BEAUFORT, S.C. - A Beaufort County deputy tells one of three suspects in the killing of an 8-year-old boy that he can save his life and his son's life by leading investigators to a gun used in the slaying, according to a recently uncovered recording that delayed the men's trial.
The 55-minute recording was obtained by The Beaufort Gazette from prosecutors through a Freedom of Information Act request.
A judge last month delayed the murder trial of 37-year-old Aaron Young Sr., his 20-year-old son Aaron Young Jr. and 38-year-old Tyrone Robinson just before it was set to begin after the recording surfaced. All three men were being tried for the death of 8-year-old Khalil Singleton on Hilton Head Island.
Prosecutors said the boy was killed by a stray bullet as the men shot at each other in September 2012.
In the recording, a deputy tells Young Sr. that if he helps investigators find a gun used in the shooting, it would help "save both you and your son's life" because it could prove they did not fire the fatal shot.
"That gun is your only saving grace ... the bullet that came out of that gun won't match with the bullet that was in that boy. That would prove that you didn't commit murder," the deputy said.
The deputy was only identified by his last name, and Beaufort County Sheriff P.J. Tanner refused to tell the newspaper the man's first name.
The recordings help show the Youngs were coerced into helping police, said defense attorney Roberts Vaux, who is representing Young Jr.
"You can't say you're not going to charge him with murder and turn around and charge him with murder," Vaux said. "The Youngs kept their side of it."
Information from: The Beaufort Gazette, http://www.beaufortgazette.com