Crime

One killed his parents, the other a cop. York County’s 2 death row inmates moved

Jimmy Roberton, left, Mar-Reece Hughes
Jimmy Roberton, left, Mar-Reece Hughes

Two death row inmates from York County got new homes Tuesday.

James Robertson was convicted in 1999 of using a hammer and baseball bat to bludegon his parents to death. Mar-Reece Hughes was convicted of killing a York County sheriff’s deputy named Brent McCants almost 25 years ago.

Robertson and Hughes were among 34 South Carolina death row inmates transferred Tuesday from Lieber prison in the Lowcountry, where death row has been located, to Kirkland Correctional Institute in Columbia. The pair are the only two from York, Chester, and Lancaster counties on death row.

The S.C. Department of Corrections said the inmates were moved to improve staffing issues.

“I was told this morning in a call that Hughes was being moved,” said Myra McCants, mother of the late deputy McCants.

McCants was shot by Hughes and Dwayne Eric Forney on Sept. 25, 1992, during a traffic stop. Hughes, now 51, and Forney, now 50, were convicted in 1995. Hughes received the death penalty because he was convicted of being the shooter.

Hughes and Robertson will stay in prison until the state of South Carolina puts both to death, each dies in jail, or appeals give them a chance at freedom. A lack of lethal injection drugs has halted executiuons in South Carolina.

James “Jimmy” Robertson, 43, has been on death row since 1999. He was convicted of the 1997 killing of his parents, Terry and Earl Robertson, at the family home in Rock Hill. Prosecutors argued he wanted his parents’ money, estimated in the millions. Robertson was just days from execution more than a decade ago, but an appeal halted it.

Robertson’s appeals have for 18 years been fruitless.

Hughes was accused of killing another inmate at the York County jail while waiting for trial. Lawyers for Hughes have stated that he has mental problems that should bar him from being executed, and his exeuction has been stayed several times, court documents show.

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