4 sentenced in 2007 murder

AIKEN -- Four men who pleaded guilty to kidnapping in a 2007 murder case involving a 20-year-old Batesburg man were sentenced today in an Aiken County courtroom to 17 years confinement.

Those sentenced were Ronnie Bowers Jr., John Oakman Jr., Marion Abner and Andre Norris. Three other men – Johnnie Walker, Sheldon Oakman and Darrell Williams – were sentenced Monday to 30 years imprisonment in the same case on a kidnapping plea.

Frankie Gantt, who is believed to be the gunman who fatally shot Jeremy Leaphart on Christmas Eve 2007, was sentenced Monday to 45 years on a guilty plea to murder.

Judge Jack Early said he gave the four men in today's sentencing less time to serve because he felt their involvement was not as substantial as the others. Authorities say they believe Mr. Leaphart was kidnapped and killed after he could not produce guns he

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