Retrial underway for Horry County man accused in 20-year-old murder case

Retrial underway for Horry County man accused in 20-year-old murder case
Gary Wayne Bennett (Source: J. Reuben Long Detention Center)

CONWAY, S.C. (WMBF/MyHorryNews) – A jury will continue to hear testimony in the case of a Horry County man who is on trial again for a murder that happened 20 years ago.

The case of Gary Wayne Bennett was set to resume at 9 a.m. Wednesday at the Horry County Government and Justice Center, according to a spokesperson for the Fifteenth Circuit Solicitor’s Office.

Bennett, 57, who has been in jail for nearly 20 years, killed Eva Marie Martin on May 23, 2000, according to prosecutors. She was found dead in her Little River home, with her pants slit and her pants pulled down, WMBF’s news partners at MyHorryNews reported.

The defendant, who has maintained his innocence, was convicted of murder and armed robbery on Aug. 14, 2002, MyHorryNews reported. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole. Bennett’s conviction was upheld by the appeals court, so he sought post-conviction relief, or PCR, to secure a new trial.

In his pursuit of PCR, Bennett said his trial attorney Johnny Gardner, who is now the Horry County Council chairman, had been ineffective.

Bennett was successful in 2014, leading to his new trial that started Monday with jury selection. He is being tried on charges of murder, armed robbery, first-degree burglary and conspiracy to kidnap.

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