Across South Carolina

Fire victims' families receive $2 million


CHARLESTON --- The families of six of the nine Charleston firefighters who died in a furniture store blaze have received more than $2 million from a fund set up by the city.

The relatives of the other three firefighters who died in the June 18 fire at the Sofa Super Store are expected to receive money in the coming months.

The state Workers' Compensation Commission is deciding who should receive money and how much. The Charleston Fireman's Fund had nearly $4 million as of last week and city officials say the fund is growing daily.

Man represents self in death penalty trial

LEXINGTON --- A Lexington County man on trial for killing two people is acting as his own attorney as he tries to avoid going to death row for a second time.

Norman Starnes said he decided to represent himself after the state Supreme Court seven years ago overturned his murder convictions and death sentence for the shootings of two men in his Pelion home in January 1996.

Mr. Starnes said he killed Bill Welborn and Jarrod Champlin in self-defense. He has two experienced death penalty defense attorneys in the courtroom with him, along with his own paralegal, private investigator and secure phone line at the county jail.

Man sentenced to life for killing two people

CHARLESTON --- A man has been sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of killing two people at an apartment complex in North Charleston.

D'el Javon Grant, 23, was convicted Wednesday after a three-day trial. Prosecutors said Mr. Grant shot 20-year-old Robert Bryant of North Charleston and 18-year-old Sadaris Nelson of Charleston in 2005.

Mr. Grant's older brother, Gary Grant, testified he was responsible for the shootings. But Prosecutor Burns Wetmore says Mr. Grant was just trying to cover for his younger brother.

Marshals locate man who fled murder trial

CHARLESTON --- A North Charleston man who skipped out on his murder trial last month is behind bars after his arrest at a Berkeley County homeless shelter.

The U.S. Marshals Service fugitive task force found 31-year-old Keith Renard Bradley hiding on the property of a home in Alvin early Wednesday morning.

Mr. Bradley is one of three people charged in the 2002 kidnapping and killing of 37-year-old Miriam Leeks, a homeless woman. She was found beaten and wrapped in a sheet in some woods in Adams Run. Mr. Bradley and Hans Frazier were charged with murder and Cynthia Major was charged as an accessory.

-- Edited from wire reports