Man accused of killing Mount Pleasant man with choke hold sentenced to 6 years
A Mount Pleasant man ordered himself an escort for a rendezvous. Later that night, he ended up dead on the front lawn of his Dunes West home.
Now, his family is outraged over the prison time given to the man investigators say caused his death.
During a hearing Tuesday in a Charleston courtroom, Kenneth Dyer, 39, of North Charleston, was sentenced to six years behind bars.
Dyer already had pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and burglary in April for his involvement in the 2011 death of 43-year-old Robert Weir of Palmetto Hall Boulevard. Dyer had driven an escort, Shara Greene, to Weir's home, and later that night, Dyer and Weir got into a fight in front of Weir's home, according to prosecutors. It ended with Dyer choke holding Weir until he died, prosecutors said.
The six-year sentence was part of a negotiated plea, which means the judge could not add or remove time to the sentence. Dyer also will get credit for the time he already has served, almost two years in jail.
Jamie Weir, Robert's brother, told the judge he felt slighted by the sentence. “(Dyer) deserves a lot more than that. We deserve, as a family, some satisfaction,” he said.
Jamie Weir said with this sentence, he would have preferred to see the case go to trial, for a jury to decide. But prosecutors said there were issues with the case.
The only witness to the death was Greene, who has been convicted of solicitation of prostitution and who had used heroin earlier on the day of Weir's death, 9th Circuit Assistant Solicitor Jennifer Shealy said after the hearing.
Greene also would have testified that Weir threw the first punch at Dyer and that she was chased outside the home by Weir, Shealy said.
Despite the problems with the case, Jamie Weir expressed his anger throughout the hearing and during his statements to Circuit Judge Kristi Harrington.
“This six-year sentence is a joke,” he told the judge.
Dyer's attorney, Charleston County Public Defender Beattie Butler, told the judge this was a fair result for everybody, rather than going to trial.
“Other aspects of Mr. Weir's lifestyle would have come to light,” he told the judge. “They spared this family an experience that this is a lot better than.”
Robert Weir, a divorced father of three, used an escort service on the night of his death, June 21, 2011, according to prosecutors. The escort, Greene, arrived at his home with Dyer as her driver, prosecutors said. While Dyer remained outside, Greene went inside Weir's home to conduct her business.
“There was immediately some disagreement about what money would be paid,” Shealy said in court.
After Greene undressed and began dancing, the arguing continued and Weir “manhandled” Greene to get his money back, Shealy said. Weir chased Greene outside, prosecutors said.
Greene grabbed a glass bottle fruit drink and hit Weir over the head, Shealy said. When Dyer got out of his car, Greene told investigators Weir threw a punch at Dyer, according to Shealy.
Dyer put Weir in a chokehold until Weir went limp, prosecutors said. Dyer then poured alcohol over his body.
Items were removed from the house, including a laptop and cellphone, which Greene told investigators Dyer took.
After a neighbor found Weir dead on the front lawn with the liquor bottle, investigators first suspected it was a natural death, according to Shealy. They later determined he died of compressional asphyxia, prosecutors said.
Dyer pleaded guilty to the burglary and involuntary manslaughter charges as an Alford plea, not admitting the acts but submitting a guilty plea. The S.C. Supreme Court has said there is no significant difference between an Alford plea and a guilty plea, and it will be reflected on his record as a conviction.
Greene was originally charged with accessory after the fact, but the charge was dismissed at her preliminary hearing. She was later indicted on a charge of obstruction of justice.
She cooperated with investigators and the obstruction charge was dropped. Greene pleaded guilty to possession of heroin Tuesday following Dyer's sentencing hearing. Police found heroin inside her North Charleston hotel room on Feb. 11, 2012. She was also charged with solicitation of prostitution.
Greene later pleaded guilty to that charge and was sentenced to time served for the 17 days she had already spent in jail. On Tuesday, she was sentenced to probation for the heroin charge.
Reach Natalie Caula at 937-5594 or Twitter.com/ncaula.