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Man convicted of killing 2 people during West Columbia robbery sentenced to life in prison

Published: Jun. 29, 2021 at 5:57 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 29, 2021 at 6:10 PM EDT
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WEST COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - A man convicted of shooting two people in the head during a robbery, killing them, will never be released from prison, a Lexington County jury decided.

Damien Ritter, 28, of Estill, was recently convicted of killing two people in West Columbia back in July 2018.

His victims were his own cousin, 26-year-old Samir Atkins, as well as his cousin’s friend, 41-year-old Elzie Mack.

A jury convicted Ritter of killing 26-year-old Samir Atkins (left) and 41-year-old Elzie Mack...
A jury convicted Ritter of killing 26-year-old Samir Atkins (left) and 41-year-old Elzie Mack (right).(11th Circuit Solicitor's Office)

The shooting happened at Atkin’s apartment on Glenn Street in West Columbia.

A third victim was shot, but survived and was able to testify against Ritter at his trial, which began June 21, 2021.

During sentencing Monday, both victims’ families asked the court to deliver the maximum sentence. Atkins left behind a daughter and Mack left behind a wife and son, prosecutors said.

It only took a jury 45 minutes to sentence Ritter to two life sentences, as well as 30 years for attempted murder and kidnapping charges and another 10 years for armed robbery.

Ritter will not be eligible for parole.

“Both of these men were executed with single gunshot wounds to the back of the head,” Solicitor Rick Hubbard said. “The case was extremely hard-fought that took a great amount of team work. I am grateful for the hard work on the part of the prosecution team and law enforcement in bringing closure and justice to the victims’ families.”

Assistant Solicitor Sutania A. Fuller added this “was one of the most horrific crime scenes in recent years. Although this sentence will not bring Samir and Elzie back, I am grateful that the families now have the closure and the justice that they deserve.”

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