Beaufort News

Man sentenced to life for Semper Fi Club shooting

A 24-year-old Yemassee man was convicted Friday of murder and assault with intent to kill in a 2009 fatal shooting at a Burton nightclub.

Sent home Thursday night after four hours of deliberations, a Beaufort County jury needed another 2 1/2 hours of discussion Friday to find Jaquawn Brewer guilty.

Brewer was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of 44-year-old Henry Jones of Seabrook during a shooting at the Semper Fi Club in May 2009.

The jury also found Brewer guilty of assault and battery with intent to kill for injuring a 21-year-old man who was shot in the calf, and of a weapons charge. Circuit Court Judge William H. Seals sentenced him to 25 years for those convictions.

Brewer sat expressionless beside his attorney, Jared Newman of Beaufort, as the verdict was read.

After dismissing the jury, Seals conducted a brief sentencing hearing, during which Newman pleaded for leniency.

"This is more a matter of reckless conduct than intentional conduct," Newman said. "I don't think he meant to kill Mr. Jones. No matter what happens, this is a tragic case. The jury clearly struggled with this case, and they did what they thought was right. In 21 years, I've never argued with a jury's verdict. It's not my place."

Investigators and witnesses testified this week that Brewer began shooting after someone at the nightclub saw the gun tucked into his waistband and asked him to take the weapon outside.

One of the bullets struck Jones in the left temple. He died two days later at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston.

Brewer declined to speak during the hearing.

Jones' relatives also opted not to address the court, instead choosing to speak through Assistant Solicitor Meredith Bannon, who prosecuted the case with her husband, Jim.

"This is a sad case," Meredith Bannon said. "There are no winners."

Follow reporter Patrick Donohue at twitter.com/ProtectServeBft.

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