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Video surveillance aids in arrest of man accused in downtown Greenville beating death

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Police crime scene tape (copy)

GREENVILLE — The use of video surveillance downtown is among the factors involved in the arrest of an Easley man accused of beating another man to death in the early-morning hours.

On April 5 around 1:20 a.m., Greenville Police officers arrived in the area in front of the Wells Fargo building to find a man lying unresponsive in the street. Emergency responders declared 48-year-old James Andrew Austin Jr. of Greenville dead, city spokeswoman Leslie Fletcher said.

An autopsy determined Austin died as the result of assault, she said.

Two days later, 21-year-old Claude Austin Jester was arrested by U.S. Marshals and charged with murder. Jester is jailed in the Greenville County Detention Center on no bond.

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Police have said little more about the incident, including what led to the alleged assault, beyond a statement and an arrest warrant. In the warrant for murder, Jester is accused of attacking Austin and "punching and kicking him about the head and body, which led to his death."

The city uses an extensive network of video cameras to monitor downtown activities, particularly at night. Video footage along with witness statements and Jester's "own admission" led to his arrest, according to the warrant.

Follow Eric on Twitter at @cericconnor.

Reporter/Local Editor

Eric is a reporter and local editor for The Post and Courier in Greenville. Previously with The Greenville News, he's covered the Upstate for two decades and served as a USA TODAY correspondent. He studied journalism at the University of South Carolina.

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