The lone remaining suspect in the 2010 killing of Kavares Brown outside an Edisto Island roadhouse received a 12-year prison sentence today as the result of a negotiated plea to voluntary manslaughter.
Kendrell Jerome Brown, no relation to the victim, entered an Alford plea in which he did not admit guilt but conceded there was enough evidence to convict him. For practical purposes, the 25-year-old Jacksonboro man is considered guilty in the eyes of the law.
The plea deal spared Brown the potential for a life sentence if he had been convicted on the original charge of murder. Prosecutors, in turn, avoided having to go trial with a case that was less than rock solid on the evidence.
Prosecutors had already cut loose two other suspects in the case, including Kendrell Brown's younger brother, after alibi witnesses and other evidence cast strong doubt on their involvement in the crime. Some in the community suspected the case against Kendrell Brown would soon unravel as well, but the evidence against him proved more substantial.
The case revolved around an early morning shooting on June 18, 2010, outside the Pit Club, a no-frills nightclub on Highway 174.
Kavares Brown, a 29-year-old auto mechanic and father of three, was standing with friends when a burgundy Buick rolled up. Between two and four gunmen jumped out with bandanas over their faces. The gunmen opened fire as the crowd scattered, and Kavares Brown took a bullet in the back. He died before he reached a hospital.
Assistant Solicitor Rutledge Durant told a judge witnesses saw Kendrell Brown behind the wheel of the Buick just before the shooting. One witness also told deputies that Brown fired at least one shot, he said.
Investigators learned the suspect had borrowed his girlfriend's burgundy Buick that night and that she had reported the license plate missing the following day, Durant said.
Durant said prosecutors are convinced that Brown was involved in the shooting and that he knows the identity of other shooters. They were less certain, however, of their chances of prevailing at trial, he said.
After much discussion, negotiating a plea was "the best resolution we can come to in this case," Durant told Circuit Judge Roger Young.
Kavares Brown's stepfather and sister asked Young to impose the maximum sentence he could, which was 12 years under the negotiated plea. He then accepted the plea and imposed the sentence.
Kendrell Brown, dressed in a striped jail jumpsuit and shackled at the waist and ankles, was asked by the judge if he had anything to say on the matter. "No," he said, shaking his head. Deputies then led him away to begin serving his time.