Solicitor: Murder victim went through 18 hours of hell

Published: Apr. 23, 2009 at 8:43 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 30, 2009 at 8:21 PM EDT
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By Harve Jacobs  bio | email

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Prosecutors say the man on trial for a torture and murder put the victim through 18 hours of hell. Thirty two year old William Dickerson is facing a possible death penalty for the 2006 killing of Gerard Roper. Investigators say Dickerson kidnapped Roper, and brought him to a James Island apartment. There, investigators say Dickerson pulled out two of Roper's teeth, sodomized him with a gun and broom handle and then strangled him.

In her opening arguments, Solicitor Scarlett Wilson told the jury said Roper was enraged by a a video tape that allegedly showed his girlfriend having sex with Roper. The tape has never been found.  Wilson said Roper had no idea what was about to happen to him. "He didn't know that he was walking into 18 hours of hell. It took 18 hours to kill him, over 200 lacerations," she told the jury.

Dickerson's defense attorney told jurors Dickerson was being made a scapegoat for the murder by three other people who were in the apartment at the time. "You're gonna hear the story of people who had an agenda who had a reason not to be guilty and who were cowards and had to find somebody to hide behind," said attorney Andrew Carroll.

The three people the defense attorney referred to as cowards also are charged in the case. Two of them are charged with murder and the third is charged with obstruction of justice. All three are expected to testify.

If Dickerson is found guilty of Murder and Criminal Sexual Conduct in the first degree, there will be a second trial to determine if he should die or get life in prison.

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