Crime & Public Safety

Ridgeland man found guilty of Jasper County murder despite creating an elaborate alibi

A Ridgeland man who shot an acquaintance in a Jasper County home during an argument more than two years ago was sentenced to 30 years in prison Thursday after a three-day trial, a 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office news release said.

A Jasper County jury found David Eric Hugue Jr., 30, guilty of murdering 34-year-old Lamar Heyward.

Hugue was sentenced to 30 years for the murder charge and five years for possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime, but the sentences will be served concurrently.

Hugue and the victim were in a mobile home on Westberry Street in the Old House area with a few other people in February 2017 when the two began to argue, the release said. They continued the argument outside, and almost as soon as they walked out the front door, Hugue shot the man then fled.

None of the other people inside the home saw the shooting. One called 911, but Heyward died in the ambulance from a single gunshot wound on the way to the hospital.

After the shooting, Hugue created an “elaborate alibi,” telling Jasper County Sheriff’s deputies that he’d been with his girlfriend in Beaufort all night, the release said. He said they’d eaten at Checkers Restaurant, which had actually closed 10 years earlier and been demolished before the deadly shooting.

Hugue told deputies his girlfriend’s name, what she looked like, the vehicle she drove, and other details about her life, but authorities “could find no such person,” the release said.

He also denied knowing the victim, but some of the 18 witnesses called by the prosecutor testified that the two men knew each other well and could even be related.

“David Hugue tried to settle a dispute with a gun,” prosecutor Dustin Whetsel said. “This was a blatant act of violence that he tried to deny with a story full of blatant lies. He’s behind bars now because of dogged detective work by multiple agencies.”

Prior to the murder, Hugue had faces numerous criminal charges, including burglary, grand larceny and resisting arrest.

Lana Ferguson has reported on a smorgasbord of 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’s daily newspaper.
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