Crime

Man charged in brutal York Co. killing back in SC. He could end up on death row

‘Foul play’ suspected in death of York Co. man near Rock Hill, police say

Foul play is suspected in the death of a man found dead at home on Old Friendship Road in Rock Hill Monday, said York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson. Scottie Starnes, 45, was found unresponsive by family, said Sabrina Gast, York County Coroner.
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Foul play is suspected in the death of a man found dead at home on Old Friendship Road in Rock Hill Monday, said York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson. Scottie Starnes, 45, was found unresponsive by family, said Sabrina Gast, York County Coroner.

The North Carolina man charged in the brutal beating death of a York County father in June before fleeing to Charlotte has been extradited on a murder charge.

Because Charles Thomas Ridings, 22, is also accused of armed robbery during the beating death of Scottie Starnes, York County prosecutors could seek the death penalty.

Ridings was extradited from North Carolina to South Carolina late Thursday after Ridings fought extradition after being captured in Charlotte four days after Starnes was killed. Governors of both states signed warrants forcing Ridings to be brought to York County to face charges for murder, armed robbery and grand larceny.

Ridings is charged in the killing of Starnes, 45, during a robbery June 4 at Starnes' home in rural York County near the Catawba River. York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson said Ridings beat Starnes to death, then stole Starnes car and fled to Charlotte.

Prosecutors under South Carolina law can seek the death penalty in a murder trial if other aggravating factors are also part of the crime. Armed robbery is one of those factors that allows prosecutors to consider seeking capital punishment.

Although Ridings' case is death penalty eligible, York County prosecutors have made no decision on whether to seek it, said Willy Thompson, 16th Circuit deputy solicitor.

''It is far too early in the process," Thompson said Friday.

No other charges are pending against Ridings, said Trent Faris, spokesperson for the York County Sheriff's Office.

Ridings was denied bond Friday afternoon by York County magistrate judge Dan Malphrus and remains in the York County jail. Ridings was qualified for a public defender after being declared indigent, Malphrus said after the hearing.

Andrew Dys: 803-329-4065, @AndrewDysHerald
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