Man gets found guilty in fatal stabbing of Lowcountry teen
CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) -
A 19-year-old man was found guilty in the fatal stabbing of a Lowcountry teenager at a downtown Charleston home.
Solicitor Scarlett Wilson said a Charleston County jury found Terrell Artieth Smith guilty of murder, attempted murder, and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime in connection to the death of Brandon Bennett.
The jury reached its verdict on Thursday after a three day trial, according to a press release by the solicitor's office.
"Upon conviction of murder, Mr. Smith faces a sentencing range of 30 years to life in prison," prosecutors said.
"This case is the perfect example of how witness cooperation leads to convictions," said Solicitor Scarlett Wilson
Authorities said the incident happened on June 11, 2014 when Darryl Bennett awoke and checked in on his son, Brandon Bennett, who was asleep in his bedroom.
According to prosecutors, Darryl Bennett then began to go about his day, and sometime later, he heard a scuffle in his son’s bedroom, so he went back to investigate.
Prosecutors say Darryl Bennett saw Terrell Smith standing over his son, stabbing him repeatedly.
Authorities said Darryl Bennett ran to Brandon’s aid, grabbing Smith to get him off of his son.
A report states that during the struggle, Darryl Bennett said in horror, “You stabbed my boy!” to which Smith replied “I’ll kill you too!”
Darryl Bennett was shoved into another room and Smith pounced on him, according to prosecutors.
Authorities say with his last dying effort, Brandon Bennett tried to save his dad which gave Darryl Bennett enough time to bite Smith’s forearm, causing Smith to drop the knife.
Proseuctors say Smith then ran from the house.
Police and EMS responded quickly, but Brandon Bennett’s injuries proved fatal. Darryl Bennett was lucky to escape without any life threatening injuries, according to prosecutors.
Darryl Bennett’s cooperation and initiative helped law enforcement identify Terrell Smith, one of Brandon Bennett’s acquaintances, prosecutors said in a statement.
Smith was located and arrested four days later after he fled to Birmingham, Alabama.
He was extradited back to South Carolina for trial.
"Darryl Bennett’s identification of Smith was corroborated and confirmed through DNA testing and crime scene analysis," prosecutors said.
Assistant Solicitor Charlie Patrick stated, “I am extremely grateful that the jury was able to deliver justice for the victim and his family. The jury saw through the Defendant’s self-defense claim of a dice game gone bad. We thank everyone involved in the prosecution of this case, from start to finish. Most of all, we thank the family for all of their support and help in putting this case together.”
Judge Kristi Harrington has deferred sentencing to December 12, 2016.
“Since Smith was a juvenile when he murdered the victim and faces a potential life sentence, recent case law (Aiken v. Byars) requires a hearing where the ‘mitigating hallmark features of youth’ are fully explored," Wilson said."That is the reason for the sentencing delay.”