Man who harassed woman for months before killing her gets 35 years in prison
NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Prosecutors say a man who harassed a North Charleston woman for months before killing her has been sentenced to 35 years in prison.
Solicitor Scarlett Wilson announced that Terry Kelly of St. George pleaded guilty in the April 2018 killing of 41-year-old Tennille Grant. Kelly made the plea on Monday morning before his trial was set to begin.
According to the solicitor’s office, Grant’s family saw this as one more step in his manipulating and controlling them and the system, after they had already waited years for justice.
“We were prepared to go to trial and wish the family had not had to go through the painful process of reviewing evidence and preparing to testify,” Deputy Solicitor Anne Williams said.
The judge told Kelly that he “deserved life,” but ultimately sentenced Kelly to the minimum 30 years on the murder charge which carries a maximum penalty of life in prison and 5 years on the accompanying weapons charge, to run consecutively.
According to authorities, on the day she was killed, Grant had just returned to her apartment when Kelly accosted her as she exited her vehicle. Prosecutors said Kelly stabbed her eleven times and fled the scene. Grant made it a few yards to her neighbor’s apartment before collapsing on his kitchen floor and bleeding to death.
Detective Charlie Benton of the North Charleston Police Department addressed the court at Kelly’s sentencing saying that “South Carolina consistently ranks among the worst states for the number of women killed by men.”
A report states Benton implored the court to sentence Kelly above the minimum sentence due to Kelly’s “relentless pattern” of abusing Grant, and the brutal nature of her murder.
“Tennille Grant did everything the justice system asks of domestic violence victims, and she still died a violent death at the hands of her abuser,” Benton said. “In the two months leading up to her murder, Ms. Grant made several reports to law enforcement, followed up on each report with documentation, moved repeatedly to avoid her abuser and made sure that the security officer at her new residence was aware of his name and description.”
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