Here’s an earlier story from the trial that ended with the curious acquittal on all charges of carjacking killer Devon Dunham in South Carolina last week from The Island Packet newspaper on Hilton Head:
Lana Ferguson, The Island Packet (Hilton Head Island, S.C.) 5 days ago
May 26—Less than 48 hours after Ernest Martin Stevens, 77, was fatally shot in a public parking lot, Devon Dunham told police he was the person who fired the gun.
Almost four years later, Dunham sat in a Jasper County courtroom Wednesday as his videotaped confession played during the second day of the murder trial.
Stevens, a former Hardeeville volunteer fire chief, was shot to death just before 9 a.m. on Aug. 10, 2017, while sitting in the driver’s seat of his Ford F-150 truck in the Argent Square parking lot near his home off Ulman Street in Hardeeville.
Dunham, who was 28 and living in Hardeeville at the time, was arrested the day after the killing in Savannah. This week, he is on trial, charged with murder in Stevens’ death. He also faces a charge of possession of a weapon during a violent crime.
Duffie Stone, 14th Circuit solicitor, and Deputy Solicitor Sean Thorton are prosecuting the case.
Multiple witnesses, who either saw or heard the shooting, testified Tuesday. Law enforcement officers who responded to the crime scene, were involved in Dunham’s arrest, or tested key evidence for DNA also testified.
The violent incident stemmed from Dunham trying to find a ride and approaching Stevens to take his truck, according to testimony. Dunham’s attorney, Beaufort-based Jeffrey Stephens, said Tuesday that Dunham acted in a “blind panic,” which is not murder under state law.
What is it then?
More S.C. Law Enforcement Divisions agents who tested evidence from the crime scene testified Wednesday. Their findings linked shell casings at the scene to the semi-automatic 9mm handgun found with Dunham’s DNA on it in a Savannah motel a day after the shooting. Two footprint impressions near where the shooting took place also matched the shoes Dunham was wearing when he was arrested.
Hours after his arrest, Dunham admitted to shooting Stevens during a recorded interview with police.
The recording was played for the jury while Jasper County Sheriff’s Office chief deputy Jeff Crosby, a former investigator with Hardeeville police, testified.
Crosby said he and another officer interviewed Dunham around 4 a.m. on Aug. 12, 2017, at the Savannah Police Department, where Dunham was already in custody.
So they sweated the killer pretty hard.
He signed a Miranda Rights form and declined to have an attorney in the room during questioning.
Dunham repeatedly denied knowing anything about the shooting and said he wasn’t in the city at the time, but eventually he confirmed that he shot Stevens.
“I wasn’t trying to hurt him,” Dunham said in the interview, and started crying. He said he saw Stevens “reach for something,” so he fired multiple shots before running away. “I didn’t even aim at him.”
No guns or weapons were found in Stevens truck at the crime scene, an officer testified Wednesday. …
The defense did not call any witnesses. Dunham did not testify.
After the jury was dismissed, defense attorney Stephens asked that the murder charge against Dunham be reduced to involuntary manslaughter or self-defense.
Judge Robert E. Hood upheld the murder charge. “I don’t think the facts fit” changing the charge, he said.
I presume the murderer had been in jail for approaching four years, so perhaps the jury decided that was enough punishment for a Carjacking Gone Wrong?
Did the prosecutor overcharge? Or fail to undercharge?
Lawyers, do I have the following right? Felony murder would be if, say, Devon Dunham took his gun to carjack Ernest Stevens, but Stevens floored it to escape him and accidentally ran over somebody in the parking lot, killing that third person. Dunham wouldn’t have personally killed the third person, but he is still legally responsible because his crime of carjacking set in motion the series of unfortunate events.
But if Dunham goes to carjack Stevens … and then shoots Stevens when he resists, isn’t that just murder murder?
Perhaps the defense’s position was that the killer wasn’t actually carjacking the dead man. In fact, the dead man stereotyped the defendant as a carjacker. And we all know how dangerous white men are when they stereotype black men, as seen by the Tulsa Race Massacre and Emmett Till. So, in a blind panic, the defendant had no choice but to take his gun, which he was totally not carjacking with, and shoot the stereotyping racist.
Anyway, I’m sure the Biden Administration Civil Rights Division will be filing charges against Dunham on Tuesday morning due to the overwhelming outcry in the national media, such as The Island Packet, the Hooterville Republican-Democrat, and at least one Low Country talk radio station.