LEXINGTON COUNTY, S.C. (WIS) - A Lexington woman and a Columbia man have both been charged and made co-defendants in connection with a home invasion that led to the shooting death of a child earlier this week.
According to the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department, Linda Lyn Monette, 23, who was in the home at the time of the crime, is charged with murder, attempted murder, criminal conspiracy, burglary and armed robbery, according to arrest warrants. Monette was previously charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and obstruction of justice in connection with the incident.
Reynerio Rafael Romero Jr., 24, is charged with being an accessory to murder before the fact and criminal conspiracy, according to warrants.
“Over the course of our investigation, we’ve gathered information indicating Monette actively conspired with Romero to plan and carry out the armed robbery in the 100 block of Cedar Vale Drive,” Lexington County Sheriff Jay Koon said. “The plan was for someone to burglarize the home and take several pounds of marijuana, which was known to be in the residence.”
Mason Hanahan, 8, was in the home and was shot. He later died at the hospital.
Romero and Monette are both being held in the Lexington County Detention Center, according to Koon. Both appeared in court on the new charges on Saturday and their bond was denied. They will both appear in general sessions court on June 27 at 9 a.m.
“Multiple detectives are still hard at work on this case as we seek to identify and locate another co-defendant,” Koon said. “This was not a random act and it will take us some time to sort out who knew and did what.”
As deputies continue to work this investigation, one woman who lives nearby tells us she is happy to see law enforcement doing what they can to make sure the people involved are off the streets.
"It had everyone in the neighborhood a little shook at first,” Shelly Ballington said. “When we first thought it was a random act I was afraid, I live here with my son and his wife and my six year old granddaughter. But as it has come out and it seems like it was drug related, people in the home were involved, it’s made us, I would hate to say it but a little more easy knowing that it wasn’t a random act and we don’t have to be watching our doors at all times.
“Everyone around here, our hearts go out to her [Mason’s mother] and we hope she will be ok through all of this.” Ballington said.
Koon said tipsters can remain anonymous when they share information by calling Crimestoppers at 888-Crime-SC, logging onto www.midlandscrimestoppers.com and clicking on the “Submit a tip” tab, or by downloading the P3 Tips app for their Apple or Android device.
This is a developing story; check back for more updates.