South Carolina

Rock Hill man charged in high school student’s death was arrested in court, police say

A judge denied bond Tuesday to the man charged in the killing of a South Pointe High School rising senior in a tense courtroom packed with police and families of the deceased and accused.

The accused man, Demetric Leon Houze, was in Rock Hill Municipal Court Monday morning on an unrelated matter when he was arrested and later charged with murder.

Houze, 25, is charged with murder and possession of a weapon during a violent crime in the Sunday night shooting death of 17-year-old Quantavious “Quan” Torbit.

The shooting happened around 6:15 p.m. Sunday.

At around 10:15 a.m. Monday, Houze was found by Rock Hill Police Department Officer Chris Price in the courtroom at the Rock Hill Law Center, in the same building as the police department, a police report says. Price is one of the officers assigned to courtroom duty.

Houze was served a warrant charging him with Torbit’s murder in the city jail, the report states.

While being booked, Houze said “Is this about what happened last night?” to an officer, and then added “Is this because I was just running with them guys?” the police report states.

Houze also had marijuana in a cigarette carton that was in his pocket, the report states.

Capt. Brent Allmon, supervisor of the detective bureau of the Rock Hill Police Department, confirmed that police had been looking for Houze Monday when officers found him in the courtroom on an unrelated charge.

Torbit, a South Pointe basketball player who was attending summer school, was shot and killed after a fight between two girls that began on Facebook.

Dozens of people met at a Rock Hill park for the fight between the girls that escalated into gunfire, police said.

Houze said little Tuesday in his first court appearance since being charged Monday with killing Torbit. Houze said in court he is on five years’ probation for a 2015 felony assault conviction. He also has convictions for drugs and weapons, court records show.

“I want a bond so I can get out and work, and get an attorney -- for my family’s sake,” Houze said in court.

Typically, only a circuit court judge can set bond for offenses, such as murder, that carry 30 years or more in prison if convicted.

However, Rock Hill Municipal Court Judge Peter Lenzi officially denied bond to Houze, saying he has concerns about Houze showing up for court and “the safety of the community” after the public shooting.

Lenzi said he has to take the “seriousness of the charge” of murder into account and the potential someone charged with such a crime “could run.”

Two members of Houze’s family were in court, but did not speak. They sat directly across the courtroom from Torbit’s grieving family, with Houze in between. Officers were stationed between all sides and ringed the courtroom.

Houze looked briefly at members of Torbit’s family in court, but did not speak to them.

Sitting among the victim’s family was the second person charged in the incident, Timothy M. Holley, 20. Holley was released on bond Monday, after being charged by Rock Hill police with discharging a firearm inside the city limits and unlawful carrying of a weapon for an alleged role in the incident.

Torbit and Holley are brothers, his family said after court.

Torbit’s family declined to comment after court. However, one person with Torbit’s family expressed outrage in court at Houze asking the judge for bond.

A woman, 20, whose name has not been released, was hit by a stray bullet during the incident, police said. A bullet also went through a neighbor’s home about 6:15 p.m. Sunday near a city park a block from a police substation.

The case remains under investigation, Allmon said after court.

A second shooting in Rock Hill later Sunday left one man critically wounded. Police said the incidents are not connected.

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