Teen homicide victim's family marches outside court, demanding suspect stay jailed

by: Greg Suskin Updated:

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LANCASTER, S.C. —

Family and friends of a slain girl took to the streets Tuesday, hoping to keep the teen accused of killing her locked up.

Robert Landry knew it was going to be hard, being in the same room with the man charged with killing his daughter Sierra.

"It’s hard for everyone that knew Sierra," Landry said. "I prayed and just asked the lord to put me on the right path."  

He and about a dozen others marched outside the Lancaster County Courthouse carrying signs with messages about keeping Tanner Crolley in jail until his trial.

"We can't have a killer running around free," Landry said.

Crolley is accused of shooting Sierra Landry in the face at point blank range outside a friend's house on Dec. 30. They had an off and on relationship, but Landry’s family said she was ready to break it off for good and move on. Deputies said Crolley couldn't handle the break-up. They said he gave a statement after his arrest that if he couldn't have her, no one could.

Investigators still have not recovered the gun, a 9 mm that Crolley said he threw into some woods near Highway 200. Deputies believe he stole the gun from a relative's house during a visit on Christmas Day.

During Tuesday’s bond hearing, solicitor Doug Barfield tried to show that the death of Sierra Landry was premeditated. He read from a Facebook post, allegedly written by Crolley a week before the murder.  It said in part:

"I’ve lost the most important thing in my life. The best thing that could happen to me is gone.  Now the worst is about to happen."

Also with the marchers Tuesday was 13-year-old Joey Landry, Sierra's little brother.

"She was excellent to me," he said. "She’s been there for me. We did everything together." Landry spoke about how his sister's death has crushed his family.

"Sometimes I’d see my dad crying his eyes out, bawling. I just feel bad," he said.

Judge Robin Stilwell said Crolley was a flight risk, and a danger to the public.  He denied his bond.  That's the only thing Landry's family needed to hear.

"Justice was served. We got exactly what we were coming here to get, and now we're happy," Jessica Landry said after the hearing.   The family of Tanner Crolley did not wish to talk to reporters.

 Sierra Landry’s family is now actively fighting to change state law.  They are pushing for "Sierra's Law," which would allow people who are unmarried, and in dating relationships, to get a legal order of protection.

They believe that could have saved Sierra's life. Crolley still has a pending domestic violence charge against him, where Landry was the victim.

Supporters already have nearly 300,000 names on an online petition, to get their proposal before state lawmakers.

Read our past coverage:

Jan. 21:  Family of murdered girl fights to strengthen laws to protect dating teens

Dec. 31:  Teen arrested in slaying of 18-year-old girl in Lancaster