James Bryant III—black, age 28 (re-sentence after appellate reversal)

Sentenced to death in Horry County, South Carolina
By: A jury
Date of crime: 6/5/00
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Horry County police officer Dennis Lyden pulled Bryant’s car over in a routine traffic stop. After Bryant got out of the car, he took Lyden’s flashlight and beat Lyden with it severely. Bryant took Lyden’s gun and shot Lyden in the head after Lyden had fallen to the ground. The defense did not contest guilt. In mitigation, the defense presented witnesses to testify that Bryant had been a model prisoner who posed minimal danger while incarcerated.
Prosecutor(s): Walter Bailey
Defense lawyer(s): Paul Archer, Robert Johnston
Sources: Myrtle Beach Sun News 10/5/04, 10/6/04, 10/9/04, 10/11/04

Troy Burkhart—white, age 30 (re-sentence after an appellate reversal)

Sentenced to death in Anderson County, South Carolina
By: A jury
Date of crime: 11/16/97
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Burkhart shot and killed three people who had been riding with him in a pickup truck. Two of the people were shot after they were disabled on the ground. All were shot multiple times. Burkhart claimed he killed the people in self-defense when they threatened to rape and murder him at the behest of his uncle, who was an enemy of Burkhart’s father.
Defense lawyer(s):
Sources: State v. Burkhart, 565 S.E.2d 298 (S.C. 2002); Greenville News 6/18/02

Kamell Evans—black, age 26

Sentenced to death in Greenville County, South Carolina
By: A jury
Date of crime: 4/1/03
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Evans was upset over his break-up with Joe Sapinoso’s sister. He burglarized the Sapinoso home and held Joe and his father Antonio hostage for four hours in a stand-off with sheriff’s deputies. Joe himself was a deputy. During this time Antonio’s wife hid in an upstairs closet with her 6-year-old grandson. Finally, Evans shot Joe in the head four times as he lay on the floor, and shot Antonio three times as he tried to flee. The defense admitted guilt, and sought to prove that Evans had lived a good life until the fateful night.
Prosecutor(s): Bob Ariail
Defense lawyer(s): Steve Sumner, Skip Goldsmith
Sources: Myrtle Beach Sun-News 9/22/04; Greenville News 9/22/04

Marion Lindsey—white, age 27

Sentenced to death in Spartanburg County, South Carolina
By: A jury
Date of crime: 9/18/02
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Ruby Nell Lindsey had obtained a restraining order against her estranged husband Marion. He still harassed her, so she asked a friend to drive her and her two children to the Inman, South Carolina, police station. Marion caught up with them in the parking lot of the station and shot her to death as she tried to hide in the backseat of the car. The aggravating circumstance charged in the case was creating great risk of harm to the other three people in the car. The defense argued that the conviction should be for manslaughter because Lindsey had become enraged due to his wife’s refusal to let him visit his children, had blocked his phone calls, and her refusal to talk to him in the car in the parking lot had caused his rage to boil over. In mitigation Lindsey pleaded to be allowed to live so he could continue to be a father to his children.
Prosecutor(s): Trey Goudy
Defense lawyer(s): Mike Bartosh
Sources: Fox Carolina WHNS 9/19/02; The State (Columbia, SC) 5/23/04; Myrtle Beach Sun-News (SC) 5/23/04; Augusta Chronicle (GA) 5/25/04

*Eric Dale Morgan—white, age 17

Sentenced to death in Spartanburg County, South Carolina
By: A jury
Date of crime: 5/3/00
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Morgan, then 17 years old, and his then 16-year-old accomplice Brandon Duncan planned to rob a convenience store. (Duncan was convicted of murder in 2002 and sentenced to 40 years in prison.) Two days before the robbery they lay in wait as the store closed but decided not to proceed because there were two people closing the store, and Morgan and Duncan did not want to have to dispose of two bodies and two cars. Two days later Morgan shot store clerk Jerry Smith once in the head with a rifle in the parking lot after Smith closed the store. The boys took over $7,000 he was carrying and disposed of his body miles away. Police found a pipe bomb in Morgan’s possession, and he admitted to a plan to blow up the store and ransack the rubble before he discovered that the clerk took the money out each night after closing. In defense Morgan claimed he hadn’t planned to kill the clerk, but had fired when the clerk raised a gun to try to prevent the robbery. In mitigation the defense pointed to Morgan’s juvenile status at the time of the crime, his difficult childhood, and his low IQ.
Prosecutor(s): Trey Gowdy, Derrick Bulsa
Defense lawyer(s): Clay Allen, Roger Poole
Sources: Herald-Journal (Spartanburg) 3/5/04, 3/6/04, 3/7/04, 3/10/04; The State (Columbia) 3/8/04, www.thecarolinachannel.com 3/9/04
*Included for informational completeness; but this defendant, who was 17 at the time of the murder, will have his death sentence vacated under a United States Supreme Court decision in handed down in March, 2005, that prohibits death sentences for defendants who were less than 18 years of age at the time of the murder.