Man found guilty, sentenced to 65 years in brutal beating, kidnapping of Clover family

Man found guilty, sentenced to 65 years in brutal beating, kidnapping of Clover family

YORK COUNTY, SC (WBTV) - A man was found guilty Thursday in the brutal beating, kidnapping, and robbery of a Clover family nearly two years ago.

Jarnelle Ervin is one of three people accused in the gruesome case. He appeared before a jury in Judge Hayes' court this week, charged with burglary, four counts of kidnapping, armed robbery, possession of a weapon in the commission of a crime, and criminal conspiracy.

Just before 6 p.m. Thursday, the jury found him guilty on all charges and sentenced to serve 65 years in jail.

In court, Ervin apologized to the family for having to relive the experience. The judge said in his 30 years on the bench, the case was "one of the most heinous crimes he'd ever seen."

During opening statements, Assistant Solicitor Matthew Shelton described the hour and a half-long assault that took place on July 11, 2016. Shelton says three black males, one tall and two shorter, broke into the Parker family's home in the middle of the day.

Throughout the assault, Timothy Parker, Jessica Dawn Parker, Danny Parker and a coworker by the name of Will were tied up and beaten. Shelton says the assailants left with several stolen items including electronics, cellphones, $1,600, and several guns.

"You could not have scripted this in any horror movie. The hour and a half these people were in Parker residence terrorizing them. You could not have scripted it any worse," Lt. Pete Branham of the York County Sheriff's Office said.

Shelton told the jury during opening statements that the victims saw the suspect face-to-face during the assault.

Jessica Dawn Parker testified after opening statements and identified Ervin as one of the three assailants in her home that day.

"Put a lot of time in with the Parker family, they were very traumatized by all of this. So I'm glad to see they got some justice from this whole thing. It's been a really long road for them," Shelton said.

Jarnelle Ervin's Attorney Donovan Stelzner made two key arguments in his closing statements. He first claimed Ervin could not have carried out the robbery because he had sprained his ankle playing basketball early that morning and couldn't walk.

However, the state argued that the sprain was not severe enough, according to medical records, to completely lay him up. The lead prosecutor Matthew Shelton explains that the victim's testimony alleged Ervin stayed off his feet during most of the crime.

"Sitting on the coffee table when he's threatening to kill that young man there... off his feet. He's not turning cartwheels. He's not running wind sprints. Okay his ankle's a little tender, doesn't mean he can't go in this house and terrorize this family. You don't have to run fast when you have a gun," Shelton said.

The defense also argued that Ervin had intended to be at the robbery, but never made it there. Steltzner claimed Ervin cellphone data was pinged to cell towers in the Clover and Gastonia area because he was driving down Highway 321 to try to get to the family's home. However, he says he never made it there.

"A comedy of errors saves him from getting involved in this mess. He failed to commit a robbery. As he said, he wanted to do it. He wanted to commit a robbery. He failed."

The defense pointed out that there was a lack of evidence tying him to the crime scene, as in no fingerprints. However, the victim's identified in court that Ervin was one of the men who tortured them in their home.

One of the co-conspirators in the case, Jermaine Lowery, pleaded guilty to the crimes in March. A judge sentenced him to 30 years in prison.

During Lowery's trial, his mother, grandmother, sister and aunt also testified in court. His family apologized to the Parker family, said they were disappointed with Lowery, but also asked the judge to consider a shorter sentence.

"Lowery showed a level of responsibility by pleading guilty. When you plead guilty, You tend to get more of a consideration in your contrition, but when you go to trial you get more of the book thrown at you as people say," Shelton explained.

WBTV asked Shelton if the third man involved would ever see his day in court, but Shelton declined to comment.

Lowery apologized to the Parker family and his own family as well.

He was sentenced to 30 serve years in prison.

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