Just more than a year after a shooting in Dale that killed a kindergarten teaching assistant and her 4-year-old son, the man accused of the crimes will stand before a judge next week.
Ernest Stewart Daise -- charged with killing his 34-year-old girlfriend Jeanine Mullen and her son Waltfredo-Davis Mullen at their home on Player Road on Nov. 15, 2009 -- faces a hearing at 10 a.m. Monday at the Beaufort County Courthouse, according to a news release from the 14th Circuit Solicitor's Office.
Daise also is accused of shooting his 2-year-old son, who was also Mullen's child, during the incident. Though injured, the boy survived. Mullen was a single mother of four and worked at Shanklin Elementary School.
Daise, 28, faces two counts of murder and assault and battery with intent to kill.
"I have to be very tight-lipped about this case," said Solicitor Duffie Stone, who will argue for the prosecution at Monday's hearing. "We've been continually preparing for this, and we've put a lot of work into it."
Daise also is charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. He has been denied bond and remains in the Beaufort County Detention Center, according to the jail log.
Stone said he and his office's victims advocate planned to meet Friday with Mullen's parents, Frank and Roberta Mullen, to prepare for Monday's proceedings. The couple are caring for Mullen's three surviving children.
On the day of the shooting, officers were called to Player Road at about 7 p.m. to reports of three gunshot victims.
The victims were found by Mullen's father and her two other sons when they returned from an afternoon out.
Mullen and Waltfredo were pronounced dead at the scene. Her 2-year-old son who was shot was taken to the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, where he was treated and released.
Officers searched Daise's residence after the shooting and found drugs. He was arrested the day after the shooting and charged with trafficking crack cocaine and marijuana.
Daise's criminal record, which dates to 1998, includes multiple drug charges, resisting arrest and other charges. He has been arrested nine times in Beaufort County, according to the jail log.
He also was sentenced to six years in prison on a 2001 aggravated-assault charge and had a pending domestic-violence charge from January 2009 at the time of the shooting, according to the jail log and court records.
Mullen was described by friends after the shooting as a warmhearted friend and loving mother.