Man pleads guilty in 2008 pawn shop murder

Jeffrey Jennings (Source: J. Reuben Long Detention Center)
Jeffrey Jennings (Source: J. Reuben Long Detention Center)

Horry County, SC - HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - A man accused of shooting and killing an Atlantic Beach pawn shop employee in 2008 has pleaded guilty to murder and armed robbery charges Friday.

Jeffrey Jennings, 29, of Greenville, TN, pleaded guilty during a Friday morning court appearance connected to the death of Thomas Lane Holcombe, 37.

According to investigators, Holcombe was found dead at his business on July 25, 2008 by two customers shortly after being shot. At the time of his death, Holcombe was the co-owner of Thee Pawn Shoppe on US-17 in Atlantic Beach.

The Horry County Solicitor's Office later revealed Holcombe was shot point-blank in the forehead with a .40 caliber handgun by Jennings. In midst of the armed robbery, officials allege Jennings stole multiple guns, jewelry and cash.

As Jennings was fleeing the scene of the crime, he ordered a 10-year-old and 11-year-old standing nearby not to go in to the shop because a crime had just taken place. Authorities said Jennings proceeded to ride away from the crime scene on a bicycle with a pillowcase full of stolen goods.

Jennings' estranged wife, identified as Brenna Renee Jennings, 31, of Greenville, TN, was waiting for the 29-year-old in a vehicle parked in the back of Thee Pawn Shoppe. According to an investigation, the two then drove to Virginia Beach from South Carolina and sold the stolen goods.

The suspect was later arrested on Aug. 2, 2008 by U.S. Marshals.

Holcombe's 2008 death led Judge Steven John to sentence Jeffrey Jennings to life in prison without parole. John sentenced the man to an additional 30 years in prison for an armed robbery charge.

Brenna Jennings has also been charged as an accessory after the fact to a felony by Horry County Police. She remains incarcerated at the J. Reuben Long Detention Center, according to booking records.

A background check on Jeffrey Jennings' criminal history revealed the 29-year-old was previously charged with involuntary manslaughter and armed robbery in connection to the 2008 death of a man in Greenville.

Authorities allege days before Holcombe's death, Jeffrey Jennings became involved in multiple drug deals in Greeneville, one of which turned bad. As a result of the faulty deal, investigators believe the 29-year-old killed the victim.

The Horry County Solicitor's Office said Jeffrey Jennings was charged with involuntary manslaughter and armed robbery. He has since been sentenced to life in prison.

Police also connected Jeffrey Jennings to an aggravated robbery in Tennessee. He received parole and was rearrested.

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