COLUMBIA — A Richland County judge sentenced a man to 50 years in prison Friday for the 2012 shooting death of a bouncer at a St. Andrews club.
James Kevin Bethel Jr. was found guilty of murder and attempted murder by a jury following a week of testimony and more than three hours of deliberation. Judge Deidre Jefferson then sentenced Bethel to 50 years for the murder of Gewayne Franklin, 25, who was a bouncer at Mr. Lucky’s. Franklin was shot in the back of the head at point-blank range in the parking lot.
In a concurrent sentence, Bethel was sentenced to 30 years for the attempted murder conviction in the shooting of Kedron Hope, who was also providing security for the club.
“A verdict like this sends a clear message,” says Fifth Circuit Solicitor Dan Johnson in a news release. “These types of violent, senseless acts will not be tolerated in our community, and I am pleased with the verdict in this case.”
The shooting at the Seminole Road club stemmed from an argument between Franklin and Bethel. The fight started inside, but the two later moved to the nightclub’s parking lot. It was then that Franklin was shot. A second guard told deputies the suspect shot at him, and he returned fire as the man ran away. When deputies arrived on scene about 3:35 a.m., the suspect was gone.
Bethel had several gunshot wounds to his upper body when he was found, deputies said at the time.