Defense rests in Spears case

Conway, SC - CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - Closing arguments are next up in a trial against a man accused of shooting four people in Myrtle Beach in May 2007.

The murder trial of Brian Spears, 23, of Lumberton, NC, began Tuesday and continued Wednesday, with prosecutors resting their case Wednesday night after the sister of one of the victims took the stand to testify.

Thursday morning, Spears took the stand in his own defense and admitted to being on Ocean Boulevard when the shooting happened. However, he said he wasn't the shooter.

Spears testified he was with Jeff Bethea and other friends and he saw Bethea walk off in the directon of Aaron Hammonds and then he heard gunshots.

Spears said he left his gun in the car.

Through questioning, the defense also pointed out that the original suspect composite released after the shooting did resemble Bethea, but not Spears.

Prosecutors said Spears never admitted until Thursday that he had a gun at all.

During cross examination, Spears defended his rap song lyrics saying they did not mean he shot Hammonds, adding he gave his gun away to a friend.

Prosecuting attorneys raised questions about that, saying if Spears was innocent he would have given it to police to prove his gun was not the murder weapon.

Closing arguments are set for Thursday afternoon, with the case being turned over to the jury to deliberate after 3 p.m.

Spears is accused of shooting four people in Myrtle Beach in the early morning hours of May 27, 2007. Three of those people survived, but 22-year-old Aaron Hammonds, also of Lumberton, died from injuries sustained in the incident.

Police said Spears and some of his friends came to Myrtle Beach for the Memorial Day Bike Rally and ran into another group of young men they did not like on Ocean Boulevard near 11th Avenue North. That other group included Hammonds.

Prosecutors believe Spears shot and killed Hammonds as retaliation for a previous crime. Hammonds was convicted and served jail time in connection to the 2004 murder of Eric Floyd, a friend of Spears.

The defense has claimed Jeff Bethea, a friend of Spears who is also facing charges in this case, was the trigger man.

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