Murder charges will be brought against inmates in 2002 case

 

 

Two Georgia inmates nearing possible parole for their role in the 2002 kidnapping and assault of an Evans man later found dead now face murder charges in South Carolina.

Shannon Devon Patton, 31, and Daniel Joseph New­ton Jr., 29, pleaded guilty to kidnapping, burglary, aggravated assault, robbery and vehicle theft and received life sentences for their part in the November 2002 death of Jack Abbott Murray, 63.

“Our understanding at the time was that Newton and Patton received life sentences,” said Assistant Solic­itor Ervin Maye, of the South Carolina 11th Judicial Circuit, which covers Edge­field, Saluda, Lexington and McCormick counties.

After they were sentenced in January 2004, Maye said, the victim’s son was told to contact South Carolina if ever notified of their potential release. That happened last year.

“He was under the impression that they had received life sentences and that was it and that they would not be released,” Maye said, adding that it took months to verify all of the information related to sentencing and parole possibilities.

Patton and Newton will become eligible for parole in November, according to the Georgia Department of Pardons and Paroles. The state parole board will review each man’s case and decide on granting parole.

“When we found out they were parole eligible, we moved to extradite them to answer the murder charges in South Carolina,” Maye said. “They have never faced the charges and they had no plea agreements or immunity.”

The pair are still serving active sentences and were transferred to the Edgefield County jail Jan. 27, according to a spokeswoman for the Georgia Department of Cor­rections.

On Nov. 18, 2002, Murray’s body was found in the trunk of his burning car off Deep Step Road in Edgefield Coun­ty. He had been beaten and bound and left to burn to death.

The next day, Mar­cus Tor­rez McCord and Randy Allen Conrad II, then 19 and 17, went to the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office and confessed to burglarizing Murray’s Evans home along with Newton and Patton, who is Murray’s former stepson. They told authorities that Patton and Newton told them they’d put Murray in the trunk of his car, drove to Sumter National Forest and set the car on fire.

McCord and Conrad pleaded guilty to kidnapping and burglary as part of a plea deal that offered immunity from further prosecution over the incident in exchange for testimony against Newton and Patton. Patton and Newton never had such agreements associated with their pleas.

“We intend to prosecute them for murder,” Maye said, and plan to move forward prosecuting indictments against the pair handed down shortly after their arrests. “They’ll either retain lawyers or appointed lawyers and we’ll begin the discovery process. We intend to dispose of the case by plea or trial.”

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