CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Two men were sentenced to life in prison without parole for their role in a home invasion that left two people dead in McClellanville.
Solicitor Scarlett Wilson announced on Monday that a Charleston County jury found Jeremiah Fitzgerald Belton and King Chevais Conyers guilty of murder, first-degree burglary, and possession of a firearm during a Crime of Violence.
The jury returned the verdict Friday afternoon after a week of trial.
Prosecutors say the incident happened on July 9, 2010 involving Mario Caldwell, Troy Mason, Belton, Curtis Delaney and Conyers.
"The five men and two unnamed males arrived at Delaney's girlfriend's home and, upon Conyers' suggestion, discussed the plans to rob Melvin Simmons, Jr. of drugs and money," prosecutors said.
"The men traveled in two cars to Old Georgetown Road in McClellanville and entered the home around 4:00 am. Mason, Caldwell, Conyers, Delaney, and Belton, were all armed and approached the front door. A shootout occurred between the homeowner and the intruders."
Authorities say Mason was shot by the homeowner, Simmons. According to prosecutors, Simmons was shot and killed, and Delaney was shot and killed by the homeowner's girlfriend.
"Troy Mason arrived at Trident Hospital later the morning of July 10th," prosecutors said."He gave a false accounting of what occurred. Blood swabs from the scene were compared to Mason's DNA sample; a match was made. Mason turned himself in. Caldwell, Belton, and Conyers were subsequently arrested."
"Only one individual was arrested in 2010. The Solicitor's Office with the help of the Charleston County Sheriff's Office investigated to determine who the other home invaders were. Caldwell was arrested in 2012 after the investigators secured a cooperative witness. Belton and Conyers were arrested in 2014 after another witness cooperated and their information was corroborated through a variety of records including those establishing their whereabouts on the days leading up to and of the murders."
Solicitor Wilson stated, "I'm proud of our team for working hard to chase down every lead to see that everyone involved was held accountable. This case could have easily died on the vine if our prosecutors and investigators hadn't pushed so hard and been so thorough."