Defendant spits at officers in court after murder conviction

Damian Inman

DILLON, S.C. — A man convicted of murder a second time for killing a 75-year-old woman tried to punch a Dillon County sheriff’s deputy and spit on officers and prosecutors after the jury delivered its verdict.

Damian Inman was removed from court, returning in shackles and with a spit guard over his entire face Thursday after being convicted of murder, kidnapping, armed robbery and other charges.

Media outlets reported he was sentenced to 30 years on the armed robbery charge, but sentencing was delayed on the murder charge, which carries 30 years to life in prison. Inman was sentenced to life in prison in 2010 for killing Mary Stutts, but the state Supreme Court overturned the conviction after ruling jury selection wasn’t done properly.

Inman, who was 17 at the time, went to Stutts’ Dillon County house in August 2009 with two other teens, knocked on her door and asked for a drink of water, authorities said.

They then hit her in the head with a gun, kidnapped her, stuffed her in her truck and started driving around, prosecutors said.

Stutts screamed and prayed from the trunk, but the teens turned up the radio so they wouldn’t hear her pleas, authorities said.

“She tried to help three men with water on a hot day. And what did she get in return for that? Death. A brutal senseless death,” prosecutor Shipp Daniel said.

Inman’s attorney, Thurmond Brooker, said there were no fingerprints, DNA or other evidence linking Inman to the killing.

During the scuffle after the verdict was read, Inman’s sister jumped over the rail behind the attorneys and ran to her brother. She was immediately taken into custody and the judge sentenced her to 15 days in jail for contempt of court.

Inman’s two co-defendants remain in prison. His brother, Lorenzo Inman, was 18 at the time of his arrest and is serving a life sentence. The third defendant, John Henry Bridges, was 15 when he was arrested and is serving 40 years.