Second Cohen brother sentenced in fatal shooting in North Charleston

Randall L. Cohen, 26, of North Charleston was sentenced to eight years in prison after pleading guilty to voluntary manslaughter Tuesday.

There was some doubt in the courtroom Tuesday about which of the Cohen brothers killed a man in North Charleston two years ago, but both of them will be spending about six years in prison.

James Murphy, 32, was fatally shot Feb. 27, 2011, on Iris Street. Randall Cohen of North Charleston and Chad Cohen of West Ashley were both charged with murder.

Randall Cohen, 26, pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and was sentenced to eight years in prison Tuesday. He must serve 85 percent of his sentence and will be eligible for release in about six years with good behavior, according to Circuit Judge Thomas Hughston.

Chad Cohen, 22, previously pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact and was sentenced to 10 years last month. He must serve 65 percent of his sentence and can also be released after about six years with good behavior.

Murphy and Randall Cohen got into an argument and Murphy took Cohen's gun, according to attorneys on both sides. Cohen went and got his younger brother to confront Murphy.

A witness said Randall Cohen shot Murphy, although it's not clear that was the case, Assistant Solicitor Burns Wetmore told the judge.

Randall Cohen did not shoot Murphy but was pleading guilty under the "hand of one, hand of all" doctrine, Public Defender Ashley Pennington said.

The length of Randall Cohen's sentence was calculated so that he and his brother would have to serve the same time in prison, according to the attorneys and judge.

Randall Cohen spent almost two years in prison after being arrested in 2007 with crack cocaine and an illegal weapon, according to his record presented in court Tuesday.

Reach Dave Munday at 937-5553.