Crime & Public Safety

Hilton Head man gets 37 years for teen’s murder at Coligny Beach park in 2015

A Hilton Head Island man who fatally shot 17-year-old Dominique Williams near Coligny Beach in broad daylight in 2015 was sentenced Wednesday to 37 years in prison, according to a 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office news release.

John Ira Duncan III, now 20, was 15 at the time of the murder.

Duncan was found guilty in May by a Beaufort County General Sessions Court jury, but the sentencing was delayed until an evaluation of Duncan by a defense psychologist.

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John Ira Duncan III, right, walks into the courtroom on Wednesday afternoon with his public defender, Jeffrey Stephens, as they prepared for Duncan to take the stand in his trial for which he is charged with the murder of Dominique Williams, 16, in July 19, 2015 on Hllton Head Island. Drew Martin dmartin@islandpacket.com

Sentences for murder in South Carolina must be served in their entirety, the release said. Duncan could have been sentenced to between 30 years and life in prison.

During two days of testimony, more than a dozen witnesses were called, including a friend of Duncan who was with him at the time of the shooting, and Williams’ friends, who were also at the scene.

Duncan testified that he shot Williams in self-defense, The Island Packet previously reported, but the jury took about 10 minutes to find him guilty of murder.

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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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