Man gets 30 years in strangling

Oran Lamar Smith

A Charleston County jury found Oran Lamar Smith, 33, guilty of murder in connection with the strangling death of Cheryl Lynn Snow in a North Charleston apartment complex two years ago.

Circuit Court Judge R. Markley Dennis sentenced Smith to 30 years in prison.

Assistant 9th Circuit Solicitor Greg Voigt told the jury that on June 3, 2007, Smith used the victim's pajama pants to strangle her to death.

North Charleston police found Snow, 54, dead in her Charleston Farms apartment after neighbors found her door open. Her pajama pants were wrapped around her neck, and Smith's fingerprint and DNA were found at the scene.

Smith, a Moncks Corner man who was friends with Snow, went to trial for murder in June, but that ended in a mistrial after the jury failed to reach a verdict after eight hours. Voigt said the mistrial was caused because one of the 12 jurors refused to believe a police detective.

Smith told investigators that he used his hands to strangle Snow until she passed out and then just snapped and choked her to death with the pajamas for fear she would report the initial assault to police.

"North Charleston detectives were skillful interrogators and did not stop until they got the truth," Voigt said.

Defense attorney Donna Taylor did not return a message left Thursday.

Smith's criminal record includes convictions for possessing cocaine in 2005 and carrying a concealed weapon in 1997.