MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) – A judge sentenced a man to 17 years in prison for the shooting death of a pregnant woman near a Myrtle Beach park, but some say the sentence isn’t harsh enough.
Jordan Pyatt, 24, entered an Alford plea to involuntary manslaughter. In an Alford plea, the defendant does not admit guilt but acknowledges a jury would likely convict based on evidence.
Myrtle Beach police said in Sept. 2017, Pyatt fired a gun toward a group of people near Futrell Park and 22-year-old Jadasia Myers was hit by a stray bullet. It killed her and her unborn baby girl, who was going to be named Harmony.
In the days following her death, hundreds gathered at her vigil, including former Myrtle Beach Mayor John Rhodes.
“Unfortunately, a life was lost. It doesn’t matter how many years a person is punished, you’re never bringing back that life,” Rhodes said.
Myers death sparked a conversation in the Booker T. Washington community about improving gun safety in the surrounding neighborhoods. Rhodes said people living in the community also stepped up their neighborhood watch group’s efforts.
“This is what a neighborhood watch is all about. Our police officers cannot be everywhere all the time. They do a great job in this city so with a neighborhood watch when they see things that are suspected of foul play or an improper gathering, then the neighborhood watch people would give our department a call so we can get down there before any type of violence takes place,” Rhodes said.
Myrtle Beach police records show that since Myers’ death in Sept. 2017, 128 arrests or reports were made in the Booker T. Washington community related to drugs, guns or burglary. Those numbers have been nearly cut in half from 2018 to 2019.
“After Miss Myers death, everyone is a lot more watchful now. They have a good relationship with the police department now and they’re not afraid to call them and let them know what’s going on,” said Elizabeth Bowens, who is the president of South Carolina Mothers Against Violence.
As for Pyatt’s sentencing, Bowens felt it wasn’t harsh enough for a man who took someone’s life.
“Seventeen years is not enough years for him. I grieve with the family that he should not be on the street again,” Bowens said.
Our news partner My Horry News reports that Pyatt was originally charged with murder but accepted a negotiated plea to a lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter. He will receive credit for the nearly two years and three months he’s spent in jail.
The Myrtle Beach Police Department works with more than 20 active Neighborhood Watch programs throughout the city. To start a Neighborhood Watch in your area, call the Crime Prevention Section at 843-918-1806.