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Bond denied for murder suspect Print E-mail

In a bond hearing Thursday afternoon in the Bamberg County Courthouse, Bamberg County chief summary court Judge Craig Threatt denied bond on all charges brought against 21 year-old murder suspect David Ryan Ott of Branchville.

Ott is charged in connection with last weeks’ shooting death of 26-year old Lakquan James of a Columbia address whose body was discovered in Bamberg County just across the Edisto River off Highway 78 on Farrell's Road back in a wooded area. He is a suspect in the death of 30-year old Chance Bennett also of a Columbia address whose body was found in the trunk of a car last week in Orangeburg County.

Ott, escorted by Bamberg County Sheriff Ed. Darnell and two deputies, replied “yes sir” as Judge Threatt read each charge brought against him that included: One count of murder, which Threatt explained under South Carolina law was a capital offense punishable by death or life in prison; kidnapping that resulted in murder which is a capital offense punishable by a life sentence under South Carolina law; assault and battery with intent to kill which is punishable by a sentence of 30 years ; armed robbery that carries a maximum sentence to up to 20 years and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime punishable by five years in prison.

“Have you received a copy of these warrants Threatt asked Ott? Do you understand what the maximum sentence for each of these crimes is?” “Yes sir,” Ott replied in a soft voice. The judge explained that kidnapping and murder that result in death are “non-bondable” offenses.

Judge Threatt informed Ott that his initial appearance in general session’s court would be on March 4, 2010 at 1:30 p.m. and the penalties for not appearing in court when required to. In his only lengthy comment during the hearing, Ott asked the judged “how could I fail to appear in court if I’m not given a bond?” Judge Threatt stated that he was required to explain the law to Ott.

On the charges other than the kidnapping and murder, Judge Threatt asked would the state request a bond be set. Bamberg County Sheriff Ed. Darnell said that no bond would be requested. Bamberg County Victims Advocate Director Pat Williams speaking on behalf of the victims’ families requested that no bond be set. In his final directive Judge Threatt directed that Ott be held in the Bamberg County Detention Center until trial.

David Ryan Ott’s appearance in the Bamberg County Courtroom may have been the results of what Bamberg County Sheriff Ed. Darnell described on Wednesday afternoon as a “robbery /drug deal gone bad” and which started out as a missing persons report.

The Sheriff noted that he received a call on Tuesday afternoon from Orangeburg County Investigators who had a subject in custody that told them where two bodies were located.

The body of 30 year old Chance Bennett of a Columbia address was discovered in the trunk of a car in Orangeburg County. And the remains of 26-year old Lakquan James was discovered just across the river in Bamberg County, off Highway 78, on Farrell's Road back in the woods by Bamberg County Sheriff’s Department officers working with Orangeburg County Sheriff’s office personnel. Sheriff Darnell noted that SLED was then notified.

Both bodies were taken to Newberry for autopsies. Bamberg County Coroner Willard “Billy” Duncan stated Thursday that James died of apparent gunshot wounds but he had not received the final autopsy report.

Sheriff Darnell noted that the Bamberg County Sheriff’s Department and the Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Department “are working together to get to the bottom of this.”

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