Beaufort News

Police: Arrest awaiting lab results in Hardeeville double homicide

After an investigation of more than four months, authorities say arrest warrants for suspects in the shooting deaths of a Hardeeville man and Bluffton woman are expected.

They simply await the results of final lab tests of evidence.

"We're at the mercy of the lab," Hardeeville Police Lt. Steven Thomas said Friday, offering no estimate when the results might arrive.

Thomas said he is not yet cleared to give any information about suspects, the number of warrants or the types of charges. The confirmation that warrants are pending is one of the few details that has been released since the investigation began.

The bodies of Desmond Brown, 25, and Octavia Scott, 26, were found by a passerby the night of May 11 in a ditch near a car that had crashed into a tree on Purrysburg Road. Authorities believe Brown and Scott were dating.

Each had a gunshot wound to the head, and Jasper County Coroner Martin Sauls confirmed the shots -- not injuries from the crash -- caused their deaths.

Hardeeville police and the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division have been in charge of the investigation. They determined the crash occurred at high speed, and blood and other evidence collected from inside the car indicated something suspicious happened before the crash. Police also said the vehicle belonged to an unnamed Hilton Head Island resident, who loaned the pair the car.

Both victims had pending criminal charges and had been arrested several times.

Brown had been charged seven times for drug-related crimes in Beaufort and Jasper counties since 2005. He also faced eight other charges for weapons violations, theft, assault and battery and giving false information to police.

In Beaufort County, Brown was charged in May 2011 for discharging a weapon into a vehicle and criminal domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature, but the 14th Circuit Solicitor's Office dropped the charges in November, according to court records.

Brown also pleaded guilty in November 2011 to possession of less than a gram of methamphetamine or a cocaine based-substance, and for sale and possession of a stolen firearm.

In Jasper County, Brown was charged three times with possession of less than one gram of crack cocaine. Two of those cases were dropped, and the third was dismissed after his death, according to court records. He was convicted once for manufacturing and distributing crack cocaine.

Scott had faced 11 misdemeanor charges in Beaufort and Jasper counties since 2006, and one felony count of assault and battery with intent to kill. Scott was one of four suspects in an incident in August 2008 in which a Bluffton man was shot in the calf. The charge was dropped in October 2011. A forgery charge from March in Jasper County was dropped after her death.

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