HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – A jury found 31-year-old Kevin Bryant guilty of murder for the shooting of a 23-year-old man at Club Levelz in February 2015. Bryant was sentenced to life in prison for the crime.
The jury deliberated for about two hours Thursday before announcing the guilty verdict. Bryant was accused of shooting and killing Saequan Vereen at the Myrtle Beach night club in the early morning hours of February 15, 2015.
After the verdict was announced the defense attempted a motion to vacate the verdict, but the judge said the court found sufficient evidence was presented to convict Bryant of murder and declined the motion.
During the closing arguments earlier this morning, Assistant Solicitor Josh Holford went through evidence, which included the murder weapon, clothes from both the defendant and victim as well as a video showing a man shooting Vereen.
He said the evidence taken from Bryant night of the shooting matches the man in the video.
Defense Attorney Kia Wilson told the jury only two of the nearly 20 witnesses called the stand were present that night.. and she says his face can't be seen in the video.
She said it's not sufficient evidence.
However, in the end, the jury came to a unanimous guilty verdict.
Vereen's family spoke during the sentencing, with his mother saying his death turned her world upside down. She asked the for the maximum sentence. Vereen's sister said that he was the only person in the house to attend college, and he was a good person who hadn't fully lived his life yet. The state also requested a life sentence for Bryant.
Bryant's defense attorney told the court that Bryant has a two-year-old daughter, and that he's been incarcerated for most of her life. She said if he served the minimum sentence of 30 years, he would be 61 years old by the time he got out. She asked the court for leniency and mercy.
Bryant, speaking to Vereen's family, apologized for their loss, but maintained his innocence, saying that for the court's record, his DNA was not found on the gun.
Bryant's mother also spoke, giving her apologies to the Vereen family and saying her son was innocent.
Bryant was then sentenced to life in prison.
As she left the courtroom, Bryant's mother was crying and saying, "My baby didn't do it!"
"I appreciate each juror's attention during the trial that contained multiple witnesses, photographs, videos and other pieces of evidence," said 15th Circuit Assistant Solicitor Josh Holford after the verdict and sentencing. "Justice was served today for the family of Saequan Vereen, who can now find some closure in his killing. The officers with the Myrtle Beach Police Department did an excellent job with their work in quickly responding to the shooting, finding the evidence and solving the case."
Vereen's mother, Crystal Vereen, spoke after the sentencing about the difficulty of losing her son in the shooting.
"That hurt real bad because he didn't have to do my baby like that," she said.
She said she was satisfied with the life sentence.
"I don't wish nobody to go to jail, but if you put yourself in that situation, you did that," she said. "You took it upon yourself to play assassin."
She said her own son was just starting his own life at 23 years old.
"My son, Saequan, was my big teddy bear," she said. "He was very loving. Always kind to people."
On February 15, 2015, Vereen happened to pass a crime scene on her way home from a Valentine's party at the convention center.
"I was seeing all the police cars out there and I said to my girlfriend, 'I know that's not Saequan because he went out last night. He don't do clubs like that.' As soon as I got home, the phone was ringing," she said.
The scene turned out to be for her son's death.
"He said, 'Crystal, I'm sorry, it's Saequan,'" she remembered a police officer telling her. "I was actually laid out in the middle of the street. I lost it."
Crystal Vereen now has some closure for the case, but she only has her son in her memories.
"I blow kisses to the sky every day," she said.
She wore her son's name on a necklace every day of the trial and also wore a bracelet he gave her the last Christmas he was alive.
Warrants for Bryant from his 2015 arrest state: "through investigation it revealed that defendant Bryant did lie and [sic] wait for the victim to exit Levelz nightclub. Upon reaching Bryant, he did exit out between two vehicles where he was crouched, and he did begin to shoot the victim multiple times at which point the victim succumbed to injuries from the shooting."
Bryant's trial began on Monday, and the opening statements from both sides were heard on Tuesday. The prosecution addressed the jury confident that Bryant was the only one who could have fired the fatal shot that killed Vereen.
"He knew he was there to kill. He made sure he did that. Kevin Bryant and only Kevin Bryant fired that weapon," Assistant Solicitor Seth Oskin said.
Charges against a co-defendant in this case, Robbie Bufkin, were dropped this past May. Bufkin instead pleaded guilty to drug trafficking and was sentenced to 16 years in prison, according to court records.