The victim in a 2017 killing outside a Rock Hill poverty center had pulled a gun on his assailant during an argument about drugs, according to prosecutors and the shooter's lawyer.
Because the victim pulled a gun, the murder charge was changed to voluntary manslaughter, the lawyers said.
Jayson Andrae Tucker, 27, was sentenced to six years in prison after he pleaded guilty Thursday in the death of Antonio Roddey, 32. The six year sentence was negotiated, lawyers said.
Roddey was shot outside the Renew Our Community (ROC) building on the afternoon of Nov. 6. Several people saw the incident, officials said.
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Tucker pleaded guilty under what is called an Alford plea. In an Alford plea, a defendant does not admit guilt, but accepts the same punishment and sentencing as a guilty plea because it is likely a jury would find him guilty, said Tucker's lawyer, 16th Circuit Public Defender Harry Dest.
Dest said evidence showed Roddey was the first to pull a gun. Tucker could not argue self-defense, however, because he was involved in an illegal drug deal, Dest said.
"We could not argue self-defense because the defendant would have to be without fault in bringing on the difficulty," Dest said. "We agreed that manslaughter was the best result, and are happy with the disposition."
Roddey and Tucker argued outside ROC after Tucker bought marijuana from Roddey, said Willy Thompson, 16th Circuit Deputy Solicitor. When Roddey pulled out a gun and began to load it, Tucker pulled a gun and shot Roddey in the head, Thompson said.
The investigation showed Roddey was selling marijuana outside the center that day, Thompson said. The argument between Tucker and Roddey was over the "quality or quantity or both" that Tucker had bought from Roddey, Thompson said.
Police found the gun, bullets and drugs that Roddey had when he was shot, Thompson said.
"This is another case where a drug deal involving marijuana led to a killing," Thompson said.
ROC, located on White Street near Dave Lyle Boulevard, serves the poor, needy and homeless by offering vocational and other services.
Bruce McKagan, ROC executive director, said outside court after the guilty plea the killing was a "tragic moment for ROC and the community."
Since the shooting, ROC has added security measures at the center on White Street that include using a metal detector wand for all people going in the building, McKagan said.
Andrew Dys: 803-329-4065, @AndrewDysHerald