West Ashley robbery victim appears as drug suspect in case that gets ‘weirder and weirder’

Joshua LaChance, 22, of Ashley Hall Road was arrested on drug charges Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012, at a bond hearing for Darnell Seagers of North Charleston. Police said LaChance had accused Seagers of robbing him. Seagers was on house arrest awaiting a murder trial. LaChance denied he had ever seen Seagers before at the bond hearing. Magistrate Linda Lombard called for the detectives, who arrested LaChance when they arrived.

Twenty-four hours after Joshua LaChance showed up in a courtroom as the victim of an armed robbery, he appeared for a hearing Thursday as a suspect in connection with the same incident.

LaChance is accused of setting up a drug deal last month in West Ashley with 22-year-old Darnell Seagers, who was supposed to be on house arrest while awaiting trial for murder.

But the rendezvous Aug. 30 went awry, and the police said Seagers hit LaChance with his .380-caliber pistol and stole LaChance’s $200, his cellphone and cigarettes.

LaChance’s version of the incident — that he was jumped as he took out the garbage from his friend’s apartment on Ashley Hall Road — came under suspicion when he appeared before Magistrate Linda Lombard on Wednesday and said Seagers wasn’t the man who robbed him, even though he had picked Seagers out of a photo lineup.

LaChance was led away in handcuffs by Charleston Police Department detectives and accused of conspiracy to violate narcotics laws. Affidavits indicate that LaChance was communicating with Seagers, whom he knew as “Bam,” through text messages that referred to the amount of marijuana he wanted to buy.

Detectives also linked Seagers to the robbery by finding the Kia minivan they said was used as his getaway vehicle. Supplemental incidents reports stated that the minivan belonged to a cousin of Seagers’ who lives down the street from Seagers’ house.

A day after she first looked at LaChance with a suspicious eye, the magistrate set his bail at $25,000, to which LaChance looked to the ceiling of the jail and sighed.

The 22-year-old has an arrest earlier this year on a charge of illegally carrying a handgun.

Seagers, who was arrested earlier this week as he appeared for a probation hearing, remains in jail without a chance to post bail in connection with the robbery.

He is expected to head to trial in November, accused of fatally shooting 20-year-old Travis Antwan Anderson in 2010 in downtown Charleston.

Seagers had been released from jail in May on a $100,000 bail. A judge ordered him to stay on house arrest at his mother’s home on Ranger Drive in North Charleston and said someone should be there to watch him.

Judge Thomas Hughston, reached by telephone this week, said he handles “hundreds of these” and couldn’t recall setting Seagers’ bail terms.

Sheila Seagers, the suspect’s mother, said that her son wasn’t on a satellite monitor and that she works a night shift and isn’t always home to keep an eye on the murder suspect.

“This case keeps getting weirder and weirder,” she said after the bail hearing Thursday for LaChance. “I’ve never seen anything like this.”

Reach Andrew Knapp at 937-5414 or twitter.com/offlede.