Two Horry County men sentenced to 18 years in prison in fatal 2012 shooting

troot@thesunnews.comFebruary 14, 2014 

Two Horry County men were each sentenced to 18 years in prison after they pleaded guilty this week to voluntary manslaughter in a 2012 shooting death of a 33-year-old man, according to court records.

Kareem Labonte Vereen, 23, and Jamar Hashawn Wilson, 23, both of Longs each pleaded guilty to manslaughter and armed robbery on Tuesday before Circuit Court Judge Edward Cottingham, according to court records. The men were each sentenced to 18 years in prison on the manslaughter charge and 15 years on the robbery charge.

The sentences will run concurrently and the men received credit for the time they’ve previously served and were ordered to pay court costs.

Horry County police charted Vereen and Wilson in connection with the Feb. 9, 2012, shooting death of Gemell Drakeford, 33, of Wampee. Drakeford died after he was shot in the leg while along JC Lane in the Longs community.

Drakeford was pronounced dead about 90 minutes after the shooting while he was being treated at Grand Strand Regional Medical Center, Horry County Deputy Coroner Darris Fowler said at the time of the shooting. Drakeford died from massive hemorrhaging from a gunshot wound.

Horry County police Lt. Robert Kegler said at the time of the shooting that robbery was the motive for the incident.

Police were able to connect Wilson to the shooting because he was wearing a GPS tracking bracelet, which was a condition of his bond for a previous, unrelated incident. At the time of Drakeford’s death, Wilson faced gun and accessory charges related to the November 2010 shooting death of 18-year-old Lakeem Omar Bellamy of Chestnut Run Road.

Vereen was arrested in March 2012 after agents with the U.S. Marshal Service found him at a home on Collins Street in Myrtle Beach.

Contact TONYA ROOT at 444-1723 or follow her at

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