Solicitor running cases, first marathon in D.C.

rlurye@islandpacket.comOctober 26, 2013 

marathon

14th Circuit Solicitor Duffie Stone runs in the Hilton Head Island half marathon earlier this year.

PBC SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY, LLC — Submitted

Duffie Stone wasn't following runners' tradition when he tapered off training leading up to his first marathon.

The 14th Circuit Solicitor just didn't have much of a choice.

He had a capital murder case to prosecute.

Two weeks before Stone would run the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C., his thoughts were not on mileage, pacing or the course that winds past some of the nation's most recognizable monuments.

They were on what took place inside a home tucked into the marshy woods of Beaufort County in 2009.

It was inside that Dale house that a man found his daughter and grandsons shot in the head Nov. 15, 2009. Since the murder trial of 31-year-old Earnest Daise began Oct. 14, Stone and his team worked to prove the Beaufort man murdered his ex-girlfriend, Jeanine Mullen, and her four-year-old son Waltfredo Davis-Mullen. Daise was found guilty of the murders and assault and battery with intent to kill in the shooting of his son, 2-year-old Jeremiah Daise, who survived the attack. He was also convicted of trafficking crack cocaine, and possession with intent to distribute marijuana.

He was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday.

Stone, dressed in uncharacteristic weathered blue jeans and running shoes, spent that day clearing his Bluffton office of boxes of paperwork -- months of materials that accumulated during the trial. Though it was time to turn his attention to race day, the 50 year old said it felt like he had just run a marathon.

During the trial, he and his team worked upwards of 15 hours a day on preparations, courtroom proceedings and lining up the next day's witnesses and evidence, victim advocate Michelle Frasier said.

"I don't know where he found the time to run, honestly," she said. "That's pure dedication."

Stone knows how to fit runs into his schedule.

He's been training for the race since he took part in the Hilton Head Island Half Marathon in February and has used running for years to gain new perspective on cases. Rather than listen to music, Stone spends the time analyzing arguments and problems.

"I'll come back and write down different approaches to issues," he said. "And this last trial, it was very complex, very difficult. There were a lot of issues we had to work through."

Today, his focus will be on simply finishing. Despite months of conditioning up and down Buckwalter Parkway in the muggy heat, 26.2 miles is still a daunting distance, Stone said.

He's not only running for himself but for Beaufort County's Marine community and the three servicemembers who work in his office. As of Wednesday, Stone had raised nearly $1,000 for the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation, which provides need-based scholarships to military children.

Running alongside Marines, some of whom have been injured in combat, should also provide some extra motivation, Stone said. "You can't watch that and think, 'I'm gonna get tired," he said.

There's no chance he'll miss the start of the race.

The Marine Corps Marathon doesn't have a starting gun.

"We've got starting howitzers," he said.

Follow reporter Rebecca Lurye on Twitter at twitter.com/IPBG_Rebecca.

Related content:

Earnest Daise found guilty in Dale double-murder trial. October 17, 2013 Jury spares Daise's life for 2009 double-murder. October 23, 2013

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