Victim’s aunt forgives her nephew’s killer in court

Woman forgives man convicted of killing nephew

YORK COUNTY, SC (WBTV) - A 27-year-old man pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter for the shooting death of Darryl Stewart in April of 2017 in Rock Hill.

Brandon McMoore was originally charged with murder and possession of a weapon in commission of a violent crime. He took a plea deal that reduced the murder charge to voluntary manslaughter. The possession of a weapon offense was dropped.

Judge William McKinnon accepted the attorneys’ negotiated sentence of 17 years in prison.

According to Assistant Solicitor Aaron Hayes, police officers from Rock Hill responded to a home on the 800 block of Carolina Avenue at about 11:30 p.m. on April 12, 2017.

Hayes says the victim, Darryl Stewart, was found in the back bedroom with several gunshot wounds. An autopsy later found he was shot six times: two gunshot wounds in the front of the chest, two gunshot wounds in the back, one gunshot wound in the right hand, and one gunshot wound in the upper right arm.

According to Hayes, witnesses told investigators that McMoore was at Stewart’s home that night. The two had reportedly gotten into an argument because Stewart was mad that McMoore was playing with a gun in his house. Some witnesses said the fight became physical as Stewart punched McMoore and grabbed a knife. Witnesses told investigators that Stewart later put the knife down but continued yelling at McMoore.

“Stewart mentioned that he had a gun and ran to his bedroom, but Mr. Stewart returned empty-handed and that’s when Mr. McMoore started shooting,” Hayes said in court.

Defense attorney Randolph Hough told WBTV the prosecution and the defense had problems with the case which is why his client did not admit guilt, but instead took an Alford plea.

“He does have a second chance at life and it’s important that that opportunity is provided by Mrs. Burns,” Hough said.

Esther Burns is Stewart’s Aunt. She told WBTV she took care of Stewart when his mother died. She told the courtroom she forgives McMoore.

“Hopefully the young fella will use the time that he’s here to rethink and come to realize without laws, the world is lawless,” Burns said. “A lot of things still hurt you, but you have to... if you live by God’s law these things won’t happen. You’ll be a better person.”

McMoore’s mother, Tami Gordon, also spoke to the court. She said thank you to Burns for her condolences and forgiveness. She spoke to her son before he was taken to prison.

“But son, you have been given another chance. Do us right. I love you,” Gordon said.

Brandon McMoore also read a written letter to Darryl Stewart’s family expressing his condolences for their loss.

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