Man gets 38 years in killing

YORK -- A Fort Mill man was sentenced to nearly four decades in prison after he pleaded guilty Thursday to his role in the shooting death of a man last fall.

According to court testimony, Isaac Bouler and another man went to Jules Deon Crosby's Fort Mill home last October to collect $800 for some drugs Crosby had gotten the year before in Charlotte.

The pair tussled with Crosby. Then shots were fired, resulting in Crosby's death.

Bouler, 25, of 801 Steele St. in Fort Mill pleaded guilty Thursday to voluntary manslaughter, two counts of kidnapping, possession of a weapon during a violent crime, criminal conspiracy, first-degree burglary and armed robbery.

Visiting Judge J. Derham Cole of Spartanburg handed down a 38-year sentence for first-degree burglary. Bouler also received 30 years for each kidnapping charge as well as 30 years for voluntary manslaughter, 30 years for armed robbery, five years for criminal conspiracy and five years for possession of a weapon during a violent crime. All will run concurrently with the first-degree burglary charge.

"I was hoping for life, but 38 years is a long time," Larry Fernandez, Crosby's father, said after court.

A relieved Isaac Bouler III was grateful for the court's mercy. "I can die knowing he will walk out of prison one day as opposed to being rolled out in a pine box," he said.

In April, Brandon Josef Byers of 1226 Crawford Road in Rock Hill pleaded guilty to the same charges as Bouler. Judge Brooks Goldsmith is expected to sentence Byers on Monday.

The charges against Bouler and Byers stem from an incident that happened last Oct. 14. Just after midnight, someone knocked on the door of the home Crosby shared with Kisha Dixon and their children.

Bouler identified himself by last name before he walked in the home and pushed Crosby down in a chair, said Deputy Solicitor Willy Thompson.

Bouler and Crosby fought. Crosby was "badly beaten," Thompson said. Byers held Dixon at gunpoint. Later, he let her go, Thompson said.

"She saw Mr. Byers firing a weapon striking Mr. Crosby," he said.

A then-pregnant Dixon ran from the house and fell in a nearby cemetery. Crosby, who had been shot at least three times, ran out the front door and around the side of the house, Thompson said. Bouler and Byers followed, he said.

"Mr. Bouler fired his 9 mm gun," Thompson said. "One of those shots struck Mr. Crosby in the back. He fell and died."

Thompson said Bouler and Byers were heading to Georgia. Family members encouraged them to return to Fort Mill and turn themselves into police.

In court Thursday, Bouler said he did not go to Crosby's home to commit a crime.

"I went there because he owed me money," Bouler said. "I came back to get my money."

The situation did not have to end in a killing, Thompson said after court.

"He may or may not have planned on killing Jules, but Isaac was the catalyst that caused the killing," Thompson said.

Bouler and Byers remained in custody Thursday at Moss Justice Center. Bouler will be transferred to a state prison at a later date.