Miami man sentenced to 33 years for Beaufort County killing

BEAUFORT COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - A 36-year-old Miami man will serve 33 years in prison for a 2009 murder that took the life of a 27-year-old man on Seabrook Island.

On Thursday, Antonio Collins was convicted of murder, first-degree burglary and possession of a weapon during commission of a violent crime.

The incident happened on June 22, 2009 when a gun battle ensued after two men kicked in the door of a Seabrook Road home.

Authorities say the homeowner, 27-year-old Ronald Coleman, Jr. died at the scene after getting hit by gunfire several times. During the incident, court officials say one of the suspects was wounded.

Investigators say they found bloody footprints which led to a point on Seabrook Road where the suspects got into a car. According to court records, authorities found the murder weapon nearby.

In 2010 new information was discovered following a federal drug investigation in Hampton County.

Authorities say DNA was collected from Collins, who was locked up on unrelated charges in Miami. According to court records, the DNA matched the blood found leaving the scene and DNA found on the murder weapon. Collins was extradited to South Carolina to face the charges.

"You can't argue with DNA," said assistant solicitor Hunter Swanson of the Beaufort County Career Criminal Prosecution Team. "Because of law enforcement's dedication to conducting a thorough investigation, we were able to put a four-year-old case to rest and bring justice for everyone involved."

Collins had a prior conviction for larceny.

Judge J. Ernest Kinard handed down the sentence. By law, Collins must serve every day of the sentence before being released from prison.

Information provided by the Fourteenth Circuit Solicitor's Office.