The death sentence of a killer who wanted to be a Mafia hit man has been upheld by the S.C. Supreme Court for two 2002 murders he committed in Richland County.
The sentence for Quincy Jovan Allen, 30, was "proper" and supported by ample aggravating circumstances that made him eligible for the death penalty, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously Monday.
The court's seven-page decision contained the details of Allen's grisly death odyssey over two months in 2002, in which he also killed two men in North Carolina.
That year, Allen shot and killed Dale Hale with a shotgun near I-77 in Columbia. He then doused her body with gasoline and set it on fire.
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A month after that killing, Allen - again using a shotgun -shot and killed Jedediah Harr, a bystander in an argument Allen had with others outside the Texas Roadhouse Grill on Two Notch Road.
"Allen gave statements to police outlining the details of his crimes," the Supreme Court noted.
"He told police he began killing people because an inmate in federal prison, where Allen spent time for stealing a vehicle, had told him he could get him a job as a Mafia hit man."
Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott, whose department investigated the case, said "Allen is a cold-blooded killer, and he deserves to die.
"I'm glad the Supreme Court upheld the decision."
Before starting his death spree, Allen used a homeless man, James White, 51 - who was sitting on a bench in Finlay Park in downtown Columbia - for target practice.
Allen shot him twice to learn how to use his shotgun, the high court noted.
When sentenced in 2007, Allen, of Columbia, became the first person in Richland County in 10 years to receive the death penalty. In five other death penalty trials, from 1997 to 2000, defendants received life sentences. Richland County juries are known for handing down life sentences instead of death penalties.
But Allen's case was unusual in that a judge, not a jury, imposed the sentence.
Allen had pleaded guilty before Judge G. Gordon Cooper, and Cooper then heard testimony about whether Allen should get the death penalty or life.
Allen's lawyers contended the killer suffered from schizophrenia during his crime spree - but prosecutors said claims of mental illness were exaggerated.
Allen's lawyers also said he had suffered a horrendous childhood, shuffled among relatives. His mother once stuffed him in a trash can.
Allen also has pleaded guilty and been sentenced to death for killing the two North Carolina men in 2002.
Allen is on Death Row in the S.C. Department of Corrections.