indictments that led to prosecution on 20 additional charges.
According to Duffie Stone, the prosecutor in this case, Herndon groomed the girls with toys, costumes and candy. “They trusted him. They called him ‘Uncle Timmy,’”
“But he was not the fun Uncle Timmy these girls thought he was. He was a sick, depraved predator who deserves every single second of his prison time.”
The upper story of Herndon’s home included a game room with video games, DVD movies and furniture styled to resemble Lego blocks.
But a cinema-style Ironman poster concealed a doorway into a bleak, uncarpeted room, where investigators found a mattress and video equipment. Law enforcement officers also recovered sex toys and children’s clothing from the home.
Stone also enlisted the FBI to construct a miniaturized replica of Herndon’s home to assist jurors in their understanding of Herndon’s crimes.
“The FBI assisted our office with a model once before, and the level of detail they produce is impressive – down to exact, miniaturized reproductions of individual movie posters on the game room wall,” Stone said. “I’m deeply appreciative. I think it unquestionably helped the jury understand the layout of Herndon’s house of horrors.”
Judge Carmen T. Mullen handed down the sentence.