Florence County deputies investigate two separate homicides in one night; victims identified

Published: Aug. 17, 2022 at 3:40 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 17, 2022 at 10:57 PM EDT
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FLORENCE COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) – The Florence County coroner released the names of two people who were found dead within hours of each other on Tuesday night in the Timmonsville area.

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Deputies were first called to Riverbend Road, where a passerby spotted a man sitting in his car.

Authorities discovered that the man had been shot and killed.

Florence County Coroner Keith von Lutcken identified the victim as 22-year-old Malik Zimmerman of Timmonsville.

Later on in the night, deputies were called to a home in the 1700 block of Timmons Road, where a family member discovered a body.

Von Lutcken identified the man as 62-year-old Jasper McKithen who was reported missing by his family on Monday.

The Timmonsville Police Department reported on Monday that Jasper McKithen was missing. His...
The Timmonsville Police Department reported on Monday that Jasper McKithen was missing. His body was later discovered in a home along Timmons Road. His death is being investigated as a homicide.(Source: Timmonsville Police Department)

The coroner said it appears that McKithen died as a result of blunt force trauma.

“We can’t understand why it happened,” said Rick Cashwell, a nearby neighbor. “He just didn’t deserve it, and it’s just bad. Jasper was a very nice guy in the community, didn’t bother anybody, really big church member, really pleasant to talk to it’s just horrible.”

The Florence County Sheriff’s Office and Police Department started a new task force on Aug. 1 to specially train officers on street crimes.

According to Maj. Mike Nunn with the Florence County Sheriff’s office, both of the incidents were not something the task force could prevent.

“These appear to be crimes of opportunity, not the type of thing the task force is specifically designed for,” said Nunn. “Although it would be applicable to show visible presence, this particular type of incident is a crime of opportunity which is very difficult for law enforcement to interdict or prevent on the front end.”

Cashwell explained how the two homicides make it harder to trust people throughout the area.

“He was probably gullible and very trustworthy, I just hate it,” he said. “It let’s you know that you can’t really trust people, and you gotta keep your eye open. People here used to stay out in the yard, lights open at night, mingling, no worries, but I guess you got to keep your eyes open now.”

The Florence County Sheriff’s Office and the coroner’s office continue to investigate these two separate homicides.

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