An Orangeburg County jury convicted a St. Matthews man of several crimes on Wednesday, but found him not guilty of murder.
Circuit Judge Ed Dickson sentenced Darrin Anthony Houser, 51, of Moorer Road, to 20 years in prison after a jury convicted him of first-degree burglary, attempted armed robbery and possession of a weapon by a person convicted of a violent crime.
Houser also faced a murder charge in the Aug. 26, 2015 shooting death of Anthony Patterson, 56, of Gretta Lane. The jury acquitted him of that charge.
His nephew, Jeremy Houser, 28, of Fisher Road, Temple Hills, Maryland, is also facing a murder charge in Patterson’s death. His charge is pending.
Early in the investigation, Orangeburg County Sheriff Leroy Ravenell stated robbery was the motive for the shooting.
A witness said that Darrin Houser tricked his way into the Gretta Lane residence, near the Calhoun County line.
Once both Housers were allegedly inside of the residence, gunfire rang out with at least one shot striking Patterson. He died at the scene.
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The men fled.
On Aug. 28, 2015, U.S. Marshals and agents of the Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force arrested Darrin Houser in Washington, D.C.
By Sept. 9, 2015, authorities had Jeremy Houser in custody.
Darrin Houser, represented by Russell Blanchard and Charlie Williams in his two-day trial, has a criminal record extending to 1996 when he pleaded guilty to trespassing.
On June 23, 2015, he pleaded guilty to a charge of third or subsequent offense of shoplifting items worth $2,000. He’d had at least five shoplifting convictions over the previous decade.
A judge sentenced him to 10 years in prison, but suspended it to five years of probation. His probation was set to end on June 22, 2020.
In 2013, the Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office arrested him for public disorderly conduct. He received a conviction, but was given credit for the time he spent in jail awaiting trial. He didn’t have to serve any additional time for that offense.
A trial date for Jeremy Houser has not yet been set.