Crime & Courts

Father sentenced after argument with his son over a grill turns deadly

A man was sentenced to 30 years in prison for a crime a prosecutor called “a senseless killing that has torn a family apart.”

A Lexington County jury convicted Heirberone Heava Foster, 58, late Thursday for the murder of his son, according to the Eleventh Circuit Solicitor’s Office. The jury also convicted him of possession of a weapon during a violent crime.

The shooting happened May 10, 2016, at a home on Oak Glenn Drive in Gaston. Foster shot his son, Heirbrane Will Foster, 24, in the driveway after an argument over a barbeque grill, the solicitor’s office said.

At the trial, witnesses testified that after the argument Foster went inside the house for several minutes. When he came out he was holding a pump action shotgun. He went up to his son, aimed the gun at him and shot him in the chest, prosecutors said. Lexington County Sheriff’s Department deputies arrested Foster near his home shortly after the shooting.

The younger Foster was out on bond following a police chase and arrest in alleged cocaine possession and illegal prescription drug selling when he was shot.

The month before his death, the 24-year-old Foster was the passenger in a pick-up truck that sped away from an officer trying to pull the vehicle over. Police deployed spike strips to stop the pick-up, and Foster was arrested after the tires flattened. The driver ran away but was stopped “after a homeowner held him at gunpoint until law enforcement arrived,” the police said.

Foster’s drug charges were dropped after his death.

The elder Foster was previously convicted of multiple charges of domestic violence, assault and battery, disorderly and other crimes, according to court records and the solicitor’s office. In 2012, Judge Ralph Ferrel Cothran Jr. suspended an eight-year sentence for a domestic violence conviction, giving Foster three years probation, according to court records. He was off probation about a year when he shot his son. He has a pending domestic violence charge that’s awaiting court proceedings, records show.

Lexington County Sheriff’s Department investigator Brandon Miller led the investigation into the younger Foster’s death. South Carolina Law Enforcement Division assisted in the case.

Judge William P. Keesley sentenced Foster to 30 years for killing his son.

David Travis Bland won the South Carolina Press Association’s 2017 Judson Chapman Award for community journalism. As The State’s crime, police and public safety reporter, he strives to inform communities about crimes that affect them and give deeper insight into victims, the accused and law enforcement. He studied history with a focus on the American South at the University of South Carolina.