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KCSO investigating shooting death

Also, sheriff still waiting to move on Bethune murder case

Posted: June 18, 2018 5:13 p.m.
Updated: June 19, 2018 1:00 a.m.
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The Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) is investigating the shooting death of a woman Sunday night in the Westville area. Kershaw County Coroner David West confirmed the victim is Brenda Marie Coates, 54, of Westville. West also confirmed Coates died of a single gunshot wound.

According to Kershaw County Sheriff Jim Matthews, dispatchers received the call at 9:33 p.m. Sunday and sent deputies to the intersection of U.S. 521 and Catoe Road, near Carolina Motorsports Park.

“We have a white female person of interest as a possible suspect, but we are not ready to make an arrest,” Matthews said early Monday afternoon. “We are awaiting a forensic interview with a possible witness. We are also waiting on DNA, gunshot residue and ballistic tests from SLED (the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division), which will not come quickly.”

Matthews said there is a story that the female suspect caught her husband with another woman, the victim, and shot the other woman.

“We are not disputing that story, but we are not confirming it, either, at this point,” the sheriff said.

He said deputies did recover a weapon and a bullet from the scene.

“But we need more pieces to the puzzle,” Matthews said.

Adam Davis murder

Meanwhile, Matthews responded to a rumor that an arrest either had been made or was imminent in connection with the murder of Adam Ray Davis, 35, of Bethune who went missing Dec. 29, 2016, and whose body was found in a shallow grave in Lee County on March 28, 2017.

“That decision rests with the solicitor, Dan Johnson,” Matthews said when asked for an update on the case Monday afternoon.

The sheriff indicated he had either just met with or spoken with Johnson’s office about an hour earlier and that there had been no discussion of the Davis case at all.

“It has to be him making the decision because he’s the one who’s going to prosecute the case, and we don’t want to make an arrest if he’s not going to prosecute,” Matthews said.

He then went on to say the case might be able to move forward in other ways.

“We feel we have enough evidence to proceed,” Matthews said. “We want to make sure the solicitor is on board. That could be the next solicitor, but we’re also actively seeking other prosecutorial avenues.”

Matthews declined to be any more specific about what those “avenues” might entail.

In the June 12 Democratic primary for 5th Circuit Solicitor, challenger Byron Gipson soundly defeated Johnson’s chance for being reelected to a third term, garnering just a little more than 73 percent of the vote in Kershaw and Richland counties, which make up the circuit. Johnson’s reelection bid had been marred by accusations of financial mismanagement and sexual harassment.

Gipson may face John Meadors -- who was deputy solicitor under Johnson’s predecessor, Barney Giese -- in November. Instead of filing for either the Republican or Democratic primaries, Meadors chose to petition to be placed on the November ballot. He has until July 16 to obtain 10,000 signatures in the two counties. As of Thursday, Meadors estimated that with five weeks left to go until the deadline, he had about three-quarters of the necessary signatures.

Depending on what happens in the coming weeks, the decision to move forward with arresting and prosecuting the person or persons Matthews’ investigators believe are responsible for Davis’ murder could rest with either Gipson or Meadors.

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