CONWAY, SC (WMBF) – One of the four suspects charged in connection with a deadly April 2015 shooting in Longs pleaded guilty Monday to a lesser charge prior to the start of his trial.
"He was in the courtroom today and he admitted to shooting," said Pamela McNeil, the mother of the victim. "He didn't lie. He admitted to shooting my son."
Gettie Levon Bellamy, 26, who was originally charged with murder, pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter, prosecutor Josh Holford said.
His trial for that charge was supposed to start Monday.
Holford said murder is the intentional killing of another with malice aforethought and voluntary manslaughter is the intentional killing of another in the heat of passion.
He said voluntary manslaughter is still a violent, serious and no parole offense.
"The defendant gets a benefit for pleading guilty and admitting his guilt," Holford said. "You can't be punished for going to trial, but you certainly get a better deal, a better sentence, a lower sentence for the defendant if he pleads guilty before the trial. The benefit for the state is we don't have to drag witnesses and victims through the entire process. It's three days of revictimizing a lot of the times."
An additional charge of possession of a weapon during a violent crime was dropped.
Bellamy was sentenced to 10 years in prison with no parole and he'll have to serve 85 percent of it, Holford said.
The charges stem from the April 2015 fatal shooting of 18-year-old Quentin Reeves, who died following the incident at the Party Shop in Longs.
"There were so many cars and so many people out there and my son was laying on the ground, on the wet ground," McNeil said. "He was gone, just that fast."
Reeves was just weeks away from graduating.
"I don't think I'll ever stop missing him. Ever," McNeil said.
Bellamy apologized to the victim's family during the court proceedings Monday, Holford said.
"He wanted the family to know that he was sorry, that he truly apologized for what happened, that he didn't want what happened out there that night to happen. That was not his intention," Holford said.
Reeves' family accepted that apology.
"I forgave him from my heart because I have to live with that and I feel like this right here everybody needs a second chance," McNeil said.
McNeil expressed her thoughts to the judge Monday.
"I will never see my son graduate or be a grandmother or pursue any of his dreams, but I didn't want him to be in jail the rest of his life," she said. "Everybody deserves a second chance and he deserves one too."
McNeil also wants to spread a message on her son's behalf to other young people in the community.
"Trouble is very easy to get in, but it's hard to get out," McNeil said. "Just listen to what your folks tell you and sometimes it will take you a long way."
Bellamy was formerly convicted of and served for robbery with a dangerous weapon in North Carolina, Holford said.
Also arrested in connection with the shooting were Lindsey Walton, Bradley Gore Jr. and Tommy Bell. They were all initially charged with murder, however Holford said he did not indict all three of them for that due to evidence and witnesses. Walton and Gore face accessory after the fact. Bell is charged with murder and accessory after the fact.
Holford said Walton and Gore were planning to testify as witnesses in Bellamy's trial if it had gone forward Monday.
Holford said three different .40 caliber hand guns were involved in a gun battle at the Party Shop, 24 shell casings were found, and nine of them were from an AK-47, which he said Bellamy was holding.
He said witnesses won't say what the reason for the gun battle was.
"It was a senseless killing. It could have been avoided and we don't even know what it was about," Holford said.