CHESTER — Anthony Isom went to his cousins house to collect $180 he was owed. He left for his beach vacation with only $80 in his pocket after kicking a cousin so severely that it left him with a brain hemorrhage and bleeding spleen nearly two years ago.
The cousin, Bradley McAteer, 24, died a short time later at a Charlotte hospital.
On Tuesday, Isom, 25, scheduled to go trial, pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter, said Julie Hall, assistant Sixth Circuit solicitor.
A jury had been selected and prosecutors and Isoms public defender were prepared to unveil evidence and testimony when Isom, after meeting with his lawyer and members of his family again, decided to plead guilty.
A judge sentenced him to 15 years in prison without parole. Charges were dismissed against his co-defendant and girlfriend, Crystal Pardue, whom authorities charged with accessory after the fact after police found them several days after the killing walking along Myrtle Beach.
On June 15, 2012, Isom went to visit his cousin, Bradley McAteer, at the Tremont Street home McAteer shared with his wife and two daughters. McAteer apparently owed Isom some money, Hall said, and an argument between the two who lived together as brothers at some point in time ensued.
McAteer stabbed Isom in the head with a pocket knife, said Isoms lawyer, Sixth Circuit Public Defender Mike Lifsey.
Mr. Isom had a wound in his head, Lifsey said. This was his cousin. They had grown up together. (Witnesses) said they were calm and there was no fight until McAteer and Isom went into the house.
Its unclear what prompted the dispute, but Isom and McAteers fight spilled over into a bathroom, where McAteer fell down into the bathtub. Isom kicked him in the head several times. McAteer was unconscious by the time Isom left, got into a car with his girlfriend and drove to Myrtle Beach. McAteer was flown to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, where doctors were able to restore his heartbeat, but he was never able to breathe on his own. He died a short time later.
Hall said she never could find proof that Pardue actually knew about McAteers slaying. Instead, she called her mother two days after the incident. Her mother told her what happened to McAteer. Pardue tried convincing Isom to return home, Hall said. Police found Isom and Pardue in Myrtle Beach walking along Ocean Boulevard.
While jailed, Isom pleaded guilty to assault and battery in an unrelated incident in which police accused him of kicking a man in the face during a dispute at an apartment complex some time before the attack on McAteer. Isom was sentenced to a year in prison on that charge.
Isom also filed a Stand Your Ground appeal with the state Supreme Court, claiming he was acting in self-defense because he had been stabbed by McAteer. A judge denied his petition. He appealed the judges decision, but the matter has not been heard again after the state Supreme Court ruled last summer that Stand Your Ground immunity appeals can only be filed after a defendant has been tried and convicted.
Isoms chances at a Stand Your Ground defense have now been quashed after he admitted to killing McAteer, Lifsey said.
Jonathan McFadden • 803-329-4082