Bennettsville man found guilty of murder as an accomplice in gang-related ‘ambush’

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CHESTERFIELD CO, S.C. (WBTW) – A Bennettsville man was found guilty of murder in jury trial for the death of a man in what authorities describe as a gang-related ambush.

James Monroe Brown received a 35-year sentence from Fourth Judicial Circuit Judge Paul M. Burch after the guilty verdict. Brown is not eligible for any reductions and must serve the entire sentence.

The victim, James Henderson, Jr. of Cheraw, was killed around on January 21, 2017, at a mobile home park on Hillian Edwards Road.

Brown was convicted under the legal doctrine of accomplice liability, often referred to as the “Hand of One is the Hand of All.” The State had previously reached a plea agreement with a co-defendant, Brenton Davis, also of Bennettsville. Davis received a 17-year sentence for voluntary manslaughter in August 2019. At Brown’s sentencing, the State alleged that this incident was gang-related.

At trial, the State presented evidence showing that on that evening, the victim was at home with his family. Among those at the residence were Henderson’s eight-year-old son and his five-month-old son. A group of men from Bennettsville then came to the mobile home park searching for the victim.

After initially going to the wrong residence, the group, which included Brown, Brenton Davis and others, confronted the victim at his residence. They pressured him to come outside to be put “in the box.” This meant Henderson was to be surrounded as he fought multiple individuals in the group. At some point shortly after the victim was placed in the “box,” shots were fired and the victim ran. He was shot multiple times as he ran away from the residence occupied by his family. His body was found about later across SC Highway 9 on the eastbound side.

The State acknowledged there was no direct evidence Brown was armed, nor could it be determined exactly who was shooting at the victim. However, testimony at trial established that several members of the Bennettsville group were heavily armed. The State introduced evidence from witnesses, deputies, and a firearms expert from SLED that there were at least three handguns and a shotgun at the scene. Cell tower location data, cell phone call, and text records, and witness

Testimony were presented by the State to prove Brown’s presence and participation. Brown was part of a “show of force” and “ambush” as described by Deputy Solicitor Kernard Redmond. The State also argued that Brown was a part of the “box.”

“This case represents a turning point in the prosecution of gang violence in Chesterfield County and the Fourth Judicial Circuit. If you participate, encourage or aid in gang violence, there will be consequences,” Solicitor Rogers said in a press release. “I hope this sends a message throughout the circuit that my office is aggressively prosecuting cases involving gang violence.”

The case was prosecuted by Fourth Circuit Deputy Solicitor Kernard Redmond and investigated by the Chesterfield County Sheriff’s Office.

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