CONWAY, S.C. (WBTW) — Testimony began Tuesday in the Horry County Circuit Court trial of three men accused in the shooting death of a 19-year-old Conway man in in September 2020.
Che Ransom, Don Brown, and Travontae Mitchell are all charged with murder in the death of Jamie Johnson, who died at a hospital after the Sept. 12 shooting near D Street and Rose Moss Road in Horry County.
A fourth man, Tronahz Whittington, was convicted of murder in March and sentenced to 45 years in prison.
During opening arguments on Tuesday, prosecutors portrayed Brown as the driver of a borrowed vehicle with six people inside that followed a black Chevrolet Tahoe and then parked in front of it. Ransom and Mitchell then shot into the Tahoe, which had four people inside, prosecutors said.
Johnson was hit in the head by a bullet and died, prosecutors said.
Ransom’s defense lawyer argued that he was in the vehicle but didn’t know a murder was going to take place and claimed that Whittington was the only shooter.
Mitchell’s lawyer said he was only tagging along with his friends and that he also did not know that a murder was about to take place. He also argued that the killing was not premeditated.
Brown’s lawyer argued that he was only the driver and that Whittington told him to stop the car and when to drive off. His lawyer said Brown did not know Whittington had plans to kill anyone and that he didn’t have a weapon.
Jurors also heard from several witnesses on Tuesday, including a 911 caller who reported hearing multiple gunshots in front of his home and seeing a car speeding away from the scene. The 911 calls was played for jurors hearing the case.
Horry County Police Department Patrol Sgt. Justin Jones testified that when he arrived, Johnson was laying on the ground and was dead. He said he saw one car nearby and a handful of shell casings.
One of the surviving victims in the Tahoe testified that they were driving to a gas station off Highway 501 and that “we were shot up.”
“They were following us, and the car came around us in front and a bunch of kids got out and shot us up,” he testified, adding that one person got out of the front of the car and three others got out of the back of the car.
However, he testified that Whittington was the only person he saw with a gun. He said he did not recognize any of the people who got out of the back of the car.
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Dennis Bright is a digital producer at News13. Dennis is a West Virginia native and graduate of Marshall University. He has won copyediting and journalism awards in Virginia and Ohio. Follow Dennis on Twitter and read more of his work here.
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Maya Lockett is a reporter at News13. Maya is from Los Angeles. She joined the News13 team in November 2021. She graduated from Syracuse University. Follow Maya on Twitter and read more of her work here.