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‘He always kept you laughing.’ Friends remember York homicide victim as search for murder suspect continues

Updated: May. 21, 2021 at 6:37 PM EDT
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YORK, S.C. (WBTV) - Chester County Sheriff’s deputies and other law enforcement agencies are still searching for 26-year-old Tyler Terry.

Terry is accused in several murders and attempted murders that happened during the month of May, stretching from South Carolina to St. Louis.

WBTV is learning more about one of the homicide victims Terry is accused of killing. Thomas Hardin, 35, was found dead inside his York, S.C. home on May 2. York Police Chief Andy Robinson and two of Hardin’s friends say Hardin identified as a woman. However, his friends say he still went by the name of Thomas and did not have a preferred pronoun.

“He would say he or she. Thomas didn’t care. When I’m talking to him, sometimes I’m saying he, sometimes I’m saying she. He did not care,” Hardin’s friend, Chimere Hicks, explained.

York Police officers responded to Hardin’s home on Lowry Row at about 8:40 p.m. Hicks called police when she and his family had not heard from him.

“It wasn’t normal,” Hicks said.

Hicks said his car was parked outside the house, but the door he always used was locked. She said she felt like something was not right so she called police.

“We knew something was wrong then and we [she and Hardin’s cousin] both started crying,” Hicks said. “I think the police made a comment like ‘oh my gosh’ when he went in. And we knew then.”

According to the York Police report, Hardin was found motionless on the floor between the couch and the door. The York County Coroner has not released a cause of death, but Hicks and Hardin’s neighbor, Fred McGowen, tell WBTV that Hardin was shot.

York Police accuse Tyler Terry of killing Thomas Hardin at his home in York, SC on May 2.
York Police accuse Tyler Terry of killing Thomas Hardin at his home in York, SC on May 2.(Chimere HIcks)

York Police Chief Andy Robinson said Tyler Terry was a person of interest in the Hardin homicide early in their investigation. Now, police have taken out two warrants for his arrest. One accuses Terry of murder and the other accuses him of being in possession of a weapon during a violent crime.

Hicks says Hardin and Terry were at one point romantically involved but their relationship recently deteriorated.

“He had put Tyler out of his house months ago. He was giving him a place to stay because he didn’t have anywhere to live. And it just wasn’t working out and so he put him out. He [Terry] would always send him [Hardin] threatening messages, calling him names, just doing a lot of things to him,” Hicks said. “I just kept telling Thomas it’s not safe. You know you come home at night. But he always said no I’m not scared of him.”

One of Hardin’s neighbors, Fred McGowen, also said Hardin and Terry lived together briefly which led to their falling out.

“He did put Tyler Terry out at one time. Thomas put him out,” McGowen said.

Adrienne Simpson
Adrienne Simpson(Chester County Detention Center | Chester County Detention Center)

York Police accused Adrienne Simpson of driving the getaway car the night Thomas Hardin was killed. York Police took out a warrant for accessory after the fact of murder on Simpson. Simpson was arrested in Chester on Monday, May 17 when deputies say she and Terry led officers on a chase. Terry is also accused of firing shots at officers that night. Simpson was arrested, Terry got away and has not yet been found.

Hicks says she did not know Simpson but did say there was tension between Simpson and Hardin over their relationships with Terry. She described one incident that happened between Simpson and Hardin before Hardin was killed.

“Thomas had a screaming match with her. He said ‘you don’t come to my house.’ She wasn’t parked at his house, but she was down the road,” Hicks said.

York Police were called to Hardin’s house at about 8:40 p.m. on May 2. At about 10:45 p.m. on May 2, Chester Police responded to a home on Ehrlich Street. Police accuse Tyler Terry of firing at two people inside the house. Police say one person was hit and airlifted to the hospital. At about 11:20 p.m. on May 2, Chester Police responded to J.A. Cochran Bypass for another shooting.

Police accuse Tyler Terry of shooting someone at Taco Bell. The victim was airlifted to a local hospital. Police say Simpson has been linked to the two shootings in Chester as well.

Chester County Sheriff’s deputies say Adrienne Simpsons’ husband Eugene Simpson went missing on May 2. Simpson’s body was found on Wednesday, May 19.

Friday evening, Chester County Sheriff’s deputies accused Adrienne Simpson and Tyler Terry of murdering Eugene Simpson.

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