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‘I am scared for my life’: Chester gang member to remain jailed in Christmas shooting

An alleged gang member involved in the shooting death of a Chester councilman, who is now accused of a Christmas Day shooting, will remain jailed pending trial.

Quinton McClinton, 30, appeared in court in Chester County Thursday, more than a month after he was charged with attempted murder in the shooting of Kochese Gregory.

Gregory, 42, survived after being shot in the chest in Chester, prosecutors said.

McClinton, also charged with possession of a weapon during a violent crime, wanted to be released on bond. He was arrested a week after the shooting in Rock Hill. He faces up to 35 years in prison if convicted, under South Carolina law.

Gregory appeared in court with the assistance of a walker. Gregory said he is afraid for his life if McClinton is released.

“I am scared for my life and for others,” Gregory said.

Gregory’s mother called McClinton a “menace to society” in court.

Prosecutors said that McClinton is a documented member of the Bloods gang, and a threat to public safety in Chester. McClinton was identified as the shooter by the victim and other witnesses, prosecutors said.

“This defendant is a huge danger to this community,” said Candice Lively, 6th Circuit Deputy Solicitor.

McClinton did not speak in court. But his lawyer, Mike Duncan of Columbia, said there are two sides to every story and that the incident scene on Christmas was “chaos.”

Duncan said McClinton was hit by a car and injured during the incident.

“My client denies having a weapon,” Duncan said. “He denies these charges.”

Judge Brian Gibbons said that McClinton is a danger to the community, based on his prior criminal record and the alleged violence of the Christmas shooting. No trial date has been set.

McClinton was convicted in 2016 of accessory after the fact to murder and conspiracy to commit armed robbery, in the 2014 killing of Chester City Councilman Odell Williams.

He was sentenced to five years in prison for his part in Williams’ death, prosecutors said..

McClinton and other members of the Roundtree Circle gang that is part of the Bloods gang plotted an armed robbery of rival gang members before Williams chased them through the streets of Chester in November 2014, previous court testimony showed.

McClinton was identified during trial testimony in the Williams killing as the ringleader of the gang who planned the 2014 robbery before Williams engaged the crew in a shootout.

Williams was a retired Chester Police Department officer.

Williams was killed from gunfire during the 2014 chase. Christopher Moore of Chester, another gang member, was convicted of Williams’ murder and is serving a life sentence. Other gang members also pleaded guilty to roles in the crime.

McClinton pleaded guilty in November 2018 to possession of marijuana inside the South Carolina prison at Kershaw while incarcerated for his role in the Williams killing.

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Andrew Dys covers breaking news and public safety for The Herald, where he has been a reporter and columnist since 2000. He has won 51 South Carolina Press Association awards for his coverage of crime, race, justice, and people. He is author of the book “Slice of Dys” and his work is in the U.S. Library of Congress.