Crime & Public Safety

Beaufort man charged in 2017 murders of St. Helena man and his nephew, official says

4th arrest made in St. Helena uncle, nephew slayings

Symone Jones, 20, of Lady’s Island, faces two counts of murder after turning herself into investigators on Monday in Beaufort.
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Symone Jones, 20, of Lady’s Island, faces two counts of murder after turning herself into investigators on Monday in Beaufort.

A Beaufort man arrested Monday was charged in connection with the 2017 slayings of a St. Helena man and his nephew, according to a Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson.

Gerard Kenard Daise, 19, was charged with two counts of murder, Capt. Bob Bromage said Saturday morning.

The body of Robert Blanding, 24, was found on Nov. 22, 2017, in a drainage ditch off F&B Road on Lady’s Island. He had been last seen leaving a home with his nephew, Chaz Blanding, 19, the night before.

Chaz’s body was found in a ditch off of Simmons Road on St. Helena on Dec. 2, 2017, 10 days after his uncle’s body was found.

Both men died from gunshot wounds.

Four people were arrested and charged in late 2017 in connection with the men’s murders.

Daise is also charged with possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime, trespassing, and a probation and parole violation, according to the Beaufort County Detention Center jail log.

He was arrested Monday while the Beaufort Police Department served an arrest warrant in his home to an attempted murder suspect in connection with a December 2018 shooting, according to a previous Island Packet article.

A search of the residence uncovered four handguns — three of which were reported stolen — a large quantity of marijuana and body armor, a news release from the department said.

Daise was booked into the Beaufort County Detention Center around 12:15 p.m. Monday and was still confined as of Saturday afternoon, according to the jail log.

Previous arrests in the Blanding murders:

▪ Raheem Bennett, of St. Helena Island, then 16 and a ninth-grader at Beaufort High School, was arrested in the case on Nov. 28, 2017. He faces two murder charges and a weapons possession charge.

▪ Nashon Pringle, of St. Helena Island and 18 at the time, was arrested Dec. 4, 2017. He also faces murder and weapons possession charges.

▪ Channon Preston Jr., of Lady’s Island and 18 at the time, was arrested on Dec. 1, 2017, and charged with two counts of murder.

▪ Symone Jones, of Lady’s Island and 20 at the time, turned herself in to investigators on Dec. 11 and was charged with two counts of murder.

Lana Ferguson has covered crime, police, and other news for The Island Packet & Beaufort Gazette since June 2018. Before coming to the Lowcountry, she worked for publications in her home state of Virginia and graduated from the University of Mississippi, where she was editor of the college newspaper.


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