The murder trial for a Kingstree man accused of carrying out a contracted hit on a Myrtle Beach man as he exited a nightclub in 2015 is slated to begin with opening arguments Tuesday morning.
Thirty-one-year-old Kevin Tyrone Bryant is accused of hiding in between cars in a parking lot outside of the former Club Levelz for 23-year-old Saequan Vereen to exit the nightclub in the early hours of Feb. 15, 2015. When he did, police say Bryant jumped up and shot Vereen multiple times.
Myrtle Beach police responded to a call of shots fired at the 515 9th Ave. N. club around 2:30 a.m. Officers found Vereen dead at the scene.
Horry County Deputy Coroner Daris Fowler said Vereen died of a gunshot wound that caused trauma to his vital organs.
Bryant was shot by security guards hired by the club and was taken to the hospital, Lt. Joey Crosby of the Myrtle Beach Police Department told The Sun News at the time.
In pre-trial hearings Monday, Bryant’s attorney, Kia Wilson, argued for the court to not allow the testimony of two security guards who identified Bryant as the shooter they returned fire at that night.
Sean Bettengill and Ronald Poston, who were working for Advanced Protection Services providing armed security at the club that night, told the court Monday that they turned to face the shooter after hearing the first gunshot in the parking lot. Both witnesses said they saw a man standing over Vereen, continuing to shoot even when they directed him to drop his gun.
Bettengill and Poston returned fire, striking the arm of the suspect, who they said staggered and left the scene.
The two guards both admitted to not seeing the suspect’s face, but positively identified the shooter when they saw Bryant with a bandaged arm, being loaded on a gurney into an ambulance. Police said Bryant matched their description of a black male shooter, about 6-feet-tall, slender-to-medium build, wearing all black clothing.
The judge said he would allow the testimony of the guards at the trial.
Club Levelz was already under investigation for a public nuisance complaint when the shooting occurred. It was shuttered in the days that followed.
Bryant was indicted on charges of murder and the unlawful possession of a pistol. He has been held in the J. Reuben Long Detention Center since his arrest in February 2015.
In March of that year, police charged 35-year-old Robbie Lee Bufkin of Loris with murder, the unlawful possession of a pistol and second-offense trafficking in cocaine, in the case.
According to arrest warrants, Bufkin "offered money for the murder of the victim, did hire Bryant to commit the murder and was instrumental in planning the execution-style murder."
Bufkin’s murder and weapons charges were dropped in May as he pled guilty to the trafficking charge. He was sentenced to 16 years in prison with credit for time served.
Thirty-four-year-old Tiffany Miranda Taylor of Kingstree was charged with being an accessory after the fact in the murder case earlier this year. Her case is still pending, according to online court records.
Vereen’s killing sparked a succession of city laws regulating nightclubs in the area to combat public nuisances perceived in the Superblock.
Bryant’s trial will start with opening statements at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday.