Mother to relive son's murder as suspect gets new trial

Lequint Johnson (Source: Sumter-Lee Detention Center)
Lequint Johnson (Source: Sumter-Lee Detention Center)
Sharod Frazier (Source: SC Detention Center)
Sharod Frazier (Source: SC Detention Center)

By Jody Barr - bio | email

LEE COUNTY, SC (WIS) - A Lee County mother wants answers after the State Supreme Court threw out two murder convictions on one of the men charged with killing her son.

The two murders happened in 2004 outside Bishopville on Highway 154. A jury convicted Sharod Frazier and Lequint Johnson for shooting Tyrone Dinkins and his cousin, Joseph Reames. Investigators said the men were robbed then shot multiple times.

One of the men is out of prison Friday night and back in a Lee County jail cell awaiting a new trial because of an investigator's mistake.

It was November 17, 2004. Lee County investigators found Tyrone Dinkins' body on the ground beside his car. His cousin Joseph Reames' body was found in the passenger seat. Both men were robbed and shot to death. "Oh, I hollered and hollered, and I prayed, and I prayed," said Dinkins. "I walked by that casket that was my baby. That's the last child I had."

Dinkins got the news from her son's girlfriend. "She came and hugged me and said Tyrone got killed this morning, and I just passed out when I heard," she said, "Tyrone got killed this morning."

Two months later, investigators charged Shard Frazier and Le quint Johnson with murder. Both men sat through a week-long trial in lee county in October 2005.

Frazier gave investigators a confession, which named Johnson in the murder. Johnson did not confess to the killings.

Lee County investigator JD Dellinger testified about Frazier's confession. In doing so, Dellinger mistakenly tied Lequint Johnson into the confession, which State Supreme Court Justice Costa Pleicones found violated the court's hearsay rules. The Supreme Court overturned Johnson's two life sentences and ordered a new trial. "I was sitting down watching the news," said Dinkins, "I don't remember what night it was and my child's name came up."

"I'm sitting there looking at these two young men," she said, "They are alive. They took my child way from me, my baby."

"I had to learn over the last six years to learn to forgive because if I don't forgive, I won't be able to go where I need to in my life," said Dinkins.

As for the mistake that earned Lequint Johnson another trial, Dink ins said there should have been a better reason. "It's going to be hard," she said, "We'll relive it again. Probably take us another six years to accept."

Lequint Johnson is back at the Sumter-Lee Detention Center waiting on a trial date.

Dinkins said she went to Prosecutor Paul Fata's office to find out what happened in this case and when a new trial date will be set. Dinkins said she never heard back.

WIS News 10 also went by Mr. Fata's office to get his comments on the overturned convictions, we have not heard back from him.

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