ST. GEORGE — Prosecutors filed for the death penalty Wednesday against accused triple murderer Anthony Sanders in the shootings of a mother and two of her children at a Dorchester Road apartment complex.
Officials have declined to speculate on a motive behind the slayings. But the death penalty notice contends aggravating circumstances in the homicides because they were committed during an act of criminal sexual conduct and a burglary. A finding of aggravating circumstances is necessary to seek the death penalty.
Sanders, who entered the Dorchester County Courthouse wearing orange-and-white-striped jail scrubs, said little during the two-minute hearing in front of Circuit Judge Paul Burch. He waved and smiled at a woman in the seating area before he was taken away. The case is the third death penalty prosecution pending in Dorchester County, officials said.
Sanders is accused of shooting Diane R. Grant, 44; her younger son, Jatavious DeVore, 20; and her daughter, DeAnna DeVore, 14, at the Archdale Forest Apartments on July 10, 2007.
Sanders was arrested after authorities matched shell casings found at other shooting sites to him.
It is not clear what Sanders' relationship to the three victims was, and 1st Circuit Solicitor David Pascoe declined to disclose many details on the case. He did say that one reason for the time span in filing the death penalty notice was that two lab tests involving Sanders' DNA were conducted, one more specialized than the other.
When the homicides were discovered, authorities said Grant and her son had been shot once each. They were found inside the family's apartment. The daughter had been shot multiple times and was partially clothed. Her body was found outside, behind another building. Two young children asleep upstairs in the apartment were not harmed.
Sanders has convictions for possessing crack cocaine, driving under the influence and simple assault, State Law Enforcement Division records show. Before his arrest, he had lived in Forest Hills, down Dorchester Road from Archdale.
No timetable has been set for his trial.
Other Dorchester County death penalty prosecutions on notice include the case of Delronezy Washington, who was served last year when he was 18. He is accused of baiting pizza deliveryman Wilson James with an order and killing him during an armed robbery attempt. Also on the docket is the case of Kenneth Henry Justus, 41, who is accused of fatally stabbing fellow inmate Justin Bregenzer, 22, in Lieber Correctional Institution in Ridgeville.
Reach Schuyler Kropf at 937-5551 or firstname.lastname@example.org.