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Sheriff: Arrest close in slaying of 4 in Orangeburg County - Live5News.com | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports

Sheriff: Arrest close in slaying of 4 in Orangeburg County

This home on Old State Road was the scene of the July 15, 2015 shooting. (Source: Live 5) This home on Old State Road was the scene of the July 15, 2015 shooting. (Source: Live 5)
Orangeburg Co. Sheriff Leroy Ravenell said they are close to an arrest in the killings. (Source: Live 5) Orangeburg Co. Sheriff Leroy Ravenell said they are close to an arrest in the killings. (Source: Live 5)
The scene outside the home where the shooting was reported. (Source: WIS/WCSC) The scene outside the home where the shooting was reported. (Source: WIS/WCSC)
ORANGEBURG COUNTY, SC (AP) -

Authorities say they are close to solving a shooting that left four people dead one year ago Friday in Holly Hill.

Orangeburg County Sheriff Leroy Ravenell said a task force was formed in October that includes members of the Orangeburg County Sheriff's Office, SLED, the FBI, the U.S. Marshal’s Service, and the Orangeburg County community.

Information obtained through that task force has led them in all different directions, to different counties, states and jails, he said.

"We have more than 20,000 man hours in this case,” Ravenell said during a news conference. “We have also interviewed over 200 individuals in this case. I am satisfied and happy with the direction we are going and hopefully soon we'll have [it] resolved. We'll have some people in jail."

He said the case is like none other, adding that other crimes have been solved from clues discovered over the course of the investigation.

"Every time we go in one direction, we have to go in another,” he said. “It's been good. It's been positive and negative, but the positive is we believe we will solve this case soon."

"I'm glad they're doing it,” said Oscar Tartt, of Holly Hill. “I'm glad they're going somewhere and trying to reach out. They've got to get some information somewhere."

Ravenell urged anyone with information to come forward, but warned that those who know something and choose not to come forward may face accessory charges.

"We'll be able to walk in a courtroom, I believe soon, side by side with the families of the victims in this case and get justice," he said.

Orangeburg County deputies responded to a home in the 7,000 block of Old State Road at 7:03 a.m. on July 15, 2015.

They found four victims who the coroner identified as Jerome Butler, 50; Krystal Hutto, 28; Shamekia Sanders, 17; and Tamara Perry, 14. All four died at the scene, Orangeburg County Coroner Samuetta Marshall said.

A fifth victim, an 8-year-old boy who was found alive but injured was airlifted to MUSC for treatment, Ravenell said.

Holly Hill Police Chief Joshua Detter said Friday the boy, named Dreamzz, is doing well, and lives with family in the area.

According to Ravenell, deputies said they found Butler in the front yard of the home already dead. Hutto's body was found in one bedroom and the two teens were found in another bedroom. 

Ravenell also said a car investigators were looking for, a green 1990s model Mercedes, was found burned approximately 15 miles away from the crime scene in the Vance area.

Now a swing-set remains untouched on the property at 7050 Old State Road. The house is unoccupied, its windows covered in dust, some boarded, while locks bolt the front door shut.

The memory of what happened at the home one year ago is still on the minds of many throughout the town of Holly Hill.

“They talk about it, “Tartt said. “Every now and then somebody will come out here and get a watermelon and say, ‘you hear anything about the killing yet?’, and I say not lately.”

Tartt knew the oldest victim, Jerome Butler. He said his memories with Butler are from working right next door to each other.

"I always gave him watermelon, or a cantaloupe or something,” Tartt said. “I've known him for years, he was a good fella."

Matthew Finney went to school with Shamekia Sanders, the oldest teenage victim. He said she was not forgotten during the recent school year.

"At the first football game for varsity we actually ran out to the center of the field and on the count of three we said Shamekia's name,” Finney said. “That's how we started off our season and that's how we finished it, even when we got to the Lower State Championship."

"It appears the community has moved on,” said Herbert Sellers, of Holly Hill. “With so much tragedy going on in the world today, it's just one more tragedy we have to get used to."

Anyone who has information on the incident or anyone involved is asked to call the Orangeburg County Sheriff's Office at (803) 534-3550 or Crime Stoppers at (888) CRIME-SC.

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