One of the men accused of killing two people at a party in Myrtle Beach will head to prison for decades, while the other will walk free.
An Horry County jury handed down a split verdict in the cases of Calvin Ford and Aliga Campbell on Friday afternoon.
The jury acquitted Campbell on two counts of murder. The jury also acquitted Ford on one count of murder - but found him guilty on another count of murder, possession of a weapon by a prohibited person and possession of a weapon during a violent crime.
A judge sentenced Ford to life in prison.
The courtroom was packed with family of both of the suspects and the victims, but nobody showed any emotions as the verdicts were read.
Some of Ford’s family hung their heads when the judge delivered his sentence.
The shooting happened on July 23, 2016, when Myrtle Beach firefighters said they heard gunshots and then someone banging on the Warren Street fire station doors.
Fire crews found Dameion Hakeem Alston, 26, and Marquis Jamal Burgess, 27, both critically wounded. The two were taken to the hospital, where they later died.
The state portrayed the shooting as revenge after bad blood between Burgess and Ford. The defense claimed Ford’s shooting was in self-defense.
Ford hunched over a table in the courtroom as he spoke during the sentencing. He apologized to his family the Alstons.
“Our community lost,” he said, crying. “I apologize to that for everybody. I apologize to everyone.”
Ford’s voice got louder as he cried openly slowly speaking his words. “I apologize. I’m sorry. I’m sorry to all ya’ll. I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean for this to happen.”
Ford asked the members of his family and the victim’s family to leave any hatred between the groups in the courtroom.
“I didn’t mean to hurt nobody,” he said.
Martina Harriett had several children with one of the victims. She said their lives have been changed by the shooting and Ford has shown no remorse.
She said their children now have to visit their dad in a graveyard.
“They will never get to talk to their father again,” she said.
Senior Assistant Solicitor Mary Ellen Walter asked for a life sentence and noted that Ford has a violent past.
Defense Attorney Jonny McCoy said Ford has changed since those prior instances. He said there were no threats, no premeditation and the case wasn’t one where Ford laid in wait and shot the victim.
“There are tons of mitigating factors in this, judge,” McCoy said.