$40,000 bail set in slaying

Joseph 'Alex' Howard appears before a Berkeley County magistrate Friday with Hanahan Police Sgt. Dennis Turner. Howard is charged with involuntary manslaughter in the shooting death of 19-year-old Hanna Tyus.

MONCKS CORNER -- Tears sliding down his cheek, Joseph "Alex" Howard stood before a magistrate Friday and apologized for the events leading to the fatal shooting of his brother's fiancee.

"I'm so sorry about this situation," he said. "I'm so sorry."

Investigators charged Howard with involuntary manslaughter after 19-year-old Hanna Tyus was shot in the back of the head Wednesday while he was handling a revolver that went off inside his Willard Drive apartment in Hanahan.

Police say Howard and 17-year-old Kenneth Capers neglected to call 911 and put her inside a Saturn that Howard later crashed on Murray Drive. Authorities responded to the wreck and found Tyus slumped over, but still alive, in the back seat of the car. Tyus, the mother of Howard's 14-month-old nephew, eventually was pronounced dead at the scene.

Reginald Tyus, the victim's father, asked Berkeley County Magistrate Rad Deaton to set bail as high as possible because he feared Howard was a danger to his family.

"Mr. Howard has a habit of playing with guns," Tyus said.

Howard faces a maximum sentence of five years if convicted of the charge.

Berkeley County Magistrate Rad Deaton set bail at $40,000 and placed Howard on house arrest with orders not to have any contact with the family. He noted that Howard was already out on bail for another weapons-related charge at the time of the shooting. Howard told Deaton the unrelated weapons charge was in the process of being dropped.

An affidavit states that Hanna Tyus and Howard were in the apartment together when Tyus asked to see the gun. Howard unloaded the gun and, thinking he had emptied all of the rounds, handed the gun to Tyus.

The affidavit states that Howard took the gun from Tyus when she cocked the hammer back. Howard attempted to uncock the gun, causing the gun to fire.

Deaton also set bail at $15,000 for Capers who, according to an affidavit, placed the spent shell in his pocket and attempted to hide the gun outside of the apartment building. Capers faces a maximum sentence of one year in jail if convicted of misprision of a felony.

Capers' mother, Rosemarie Capers, told the magistrate that the two families knew each other very well. Her son briefly dated Hanna Tyus' younger sister and that Hanna Tyus once stayed with them when she was having a disagreement with her family.

Capers had not been arrested as an adult before Thursday, according to SLED.

Reach Andy Paras at 937-5589, aparas@postandcourier.com or on twitter at twitter.com/andyparas.