Crime & Courts

Deadly SC shooting was self defense, he testified. A jury still convicted him of murder

Xzariera Gray
Xzariera Gray Eighth Circuit Solicitor's Office

A South Carolina man who claimed he fatally shot another man in self defense in 2017 was found guilty of murder and sentenced to prison, according to court officials.

Xzariera Okevis Gray, 30, was charged with murder and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime in the August 26, 2017, shooting death of 46-year-old Demetrius “Meatball” Fuller, according to a release from the Eighth Circuit Solicitor’s Office. A Greenwood County jury found Gray guilty on both charges last week, and Circuit Court Judge Frank Addy Jr. sentenced him Tuesday to 35 years in prison for the murder charge and five years for the weapon charge, with the sentences running consecutively.

He faced up to life in prison.

Gray and Fuller were arguing in the early hours of Aug. 26, 2017, when Gray pulled out a gun and shot Fuller once, prosecutors said, according to the release. Greenwood police officers in the area heard the gunshot and began canvassing the area, locating Fuller’s body on Tanyard Avenue.

Gray was arrested in Columbia a few days later, according to the release.

The case had evidence that included eyewitness accounts and surveillance footage from a nearby home that showed Gray shooting Fuller, according to prosecutors. Gray testified that he shot Fuller in self defense; however, the jury still found him guilty.

There is a difference between the evidence needed to make an arrest and the evidence needed for prosecutors to get a conviction. Jimmy Richardson, Horry County solicitor, explains the difference between the two.

Teddy Kulmala covers breaking news for The State and covered crime and courts for seven years in Columbia, Rock Hill, Aiken and Lumberton, N.C. He graduated from Clemson University and grew up in Barnwell County.