NEWBERRY — Eighth Circuit Solicitor David M. Stumbo announced Tuesday morning that the three surviving accomplices to a July 2015 Newberry County home invasion and homicide pleaded guilty on charges related to their respective roles in the planned crime spree.
Keon Kelly, the trigger man in the shooting death of Ronnion Barron of Little Mountain, took his own life following a lengthy standoff with law enforcement in Columbia on Aug. 6, 2015.
The three Columbia men who assisted Kelly in the planned home invasion and robbery at Barron’s Ponderosa Lane residence in Little Mountain, pleaded guilty Monday and were sentenced at the Newberry County Courthouse.
DeCarlos Satterwhite was scheduled to go to trial Monday morning for his role in the crime spree. On the day of trial, Satterwhite elected to plead guilty to accessory after the fact of murder, first degree burglary and two counts of armed robbery.
Tyler Elkins then pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter, first degree burglary, possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime, armed robbery and two counts of attempted murder for his role.
Jermaz Dreher pleaded guilty Monday to armed robbery and accessory after the fact to murder for his participation in the incident.
All of the defendants appeared to be affiliated with gang activity in the Midlands area.
Circuit Judge Casey Manning accepted the guilty pleas of all three men and handed down sentences on all three men Monday after the plea proceedings.
Manning sentenced Elkins to 25 years in prison, Satterwhite to 15 years in prison and Dreher to 10 years in prison.
On July 29, 2015, the four men went to Barron’s Ponderosa Lane home with the intent of robbing it after Dreher told the other three it would be a good house to rob due to large amounts of money and drugs being present.
Kelly knocked on the door and, when Barron looked out the window to see who was at the door, Kelly shot Barron in the head, killing him instantly.
Two other men pulled up to the house and saw the strange car parked in the yard. The four men attempted to rob the other two men and fired shots at their vehicle as they sped away from the scene.
Investigators with the Newberry County Sheriff”s Office were able to locate Dreher and Elkins just days after the crime.
On Aug. 6, 2015, investigators located Kelly, but Kelly took his own life following a lengthy standoff with law enforcement.
Phone calls and text messages on Kelly’s phone immediately before and after the time of Barron’s murder led investigators to Satterwhite.
Deputy Solicitor Dale Scott and Assistant Solicitor Taylor Daniel handled the prosecution for the state.
Stumbo praised the work of his staff as well as the work of the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office, particularly Sgt. Matthew Womack.
“It’s always heartbreaking when lives are taken so senselessly for a little bit of money and some drugs,” Stumbo said following the sentencing. “Hopefully, these long-term prison sentences will give Ronnion’s family some measure of closure. I also hope it sends a clear message to those who would commit these violent acts that my office will work tirelessly with law enforcement to ensure justice is done in each and every case.”