Crime

Man accused of Food Lion murder, robbery goes before North Carolina judge

Police make an arrest in connection to a murder and armed robberies in Horry County.

Horry County Police charged James Laverne Bellamy, of Tabor City, N.C. with murder, kidnapping and robbery in relation to incidents at the Food Lion and in Loris.
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Horry County Police charged James Laverne Bellamy, of Tabor City, N.C. with murder, kidnapping and robbery in relation to incidents at the Food Lion and in Loris.

The man accused of murder and robbery in connection to a killing in a Food Lion parking lot and subsequent crime spree will fight extradition back to South Carolina.

James Bellamy told a North Carolina judge on Monday he wanted to fight extradition and now has a mid-September hearing on the matter. Typically, the only defenses against extradition are if the correct person is not in custody or the state seeking the suspect doesn’t have jurisdiction.

During the hearing, Bellamy, who has a gray-streaked beard, smirked several times and winked at someone in the courtroom. Wearing jail-issued orange clothing, he told the court he didn’t have a source of income.

Horry County police charged Bellamy with murder, three counts of kidnapping, two counts of armed robbery and two counts of possession of a weapon during a violent crime.

Bellamy was arrested in North Carolina on Aug. 15 following the spree in Horry County. According to federal officials, there are two more suspects in the case. A $10,000 reward is being offered for information on the other suspects.

The spree started around 10:30 p.m. at a Longs Food Lion, police say. When officers arrived at the S.C. Highway 9 grocery, they found a deceased man, identified as “Jerry” Celentano, 57, inside a white Chevrolet Cavalier.

Police say the suspects also tried to force a store employee in the parking lot to unlock the Food Lion.

Officers were then called to the Carolina Inn off U.S. Highway 701 around 11 p.m. for a reported robbery. An employee said two people entered, pointed a gun at him and demanded money. The suspects were described as two black men, wearing black shirts, blue pants and black shirts covering their faces except for their eyes, according to a police report. The suspects fled the hotel in the Nissan Altima.

A short time later, officers responded to a report of a strong-armed robbery on Fox Bay Road. That robbery happened about three miles from the Carolina Inn.

Police say two men shot and killed a driver while stealing a car. The men allegedly went on an armed robbery spree from Loris into North Carolina. This video shows the suspects at the Sun-Do convenience store.

The victim’s truck broke down along the road and he said two black men pulled up next to him. The suspects brandished handguns and took the victim’s phone and wallet and fled the area. The victim described the vehicle as a dark colored Dodge Dart, according to a police report.

Police also say the suspect committed a robbery at the Sun-Do convenience store in Chadbourn, North Carolina, around 11:20 p.m. An employee said he saw a gray sedan pull into the lot and then two black men rushed into the store with their guns drawn. Video surveillance showed two black men, wearing dark clothing with their faces covered. They forced customers to the ground at gunpoint and took the register as they fled the store.

Bellamy also has three robbery counts in North Carolina. Judge Jerry Jolly ordered his bond increased on those charges from $150,000 to $500,000.

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