March, August surges keep number of homicides on par with previous years

troot@thesunnews.comOctober 14, 2012 

Homicides along the Grand Strand are on par with previous years even though there were surges in March and August where investigators recorded four slayings each month, according to authorities.

Police with departments in Horry County and Myrtle Beach report that they each have two open unsolved homicide cases out of a combined total of 19, authorities said.

Georgetown County authorities have investigated three homicides, with one in the city limits and two in the county’s jurisdiction. They remain under investigation.

As of Friday, Horry County police responded to 15 homicides this year and Sgt. Robert Kegler said two of those are under investigation. The other 13 have been resolved through arrests and the cases are closed.

In Myrtle Beach, police Capt. David Knipes said city officers have responded to four homicides this year, the same as all of 2011. In 2010, city detectives only dealt with one homicide.

“For 2012 we have had four homicides, of those two resulted in arrests and the other two are still being investigated,” Knipes said. “Two happened in the parking lots of nightclubs after altercations inside the clubs, one happened in a motel room and is possibly drug related and the last one happened outside a grocery store and involved acquaintances.”

In Horry and Georgetown counties a breakdown of this year’s homicides include: three at nightclubs or bars; one at a birthday party; six were domestic related; one person was killed during a robbery attempt; and eight involved acquaintances or have not been solved and remain under investigation.

“There are no specific trends or theories with the higher number of homicides,” Horry County police Sgt. Robert Kegler said. “Homicides are not typically random acts. In most cases, the victim and suspect know each other in some fashion.”

That’s what neighbors suspected in the death of a 20-year-old man gunned down on a Myrtle Beach area street outside his girlfriend’s home. The neighbors, who declined to be identified out of fear, said they suspected Jose Gutierez’s death was related to drug activity.

Friends, family members and neighbors in some of the other slayings declined to comment.

Three men are facing charges in connection with Gutierez’s death, but police have not released a motive.

In other homicides, police said the motives were apparent.

David Jermaine Williams, 38, died after being shot multiple times in his upper body at a home on Tidway Circle. Police charged Shackeel Aaron Coleman, 21, of Conway with murder in William’s death, and said Coleman went to the home after he learned his mother and Williams argued over property.

Coleman was released on $30,000 bail last week from J. Reuben Long Detention Center after being held there since his arrest on Sept. 22, according to jail records.

Here’s a brief recap of the area’s homicides this year:

•  Joseph Jolly Jr., 18, of Myrtle Beach, was shot at a nightclub in the Racepath Community at 9:30 p.m. on Jan. 14. Police charged Brandon Javon Sutton, 19, of Myrtle Beach with murder.

•  Ralph Courtney Padgette, 28, of Longs was shot Jan. 28 at the Snake Pit Club on Dogwood Avenue in Longs and died at 11:17 a.m. Feb. 16. Police arrested Bryan Oteius Clarida, 26, of Longs, who took Padgette to the hospital, and charged him with accessory after the fact of murder. The case remains open and under investigation.

•  Eugene Permenter, 59, of North Myrtle Beach died after being stabbed inside his Cherry Grove home. On Feb. 4, North Myrtle Beach police charged Permenter’s son, Lucas James Permenter, 31, of North Myrtle Beach with murder after he told police he had argued with his father and admitted to stabbing and killing him.

Permenter’s body was found by other family members who broke into the house when they had not heard from him. He was face down on the floor in the living room, with dried blood on his body.

•  Gemell Drakeford, 33, of Wampee died after being shot in the leg Feb. 9 along JC Lane in the Longs community. Police charged Jamar Hawshawn Wilson, 21, with murder and armed robbery. He was wearing a GPS tracking device that connected him to the murder. The device was a condition of bond for a previous, unrelated incident. On March 9, police charged Thurston Jay Hardiman, 17, of Longs with accessory after the fact of murder. The case remains open and police are searching for a third suspect.

•  Coaty Santel Deas died from multiple gunshot wounds on March 5 after police said he attempted to rob the owner of the Food Shop at 1300 U.S. 501 Business near Conway. The store owner shot at Deas. Tamela Riggins, 29, of Conway, was charged with attempted murder and attempted armed robbery after she admitted to being Deas’ lookout and getaway driver.

•  Jamell McFadden, 35, of Kingstree died March 6 after he was shot during a fight at the Third Avenue Sports Bar in Myrtle Beach. Police charged Annaliese Maria Testa, 23, of Myrtle Beach as an accessory after the fact to murder; Michael Dewarren Spivey, 39, of Myrtle Beach with assault and battery by a mob in the second degree; Corey Alexander Myers, 27, of Myrtle Beach with murder, attempted murder and pointing and presenting a firearm at a person; and Armondo Kimokee Chestnut, 35, of Myrtle Beach with murder, attempted murder, pointing and presenting a firearm at a person and second-degree assault and battery.

•  David Altman, 39, of Conway, was assaulted during his birthday party at the end of February and died from those injuries on March 3. Police charged Brian Lee Kupport, 39, with murder. Police said Altman was punched in the face. He then fell, hit his head and began convulsing. He was unconscious and had a skull fracture when he was admitted to the hospital.

•  Tony Marvin Hughes, 46, died after he was shot March 31 outside his girlfriend’s home on Bay Forge Road, which is off Clay Pond Road and Burcale Road near Myrtle Beach. Hughes’ ex-girlfriend Vivian Lynn Schrader-Falls, 52, of Myrtle Beach, was charged with murder.

•  James Earl “Scoopy” Richardson Jr., 18, was found shot to death May 25 on the side of Parkersville Road near Julian Rutledge Drive. Georgetown County deputies continue to investigate Richardson’s death.

•  Jose Gutierez, 20, of Myrtle Beach, died after being shot June 8 on Ronald McNair Boulevard in the River Oaks area near the Carolina Bays Parkway overpass. Horry County police were called for a report of gunshots being fired in the area about 8:30 p.m., and the caller told dispatchers that a man had been shot and several women put him in a vehicle and drove away. Police arrested three people in connection with the killing. Charles Johnson, 22, of Conway, was charged with murder, simple possession of marijuana and malicious damage to real property with a value between $1,000 to $5,000; Shelton Lathal Butler Jr., 21, of Conway was charged with murder and a parole violation; and Donavon Curtis Johnson, 19, of Conway, was charged with murder in Gutierez’s death.

•  Douglas Floyd, 34, of Conway died after being shot June 19 in the 2300 block of Leonard Avenue. Police charged Glenn Wendell Bellamy, 26, and Dustin Wilson, 22, both of Conway, with murder. Bellamy also was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime.

•  Sean Edwards, 21, of Connecticut died Aug. 18 after being shot in the chest in the parking lot of Club Isis in Pawleys Island. Police continue to investigate the death and no arrests have been made.

•  Amos Hatfield, 66, and his son Thomas Howard Hatfield, 40, died after being shot Aug. 19 in their home on Red Bluff Road in Loris. Police charged the elder Hatfield’s wife, Sandy Lee Locklear, 40, of Tabor City, N.C., with murder in their deaths and burglary and filing a false police report.

•  Marcus Darnell Nelson, 30, died after being shot multiple times in his upper body Aug. 28 inside a room at the Cam Motel in Myrtle Beach. Police continue to investigate the death and no arrests have been made.

•  Alfonso Terrell Thomas, 25, of Georgetown died after being shot Aug. 30 in a wooded area near a path between Legion and Church streets. Police continue to investigate the death and no arrests have been made.

•  Christopher Nance, 44, of Murrells Inlet died Sept. 4 after being stabbed outside his home on Van Buren Drive, which is off U.S. 17 Business near the Georgetown County line. Nance’s nephew and that man’s roommate, Joshua Cody Wilson, 25, and Dustin Clifford Autry, 24, were each charged with murder. The men lived next door to Nance.

•  David Jermaine Williams, 38, of Conway died after being shot multiple times in his upper body on Sept. 21 at a home on Tidway Circle near Conway. Shackeel Aaron Coleman, 21, of Conway was charged with murder

•  Paris Shanita Bellinger, 23, of Socastee died after being stabbed Oct. 4 inside her home on Weeks Drive. Police continue to investigate her death and no arrests have been made.

Contact TONYA ROOT at 444-1723.

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