BEAUFORT, S.C. — A Beaufort County deputy told one of three suspects in the killing of an 8-year-old boy that he could save his life and his son’s life by leading investigators to a gun used in the slaying, according to a recently uncovered recording that delayed the men’s trial.
The 55-minute recording was obtained by The Beaufort Gazette from prosecutors through a Freedom of Information Act request.
After the recording surfaced last month, a judge delayed the murder trial of Aaron Young Sr., 37, son Aaron Young Jr., 20, and Tyrone Robinson, 38, just before it was set to begin. All three were being tried in the death of 8-year-old Khalil Singleton on Hilton Head Island.
Prosecutors said the boy was killed by a stray bullet as the men shot at each other in September 2012.
In the recording, a deputy tells Young Sr. that if he helps investigators find a gun used in the shooting, it would help “save both you and your son’s life” because it could prove they did not fire the fatal shot.
“That gun is your only saving grace … the bullet that came out of that gun won’t match with the bullet that was in that boy. That would prove that you didn’t commit murder,” the deputy said. The deputy was only identified by his last name, and Sheriff P.J. Tanner refused to provide the first name.
The recordings help show the Youngs were coerced into helping police, said defense attorney Roberts Vaux, who is representing Young Jr.
“You can’t say you’re not going to charge him with murder and turn around and charge him with murder,” Vaux said. “The Youngs kept their side of it.”