Judge denies bond for man accused of killing cousin in Loris

Bond denied, granted for several other high-profile cases in Horry County as well
Updated: Aug. 16, 2019 at 5:37 PM EDT
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CONWAY, S.C. (WMBF) - A judge denied bond for an 18-year-old man accused of shooting and killing his cousin in Loris earlier this year.

Circuit Court Judge Benjamin Culbertson made the decision on Friday to deny bond for Aaron Vereen.

When facing a magistrate judge earlier this year, Vereen’s bond was not set as the judge ruled he had to face a circuit court judge.

Vereen is accused of killing Martrellyiz Vereen, the man family members say was Aaron Vereen’s cousin and a Loris High School student, at a cemetery in March.

Martrellyiz Vereen’s mother Kashamba Bernick Floyd made a passionate plea to the judge to deny bond for Aaron Vereen.

“Please, do not give him a bond,” she said. “I beg of you, your honor. My son had just turned 18 years old. I’m wearing his t-shirt that was in the back of his trunk that he never got to wear.”

Several other men accused of violent crimes over the last few years also faced Culbertson Friday.

Gary Hammel

Gary Hammel, along with another man, is accused of robbing the Surfside Beach Pharmacy in November 2017. He faced a judge to have his bond lowered.

Culbertson granted the request, setting a $60,000 personal recognizance bond. He also ordered that Hammel can not have any contact with the victim or the co-defendant in the case.

Johnny Thomas

Johnny Thomas is accused of drugging and repeatedly raping a 16-year-old girl in March. Prosecutors said he trafficked that girl from Ohio to South Carolina.

Thomas was arrested after a note was left at a North Carolina Walmart.

Thomas’ lawyer asked to have his bond lowered, but Culbertson denied that request.

Tyquan Carmichael

Tyquan Carmichael is accused of holding a woman at knifepoint and forcing her to perform sex acts on him at a Myrtle Beach hotel.

Carmichael faced Culbertson for a bond hearing. Culbertson denied bond for him, saying he was a flight risk for having ties to North Carolina and Florida. Culbertson also said he is a danger to the community.

Prosecutors said Carmichael was convicted of statutory rape in the past as well.

Carmichael’s attorney said they plan to take the case to trial.

Jesse Lalone

Jesse Lalone is accused of armed robbery, kidnapping and possession of a weapon during a violent crime. Officials say he robbed the Maryland Fried Chicken on Kings Highway in Myrtle Beach on Halloween of 2017.

Lalone made a motion to represent himself, saying his attorney has been no help to him.

“She’s done nothing but lie to me, your honor,” Lalone said of his attorney.

Culbertson quizzed Lalone on state law, and based on Lalone’s answers, Culbertson determined it’s not wise for Lalone to represent himself since he has no law background.

Culbertson denied Lalone’s motion. Lalone was not happy with the decision.

“So you’re forcing me to have an attorney that doesn’t have my best interest?” Lalone asked the judge.

Terence Blackwell

Terence Blackwell is accused of killing a man in a public restroom on Withers Alley in Myrtle Beach in the summer of 2018.

He was in court Friday to ask Culbertson to lower his bond. The judge denied the motion.

Blackwell recently turned down two plea deal offers from the 15th Circuit Solicitor’s Office. His trial is set to begin later this year.

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