Columbus County has more and older murder cases awaiting trial than the other two counties in District 13 combined, according to District Attorney Jon David.
“We’re going to change that,” he said last week. “These are the Ghosts of Christmas Past.”
Six murder cases have been languishing here for anywhere from two to six years, according to court records. Bladen and Brunswick have one or two each, David said.
“We’re going to change that.”
David said that after a consultation with Superior Court Judge Douglas Sasser, the prosecutor’s office is working to schedule as many as six Superior Court sessions in 2017.
One of the first murder cases being targeted by the DA’s office is the Jan. 1, 2014 beating death of Keisha April Ward, 31.
Ward was found in New Year’s Day in her home near Hallsboro. Her children discovered her body where she had been beaten to death sometime in the night, apparently during a party. Her live-in boyfriend, Johnny Lee Tyler, was also severely beaten in the incident.
Deputies and Lake Waccamaw Police arrested Derrick Devon Pierce, Antwan Jamal Johnson, and Amanda Kay Canady that same week on first-degree murder charges. The three are being tried as co-defendants.
The DA’s office is still compiling a list of murder cases they hope to try this year, David said.