Staff, news reports
Five men have been arrested and charged with the March death of a University of South Carolina Upstate student, Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright announced at a news conference Friday afternoon.
Evan Jeffery Gaines, 22, was shot at Campus Edge Apartments at 1000 Pinegate Drive, a complex across the street from USC Upstate on March 26. He was transported to Spartanburg Regional Medical Center, where he reportedly died.
Wright said the five men charged after an eight-month investigation were all from Columbia.
The men charged are (from left to right):
• Darryl Wayne Cooley, 23, murder/armed robbery
• Rodriguez Kentavious Marshall, 20, murder/armed robbery
• Antonio K. Marshall, 25, murder/armed robbery
• Cainan Keison Gregory Griffin, 21, murder/armed robbery
• Douglas Alexander Wright, Jr., 24, murder, possession of a weapon during a violent crime
The Marshalls are brothers.
All of these individuals have been interviewed, and several have provided confessions to their part of the incident, according to the report.
The crime was described as a robbery that turned into a homicide, Wright said.
“I’m not so sure what the reason was, what the motive is,” Wright said. “We had some things said to us about what Mr. Gaines might have been doing in his room. But whatever he was doing doesn’t give anybody the right to take this young man’s life.”
Gaines was a senior business student who was within two months of graduating. He was awarded his degree posthumously at Upstate’s May graduation ceremonies.
The media release reported the sheriff’s office reporting Cooley was charged with accessory after the fact in July and was released on bond. A later investigation led to new charges against Cooley, according to the report.
The big break, Wright said, was when cell phone records helped connect the five men. “Good old-fashioned hard work put this case where it is," Wright said. “Instead of letting it go and hoping something would surface they just kept pressing the issues.”
Upstate Police Chief Klay Peterson said: “It’s not going to bring back Evan, but it will bring him justice. It really is a future unfulfilled. He was really close to graduation. Our community has mourned for the last eight months.”
Social media activity from Gaines’s family and friends led to the report that Wright’s arrest on Wednesday was the first connected to the murder.
Chancellor Brendan Kelly sent an email to faculty that read: “Last spring, our university community experienced a tragedy with the death of Evan Gaines, a 22-year-old senior who was majoring in Business Management. Today, we learned that the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office has made several arrests in connection with Evan’s death. The arrests constitute a step toward closure. Please hold Evan’s family and friends in your thoughts as they continue to cope with this tremendous loss.”
The Carolinian has reached out to Gaines’s mother, Ericka Holmes Carter, for comment and she did not respond when this reported.