Mother of murdered deputy: ‘You'll never get justice with the death penalty'

ROCK HILL, S.C. — Myra McCants, 74, lost her son on Dave Lyle Boulevard in Rock Hill almost 26 years ago but it feels like yesterday to her because Mar-Reece Hughes,  the man on death row for the murder, is still alive.

"It's horrible. It breaks my heart," McCants said.

York County sheriff Deputy Brent McCants stopped a car because it had a light out.  He didn't know the car was stolen in Charlotte in a carjacking. He didn't know the two men in the car had a gun.  McCants was shot seven times and left to die in the street.

"My child was 23.  Twenty-three years old. He'd be 49 now," McCants said.

She knows her community still cares. She lives on a street in Lancaster named for her son. His name also appears in Rock Hill where he gave his life, and he shares a memorial wall at the sheriff's office with Detective Mike Doty.

She doesn't have any faith left in the system that promised swift justice and has left her suffering.

"Do something when you say you're going to do it. Do it," she said.

Solicitor Kevin Brackett helped prosecute that case and on Tuesday, he agreed to a deal that put the man who killed Doty in prison for life. He wanted to seek the death penalty but Doty's parents couldn't endure years of appeals and seeing their son's killer again and again.

The Dotys were very familiar with the death of Deputy McCants. Brackett was clear when talking to them about the case against Christian McCall and what a death penalty trial might mean for them.

"They need to understand this is how the system works. It doesn't," Brackett said.

"They either need to do away with (the death penalty) and say, 'We don't want it,' or find a way to make it work," he said.

Brackett said it's shocking that the state can't get the drugs for lethal injection. He believes the state isn't doing enough to carry out death sentences.

"I've sent people to death row in my career and none of them have been executed. They're not even close to being executed," Brackett said.

McCants has given up on the system. She said the Doty family made the right call.

"Don't go for the death penalty. You'll never get justice," she said.

She believes she'll pass away before Hughes gets the punishment he was sentenced to for killing her son.