Murder defendant acting as own lawyer gets life

Donsurvi Chisolm (Source: Berkeley County Sheriff's Office)
Donsurvi Chisolm (Source: Berkeley County Sheriff's Office)

ST. GEORGE, SC (WCSC) - A murder defendant representing himself in court with the aid of a public defender was found guilty on Monday afternoon.

He was sentenced to life without parole for the murder of 20-year-old Craig Canady, according to First Circuit Solicitor David Pascoe. Canady was found dead in a ditch off Clubhouse Road near Summerville in 2007.

"In the defendant's opening, he asked for justice for himself, the co-defendant, and the victim.  He got exactly what he asked for," said prosecutor Russell Hilton.

During testimony, jurors heard how the defendant picked up the victim and then went to the Evergreen Subdivision and picked up the co-defendant in the case. They then went to the Azalea Park neighborhood where Chisolm put a .22 caliber pistol to the victim's head and pulled the trigger while riding in the front seat of the car.

The co-defendant testified that after the murder they drove out to Clubhouse Road where Chisolm dumped the body in a ditch. They then rode to Highway 165 and traveled back towards Summerville.  It was during that time, the defendant made a call from the victim's cell phone to make it appear as though the victim was still alive.

Once on Bacon's Bridge Road, the defendant threw the murder weapon from the bridge and crafted a story for both he and the co-defendant to use. That weapon was recovered and introduced at trial.

This trial, which began last Monday, came after the judge declared a mistrial on Aug. 23, when a Dorchester County sheriff's deputy mentioned Chisolm's criminal history during cross-examination.

Chisolm is also facing a murder charge out of Berkeley County, where deputies say he shot his brother and his brother's son, killing the 14-year-old Michael Chisolm. The brother, 34-year-old Dansa Chisolm, survived despite being shot in his cheek.

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