A late-night drug run turned into a quadruple homicide, according to murder suspect Derrick Warren Coleman.
Coleman testified on day seven of the trial for his three co-defendants: Robert “Pockets” Bailey, Antly Jermaine “Jackie Man” Scott and Luther Joseph Smith. Coleman is not being tried with his co-defendants.
The men are each facing four counts of murder and one count each of first-degree burglary, attempted murder and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime.
Coleman testified that Scott allegedly confessed to the crime shortly after it happened.
The four Eutawville men are accused of shooting 8-year-old Dreamzz Nelson and killing Tamara Alexia Perry, 14; Shamekia Tyjuana Sanders, 17; Krystal Hutto, 28; and Jerome Butler, 50 at Hutto’s home.
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Her residence was at 7050 Old State Road, just outside of Holly Hill.
Coleman claimed he had $500 cash in his pocket when he drove Smith and Scott in his Toyota Tacoma truck “to go buy dope” sometime between 11 p.m. and midnight on July 14, 2015.
This wasn’t unusual, the trio made similar runs “30 to 40 times” before, according to Coleman.
Coleman said he first drove Smith and Scott to Bailey’s home in Eutawville.
He alleged Scott hopped out of the truck at Bailey’s residence, on Old Number Six Highway in Eutawville, to see if they could purchase drugs there.
Less than five minutes later, Scott returned to the truck and allegedly said to Coleman, “There’s no drugs here, but I know where I can get some.”
Scott didn’t say if he spoke with anyone at the house, Coleman said.
Coleman said he didn’t “stop that often” at Bailey’s house for drugs because “it’s kind of a last resort.”
Coleman alleged Scott gave him “turn-by-turn directions” to the next stop, Hutto’s home.
Coleman said he’d driven into Hutto’s driveway, for the first time, the day before when he gave Christopher Dean Wright a ride from Bailey’s house after Wright procured a motorcycle from Bailey. Wright is the father of the children who were shot.
Wright was also engaged to Hutto and had another fiancée in Summerton.
Coleman didn’t get out of his truck when he dropped off Wright the day before, he said.
When Scott allegedly gave Coleman directions to the house, he didn’t recognize it because it was a night.
The house sits back off the road, just under 200 feet, behind tall pines.
Coleman testified that Scott instructed him to park in a grassy area, near the highway, several yards from the mailbox.
Smith and Scott got out of the truck, he testified.
Coleman offered money to them in case they needed it to buy drugs.
Coleman alleged Scott said, “No, we got this.”
Coleman said he had the driver’s window down a little because he was smoking cigarettes. He’d turned the engine and lights off on the truck and waited for Smith and Scott to return.
Coleman listened to music on the stereo and played games on his phone while he waited, he said.
The waiting turned into 30 to 45 minutes, he testified, and that was unusually long. He testified that he didn’t go into the house.
He never saw Bailey that night either, he said.
There wasn’t any traffic on the highway, Coleman said. No one was driving behind them on the way there and no vehicle passed by as he was parked in the grass by the road.
Coleman said Scott and Smith ran back to the truck.
He alleged Scott yelled, “Go! Go! Go!”
“I was freaking out and panicking,” Coleman said.
Coleman drove the men west on Old State Road, toward Wells Crossroads, just a few miles from Hutto’s residence.
Coleman said he was in a panic, so Smith volunteered to drive. Coleman got in the front passenger seat, Smith got in the driver’s seat and Scott was in the back seat.
He alleged Smith drove them to Indian Bluff Landing, often just referred to as “Red Bank” by some of the Eutawville locals.
Coleman said when they got there, Smith allegedly got out of the truck and went to a wooded area.
“I saw like a flame, a flicker of light, like he was burning something,” Coleman said.
Coleman testified that Scott allegedly went by the water.
“It looked like he threw two objects into the water,” Coleman said. He couldn’t tell what they were. He heard “splash,” he said.
Scott returned to the truck.
“What the hell is going on!” Coleman said.
“I just killed five f - - - - - - people! Quit giving me s - - -!” Scott said, according to Coleman.
Smith drove them to a little cul-de-sac area near the entrance to the landing, Coleman said.
Coleman and Scott smoked some marijuana to relax their nerves.
Smith allegedly drove them to his half-brother’s trailer on Gaillard Street in Eutawville.
Once they got there, Scott “pulled drugs out of his pocket,” Coleman said.
It was a quantity of crystal methamphetamine and cocaine.
First Circuit Assistant Solicitor David Osborne asked Coleman about the quantity of the drugs.
Coleman first testified there was about a quarter ounce of each. Under cross-examination by one of Smith’s attorneys, Aimee Zmroczek, Coleman later stated the total weight of the drugs was a quarter ounce.
At the trailer, Coleman claimed he got high with Smith, Scott, Smith’s half-brother and Samantha Buxton.
Coleman explained he got a call from an Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office investigator just hours after the drug run.
“They wanted to come talk to me. I was pretty freaked,” he said, “They told me if I didn’t have a ride to get to them, they’d come pick me up.”
Coleman testified that Smith drove him to the sheriff’s office in Orangeburg.
Investigators spoke with him briefly about the motorcycle transaction that took place at Bailey’s house the day before.
Coleman told investigators the truth about motorcycle swamp, but didn’t volunteer information about the killings.
He didn’t hear from investigators again until July 19, 2016, just over a year later.
By that point, Scott had moved in with Coleman on St. Julien Drive on Lake Marion in Eutawville.
He said investigators asked him questions about what happened on the early morning hours of July 15, 2015. Coleman testified he lied to law enforcement at that time.
Investigators ended up arresting Coleman and Scott on drug charges after discovering quantities of marijuana.
Coleman said once he bonded out, he helped a friend and his family move from North Carolina to Alabama.
Coleman returned to check on things at his Eutawville home, then decided to return to Alabama – taking Scott with him to Foley, near the coast.
By Sept. 26, 2016, the law caught up with him and Scott.
He was at friend’s house when the friend’s sister asked him to go outside.
Coleman said the front of his friend’s yard was surrounded by officers with their guns drawn.
Officers took him to a small interview room where he was interviewed by two Orangeburg County deputies, including Lt. James Shumpert.
Shumpert interviewed Coleman for one hour and 18 minutes that day.
The next day, according to Zmroczek, Shumpert interviewed Coleman again for 48 minutes and 35 seconds – but there wasn’t any audio recorded.
Shumpert, according to Zmroczek, attempted a do-over interview with the audio recorder working. That interview lasted 16 minutes, she said.
During those interviews, Coleman told Shumpert that he’d driven Scott and Bailey to Hutto’s house on the night of the murders.
In court, Coleman testified that he lied to Shumpert initially.
Zmroczek questioned Coleman for the most of the afternoon during Thursday’s trial testimony.
Coleman testified numerous times that prosecutors had not made any plea deal with him to testify, but he is hoping for a shorter sentence for his cooperation.
If convicted, each of the men face up to life in prison.
The trial will resume Friday morning at the Orangeburg County Courthouse.
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