FLORENCE COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — A federal judge Wednesday morning found Dominique Brand guilty on all counts in the killing of 80-year-old Mary Ann Elvington in March 2021.
Brand, 29, will be sentenced at a later date after being convicted of kidnapping resulting in death, carjacking resulting in death and using or carrying a firearm during or in relation to a crime of violence. He could be sentenced to death or to life in prison without parole.
Brand killed Elvington, a retired school teacher, after kidnapping her from her home in Nichols and holding her at gunpoint in her car and forcing her to drive to North Carolina. That led to the case being prosecuted in federal court.
Prosecutors said Brand later returned to South Carolina with Elvington and shot and killed her with a shotgun behind an abandoned grocery store at the Zion Crossroad n Marion County. He then took Elvington’s vehicle and abandoned it in a wooded area behind a nightclub in Marion.
He later turned himself in to authorities in Marion County.
There was no jury in the case because Brand chose in August to have a bench trial instead, meaning it was up to the judge in the case, Sherri A. Lydon, to decide the outcome. She issued her verdict after hearing testimony on Thursday and Friday and more testimony and closing arguments on Monday. In all, 24 prosecution witnesses testified during the trial.
Lydon said she found the testimony credible, citing Lake View police surveillance video that showed Brand forcing Elvinton into the back seat of her car with a shotgun and the face that Brand’s DNA was found in her home and car. She also said she believed that Brand intended to kill Elvington that night.
Brand’s trial in U.S. District Court in Florence began on Sept. 7 with testimony from several law enforcement officers and two of Elvington’s sons.
Harold Elvington testified about a recording of a call he made to OnStar — the General Motors onboard feature that located his mother’s car and patched him through to talk to his mother.
“I’m not far away,” Mary Ann Elvington is heard saying “I don’t know where I am. I think North Carolina. I think I just crossed the South Carolina state line.”
Prosecutors called several witnesses on Thursday, including a forensic pathologist who said Elvington had “one very dramatic gunshot wound” that was from “contact or inches” away.
Prosecutors rested their case early Monday afternoon after showing a video of Brand being interviewed by authorities after he turned himself in to authorities in Marion County. The defense also rested its case Monday afternoon without putting Brand on the witness stand.
The 15th Circuit Solicitor’s Office assisted the U.S. Attorney’s Office in prosecuting the case.
“Six years ago the state made a concerted effort to work with our federal partners,” said 15th Circuit Solicitor Jimmy Richardson. “We believe that opening up federal courthouses, federal prisons, and federal resources would pay benefits to our citizens.
“As part of that initiative, we have three special U.S. Attorneys in house. One of those is Scott Hixson, chief deputy, who along with our federal partners and the U.S. Department of Justice tried Mr. Brand in Federal Court. We are so thankful for our long relationships that allowed for this positive outcome for the Elvington family.”