Circuit Judge Thomas Russo told the suspect in the killing of a Dutch Fork High student that going to a party was “a bad decision” but delayed an attempt to put the teen in jail for violating restrictions of his conduct.
There may have been “misunderstandings” on what is allowed while Kierin Dennis is free on bond awaiting trial in the stabbing death of Da’Von Capers earlier this year, Russo said.
But the judge warned Dennis that further violations of the $100,000 bond set July 17 would allow immediate arrest, reminding Dennis that he is permitted to leave his home near Lexington only to go to work, church and his lawyer’s office.
“I don’t want there to be any miscommunications,” Russo said. “Those conditions are in place.”
Dennis, 19, who listened but said little, was given permission to go to court Dec. 17 for an unspecified traffic ticket.
Prosecutors are seeking to revoke bond after Dennis went to Columbia Sound Stage Nov. 28 and was seen there by Capers’ brother, Byron, according to court records.
Capers’ family “acted properly” in notifying authorities instead of confronting Dennis, Russo said.
A decision on revocation is delayed until Dennis’ lawyer, State Rep. Todd Rutherford of Columbia, returns Dec. 19 from what Russo said is a legislative trip to Israel.
There may have been confusion between Rutherford and Dennis on what conduct is allowed, Russo said.
Dennis faces a murder charge in the fatal stabbing on Feb. 17 of Capers, 17, in a parking lot adjacent to CookOut in Lexington. The incident happened after a basketball game between high school rivals Dutch Fork and Lexington.
It’s a killing that shocked the Midlands and drew attention across South Carolina.
Cell phone videos show a boisterous crowd of Dutch Fork students at the restaurant.
Dennis, who was seated in the vehicle, says he feared for his life and should be immune from prosecution, as allowed in self-defense under stand-your-ground standards. Russo has yet to rule on that contention.
Tensions between the two high school teams led to the presence of Taser-equipped law enforcement officers at the game to keep students of both schools separated as they arrived, watched play and left, according to testimony at a Nov. 18 court hearing.