On her last night as a stripper, 27-year-old Renisha Grainger danced for a 62-year-old Columbia estate atttorney who asked her how much he could pay to get her to come home with him.
H. Dewain Herring is charged with murder in the death of strip club manager John H. Johnson Jr. in January 2006.
For the better part of an hour today, Grainger matched wits and stares with Herring’s quick-witted attorney, former state Democratic Chairman Dick Harpootlian.
Harpootlian accused the dancer of trying to steal from Herring by arranging for him be thrown out of the club before she gave him a more expensive, private lap dance in a back room that he had already paid for.
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“I feel like if I had not gone out there and spoke to that man, then none of this would have happened,” she said.
“What if you had not tried to rip him off?” Harpootlian responded.
“What if he had stayed home?” Grainger answered, without hesitation, eliciting several chuckles from the crowd.
Grainger, her head down and shoulders slumped, appeared shy and was told several times to speak up when she was first questioned by Deputy 5th Circuit Solicitor John Meadors.
But she sat up in her chair more than once when Harpootlian started firing questions at her, even once telling her that she didn’t earn her money from Herrring that night because she didn’t dance for him in the back room.
“Your client was naked,” she said, repeating other witnesses’ assertions that Herring was why he was asked to leave because he took off his clothes.
Judge G. Thomas Cooper ordered journalists not to take photos of Grainger’s face during her testimony. Journalists protested, but S.C. judges have a wide latitude when it comes to cameras in courtrooms.