BATESBURG-LEESVILLE, SC (WIS) - Prosecutors say the murder of a McDonald's worker in Batesburg-Leesville earlier this month was part of a plan to rob the restaurant, and that the McDonald's manager was in on the conspiracy.
Police filed additional charges of conspiracy and armed robbery against three people already being held on murder charges in the October 13 shooting and killing of 57-year-old Willie Jennings in the McDonalds parking lot.
Batesburg-Leesville Police Chief Wallace Oswald said 38-year-old Tasha Marie Matthews, 21-year-old Angelo Pierce Tucker and 18-year-old Meon Mikel DeAnglius Miller appeared in front of a judge Thursday afternoon, who again denied bond for the three.
Authorities believe the robbery plan somehow crumbled when they saw Jennings dumping trash at the end of his shift, and that's when investigators believe Jennings was shot. He was rushed to the hospital where he died.
The three suspects were pulled over in Matthews' car shortly after the incident, a short distance away from the scene. During a search of the vehicle, officers found a loaded 9 millimeter Smith and Wesson in the glove box.
Jennings' family sat in court on Thursday. "It just hurts and to think that they took someone's life," said Latoya Baston. "That did not belong to them, it hurts."
"It's sad," said Baston. "Not only did my uncle lose his life, they also lost their lives whether they care or not."
One suspect didn't appear to care for what was going on in court, at least that's what the judge questioned. "Am I boring you?" asked Judge Morgan. "You're yawning, are you about to fall asleep on me? You are? Anything I can do to get your attention on this?"
"I'm just ready to go," the suspect replied.
"He had the attitude to where 'I did it' or 'I just don't care,'" said Baston. "It just pissed me off."
Officers are also looking for the McDonald's manager, Roderquiz Cooke, who was living with Matthews and is believed to have known about the plan to rob the restaurant. "Ask him to turn himself in," said Baston. "It helps us heal, and he's helping himself out."
If you know where Cooke is, call Crimestoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC.