A couple planning to pick up a friend at his Mount Pleasant apartment instead found him hog-tied, while three intruders ransacked his home.
When the couple stumbled upon the scene that day in 2010, Adrian Beaton shot the man in the leg and in the chest. As the man's wife turned to run, Beaton shot her in the chest, too.
Leticia Herrara survived her injuries, but her husband, Oscar Girdon, died from his wounds.
Beaton, a 22-year-old North Charleston man, pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of murder, kidnapping, first-degree burglary and assault and battery with intent to kill in the 2010 home invasion attack at Marsh Oaks Apartments. A judge sentenced him to 35 years.
Beaton came in through Jose Contrerras' window, while Contrerras slept in his bedroom that March day. Beaton opened the front door for his two accomplices, and the men demanded drugs and money, according to prosecutors.
The men bound Contrerras' hands and feet with phone cords and forced him to lie face-down on his bed while they ransacked his home. They shocked him with a Taser, and Beaton hit him with a pistol, prosecutors said.
Beaton also put a gun to the back of Contrerras' neck and threatened him, as the two other men searched the apartment, authorities said.
Contrerras' friends, Girdon and Herrara, came to the apartment to pick him up. When Girdon stepped inside, he saw the mess and rushed toward Contrerras' bedroom. But Beaton began shooting before Girdon could reach his friend, officials said. The three men fled in a silver Dodge Magnum after the shooting, while officials put nearby schools on lockdown.
Mount Pleasant police arrested Beaton the next month through crime-scene analysis and a DNA match.
Court records said investigators with the State Law Enforcement Division processed the cords used to bind Contrerras and produced a DNA profile. All S.C. prisoners must submit DNA samples, and state investigators matched the profile with Beaton's DNA on file for previous burglary convictions.
Police later arrested two other North Charleston men, 28-year-old James Gerald Pinckney Jr. and 33-year-old Terrell Rhodes Montgomery, in connection with the attack. Their cases remain open.
Reach Allyson Bird at 937-5594 or on Twitter at @allysonjbird.