Federal judge finds man guilty of kidnapping, killing 80-year-old Horry County grandmother
HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) – A man on trial in the kidnapping and shooting death of a Horry County grandmother learned his fate Wednesday morning.
A federal judge found Dominique Brand guilty on all three counts, which were kidnapping resulting in death, carjacking resulting in death, and use of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence resulting in death of a person in such a manner to constitute murder.
Authorities said that Brand kidnapped 80-year-old Mary Ann Elvington from her home in Nichols in March 2021, forced her to drive him to North Carolina and then back to South Carolina. They said he ended up shooting and killing her in Marion County behind an abandoned grocery store.
Brand waived his right to a jury trial and instead opted for a bench trial, which is when a judge decides if the defendant is guilty or not guilty.
During the three-day trial, the judge heard from a total of 24 witnesses which included experience FBI agents, law enforcement and investigators.
They said Brand’s DNA was found all over Elvington’s home and car. Investigators also said they found his DNA on a piece of frozen pizza he cooked and ate before kidnapping Elvington.
U.S. Attorney Everett McMillan said all of the evidence showed that Brand was guilty.
“There’s only one person responsible for this crime. All the evidence in this case point to Mr. Brand from the beginning, that’s what the trial testimony showed. So circumstantial or not, the one individual responsible was held accountable,” said McMillan.
The case was also prosecuted with the help of 15th Circuit Chief Deputy Solicitor Scott Hixson.
“Six years ago the state made a concerted effort to work with our federal partners. We believe that opening up federal courthouses, federal prisons, and federal resources would pay benefits to our citizen,” said 15th Circuit Solicitor Jimmy Richardson. “As part of that initiative we have three special U.S. Attorneys in house. One of those is Scott Hixson, chief deputy, who along with our federal partners and the U.S. Department of Justice tried Mr. Brand in Federal Court. We are so thankful for our long relationships that allowed for this positive outcome for the Elvington family.”
Meanwhile, the defense argued that there weren’t any witnesses in order to determine if Brand committed the crimes.
On Monday, it was believed that Brand would testify in the case, but that was not the case. It’s not clear exactly what happened because reporters were not inside the courtroom while the judge spoke with Brand.
The 15th Circuit Solicitor’s Office said Brand could receive a sentence of up to life without the possibility of parole or death on all counts.
The judge said that Brand’s sentencing will be held at a later date.
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