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Two teens charged with murder in death of AC Flora student

The sheriff said the suspects and the victim were engaged in illegal activity.
Updated: Jun. 2, 2021 at 9:52 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Two 17-year-old males have been arrested and charged with murder in the shooting death of an 18-year-old AC Flora High School student.

The two teens -- D’Mari Flannigan and Javienn Coates -- will face charges as adults.

John Carlisle Kelly, of Columbia, was found shot to death Thursday, May 27 in the 1000 block of Frasier Street, just off Bluff Road.

Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said the sad part is the suspects have no remorse.

“They’re sorry they got caught,” the sheriff said. “They don’t care they shot and killed somebody. They don’t and that’s the sad part. There is no remorse for what they’ve done, they’re just sad they got caught.”

Lott said Kelly and the two suspects met to do “something illegal” on Walcott Street. He would not specify what they were doing.

Flannigan and Coates opened fire on Kelly’s car, shooting him several times, the sheriff said.

Once Kelly had been shot to death, Lott said the suspects got in Kelly’s car and sat on top of his body to drive the car about a mile to Frasier Street.

“They crawled in the car and sat on top of him to drive (the car) somewhere else -- that’s cold. That’s cold,” Lott said.

The suspects left a cell phone behind in the vehicle, helping law enforcement make the arrests.

“These young people think they’re gangsters and do something stupid like leaving their phones in the cars,” Lott said. “Now I have two 17-year-olds charged as adults. I just stand up here and say -- why?!”

Flannigan was arrested two days after the shooting. Coates was arrested a few days later on June 1.

The suspects were students at Dreher High School -- though one had been suspended, Lott said. One of the teens had previously attended AC Flora.

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