CHESTER, S.C. — A man has admitted to shooting and killing a 14-year-old girl in Chester, South Carolina last summer.
Monday, Raphael Carter pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in the death of Jada Jones. He will spend 25 years in prison.
Prosecutors said Carter and alleged gang member Hezekia Tinsley confessed to their involvement in the shooting death of Jones on June 10 on Pinckney Street in Chester.
Marcus McKnight had some strong words for the two men accused in the drive-by shooting that killed his stepdaughter.
"You all have some big guts to come here and ask for a bond," McKnight said. "They deserve to suffer in prison for the rest of their lives."
Sheriff's deputies said Carter and Tinsley were in a car when they drove by a house and opened fire. Jones was an innocent bystander talking to friends outside the house when the shots rang out.
"She had no reason at all to be shot and killed," said Deputy Solicitor Candice Lively, who told the court that Jones died when a bullet struck her arm, entered her side and punctured a lung.
"Her friends there around her had no idea how serious her injury was, but they still called 911," she said.
McKnight said there's no doubt the two men knew what they were doing that night.
"Ain't no way that you didn't see her up under that carport, knowing that was a little girl. That wasn't your target. You shoot anyway," he said.
Though Carter's defense lawyer denied that there was any gang involvement, prosecutors expressed concern that, if Carter and Tinsley were released, there could be retaliation, and they might not even be safe outside jail.
"This defendant is an extreme threat to this community," Lively said about Carter.
Another concern about bond was the recent records of both men, which involved guns, prosecutors said. Just weeks before Jones was shot, both suspects were arrested for carrying guns illegally. Carter apparently had a stolen gun on him when he was arrested in the spring.
Jones' mother, Shanika Whitlock, told the judge, "They don't need no bond."
McKnight said in court that Carter wrote him and Whitlock a letter, asking for their forgiveness. He didn't say how he reacted to that letter.
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