Two men facing different charges in connection with the shooting death of a 16-year-old Loris boy were granted bonds in a magistrate courtroom at the J. Reuben Long Detention Center Tuesday morning.
Michael Bennie Williamson, 47, of Aynor, appeared before Judge Nathan Hutson for a bond hearing on charges of first-degree assault and battery, voluntary manslaughter and possessing a weapon during the commission of a violent crime for the shooting death of Spencer Prince. His bonds were set at a total of $110,000.
“Our world has been turned upside down, and not just ours — I understand theirs has too, and I know one day I’ll have to forgive him, but today’s not that day,” said Spencer’s mother, Tiffiny Prince, through sobs as she addressed the court when Williamson appeared for bond.
Nathan Kendell Bell, 35, of Loris, also appeared before the judge, charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor and four counts of unlawful neglect of a child. Bell’s bonds were set at a total of $50,000.
Police say Bell drove Spencer and two others to a home in the Aynor area where a fight and then a shooting broke out during a party around 2:45 a.m. Sunday.
“My child has been taken, and there’s no bringing him back — no matter what,” Prince said as tears streamed down her face.
Witnesses told Horry County police that the group was arguing with Williamson’s son over the phone and that they came to the party “to fight them because they were not invited,” according to a police report.
Prince was shot in the chaos and was transported to Seacoast Hospital, where he later died from his injuries, according to Horry County Chief Deputy Coroner Tamara Willard.
One man told police that “warning shots” were fired during the fight.
Williamson had a “very deep and long cut” above his left eye and his knee “was badly scraped,” police said.
“As being a mother whose never going to see her son again — I don’t think he deserves to have bond set,” Prince said at the bond hearing.
Pierce Haar, assistant solicitor with the 15th Circuit Solicitor’s Office, who will be prosecuting the case at the hearings, asked that the judge either not set bond for both men or set a significant surety bond, stating he believed they posed a danger or a potential danger to the community.
“This whole incident happened out of a bunch of ill will between these parties involved,” Haar said.
Haar said the charge of first-degree assault and battery in the case pertained to another teen.
Authorities allege Williamson retrieved a gun from a vehicle and shot Prince in the chest.
Using that same gun, prosecutors say, he then approached another “juvenile — and while the victim was on the ground, after being assaulted — he stood over the victim and fired one shot in the area of his head, causing the victim to fear great bodily injury or death,” Haar said. “One juvenile was killed and another could have been killed.”
Morgan Martin, Williamson’s attorney, expressed sympathies to the family of Prince, and also stated: “What happened here certainly was not the intention of Mr. Williamson.”
Martin told the court “on this occasion, he is at home … minding his own business, when this trouble came to him and then things erupted. It got out of hand and this tragic event occurs.”
Martin stated Williamson has never been arrested, is a long-standing Horry County resident, a father of three teens and not a danger to the community.
Bell, who was seated in a wheelchair and had cuts on his face, went before the judge prior to Williamson. Bell’s attorney, Scott Bellamy, requested he be granted bond.
“He is a farmer, has been his whole life, as his family has been,” Bellamy said and pointed out he doesn’t face assault charges in connection with the case. “He drove somebody somewhere, but then when he got there, he’s not charged with any other crime. He’s not charged with assaulting anybody … and as you can see he was assaulted clearly, so I don’t think he’s a danger to the community.”
Bellamy said Bell also is a father of three and is expecting another child next month.
The state pointed to a prior conviction Bell had for third-degree assault and battery in 2014 and a pending burglary charge that was listed on an Horry County trial roster this week.
Bellamy stated Bell was in the process of resolving that charge, but that court date had to be postponed because of the incident Sunday. He also pointed out Bell has never missed a court appearance in the past.
Bond was set for the men, and both were ordered to not have any contact with the victims, victim’s families or other involved parties.