Two Chester teenagers have been accused of shooting a man in Myrtle Beach after police say they planned to rob him by luring him to a motel for sex.
Sheriff's deputies, along with the State Law Enforcement Division, Chester and Myrtle Beach police, found Meleke De'shawn Stewart, 18, at his home in Chester on Wednesday afternoon, according to a Chester County Sheriff's news release. They found Broderick Roscoe, also 18, at his Chester home less than a mile away.
Both teens are charged with murder. Stewart is also charged with possession of a weapon during a violent crime. Roscoe and Stewart are rising seniors at Chester High School, schools spokeswoman Brooke Clinton said.
Stewart, a two-time state champion on Chester High’s wrestling team, and Roscoe, a Cyclones football player, are accused in the shooting death of a North Carolina found dead at a Days Inn motel on Monday, authorities say.
Police were sent to the hotel after receiving calls about a suspicious man sitting in a black 2007 Mazda, according to a Myrtle Beach Police report. Police found Alton Antonio Daniels, 34, of Brunswick County, N.C., unresponsive with blood on his chest.
While investigating, officers found several text messages on Daniels' cell phone indicating that he was going to meet someone to exchange sex for cash, according to a probable cause affidavit for Stewart.
Police found that Stewart was the current subscriber for that phone number, the affidavit states, and data showed he was at the motel during the time of Daniels' death.
During an interview with police, Roscoe told officers he and Stewart planned to rob Daniels, according to a second affidavit. Roscoe admitted to police that he helped set up the robbery and "stood by" during the shooting.
Myrtle Beach Police Capt. David Knipes said police are not looking for other suspects.
Late Thursday, Roscoe and Stewart were being held at the Myrtle Beach jail without bond.
No one could be reached for comment at Stewart’s and Roscoe’s homes on Thursday.
Earlier this year, Stewart became the first wrestler at Chester High to win two Class AAA state wrestling championships back-to-back.
At 170 pounds, he took home the championship title in March after winning it the first time last season.
Chester High wrestling coach Joe Conlan said he was unable to comment, though he said he “feels for both families involved” and the victim.
Cortney Peterson, whose nephew wrestled alongside Stewart, said Stewart worked hard for his wrestling success.
Peterson said Stewart has been part of "our family" for the past three years, spending time at her home and a "brother-cousin" to her 7-year-old son.
"I have cheered for him during his wrestling matches; I have driven him to wrestling matches; I have sat in the stands and rooted for him. My brother and sister-in-law have opened up their home to him; I've opened my home to him," Peterson said. "He is much more than what he's been" charged with.
When she learned about Stewart's charges, Peterson said she was incredulous.
"I thought it was a terrible, terrible joke that someone was calling me with this information," she said. "All night, I couldn't sleep. I just knew I would wake up in the morning and it would have been a dream. It still hasn't settled in."
It was seldom, Peterson said, that Stewart lost a wrestling match. After defeating an opponent, he would shake his opponent’s hand and give him a hug.He did the same for that opponent's parents.
"That's the type of kid that he was," she said. "He did not gloat in his winning."
Jared Gaffney’s son has wrestled with Stewart for the past three years. Because Stewart didn't have a father in his life, Gaffney stepped into that role to "show him that side." He gave him clothes, rides to wrestling matches and paid his way in several recreational wrestling tournaments.
"All over the state of South Carolina, take him to any tournament, they were watching Meleke," Gaffney said. "He was really, really good. They knew him."
Stewart's mother, he said, always expressed her appreciation "because she knew what we were trying to do."
Gaffney was unaware that Stewart would be in Myrtle Beach this week, but assumed he and Roscoe went for a vacation since school was out. He has a hard time believing Stewart would hurt anyone.
"I can't see it," he said. Roscoe, he said, is " a good kid."
Gaffney said he didn’t believe the legitimacy of police’s claims that Daniels and Stewart were planning a crime involving sex.