Jury convicts suspect in man's beating death

Christopher Leron Cooper (Source: HCPD)
Christopher Leron Cooper (Source: HCPD)

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - A man arrested and charged in connection to the death of another after a fight at a party in 2011 has been convicted of manslaughter.

According to the Horry County Court Public Index, 23-year-old Christopher Leron Cooper of Mullins was convicted of involuntary manslaughter by a jury. Cooper was sentenced to four years in prison and must pay court costs.

Sgt. Robert Kegler, spokesman for the Horry County Police Department, said officers responded to an address along Chanticleer Village Drive in the Conway section of Horry County in reference to an assault back in 2011.

Twenty-two-year-old Kendall Williams of Mullins was found unconscious and not breathing by officers. Units with Horry County Fire Rescue transported Williams to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead around an hour later.

Upon further investigation, detectives learned the victim was allegedly attacked by Christopher Leron Cooper. According to Kegler, when the victim fell during the fight, he was punched and kicked repeatedly.

Cooper was still on scene and was taken into custody before being transported to J. Reuben Long Detention Center where he was initially charged with murder.

Neighbors in the mostly-student apartment complex say news of this crime makes them feel a lot less safe.

"It's really scary. It's terrifying. It's like, what, 500 feet from my door? It could have happened to me. It could have happened to anybody," said Katie Weingarten.

Weingarten says this isn't the first crime she's heard about taking place in the community.

WMBF News spoke with Williams' father on the phone, and he said many people will miss his son Kendall.

"He's a very loving person. He was very humble, obedient, and he was an individual just trying to mind his own business," Williams said.

Kegler said neither Cooper nor Williams were students at Coastal Carolina University.

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