Crime

Accused York Co. killer ‘hunted’ thief who stole 3 kilos of cocaine, prosecutors say

Suspect in shooting who ‘hunted’ and killed man accused of stealing drugs denied bond

A suspect in a November 2017 York County killing who "hunted" a man accused of stealing three kilograms of cocaine, faced a judge Tuesday in York County during a bond hearing. Judge Bill McKinnon denied bond Jerry Roderick Cousar.
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A suspect in a November 2017 York County killing who "hunted" a man accused of stealing three kilograms of cocaine, faced a judge Tuesday in York County during a bond hearing. Judge Bill McKinnon denied bond Jerry Roderick Cousar.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story stated that Trenyatta Massey still faced charges in Horry Count in an unrelated case. That information was incorrect. Those charges were dismissed in November, according to court records and lawyers in the case.

An accused York County killer “hunted” a thief who stole three kilograms of cocaine that had been shipped to South Carolina from California through the United States mail, prosecutors said.

Jerry Roderick Cousar, 42, was in court Tuesday for a bond hearing since his arrest a day after the Nov. 3, 2017, killing of Angel Carmindo Dominguez Vega, described as a friend of the drug thief. Vega, 23, was found shot to death at Will Jones Circle in Catawba, in eastern York County.

Cousar is charged with murder, attempted murder, possession weapon during violent crime and cocaine trafficking. Cousar has criminal convictions dating back to 1998, including hanging dogs for which he served four years in prison, testimony showed.

Cousar was used as the triggerman by a co-defendant, Trenyatta Jondae Massey, after the drugs were stolen, said 16th Circuit Deputy Solicitor Willy Thompson. Massey, 19, ran a drug operation and used Cousar as a worker, Thompson said.

After the drugs were delivered, Cousar bragged to others about the large amount of drugs he had, Thompson said. Someone stole the package, Thompson said.

“Mr. Massey and Mr. Cousar then began to hunt the person who took the drugs,” Thompson said in court.

Cousar shot Vega, Thompson said. A second man also was shot at, but not injured, Thompson said.

Cousar then told several people he had “shot and killed someone.”

“He admitted to a number of his friends and people that he knew what he had just done,” Thompson said.

The drugs were later recovered by Charlotte police after the thief told Charlotte-Mecklenburg detectives that people were trying to kill him, Thompson said. That person was later charged by federal agents in an unrelated case, Thompson said. That person has not been identified.

Cousar was arrested the day after Vega died. Massey was taken into custody in later November 2017, after a police manhunt.

The reach of the drug group, from California to South Carolina, presents a clear danger to the public if Cousar is released, Thompson said Tuesday.

“Those connections are big, and these are people who are very bad,” Thompson said in court.

Cousar did not speak in court. His lawyer, 16th Circuit Deputy Public Defender B.J. Barrowclough, said Cousar has a history of schizophrenia, and was on disability at the time of the incident. Barrowclough said Cousar would not leave York County or be a danger to the public if released on bond.

York County Circuit Court Judge Bill McKinnon denied bond.

“He is alleged to have shot innocent people as he tracked down someone else,” McKinnon said. “Anytime you have more than six pounds of cocaine, there are other people involved, you are a threat to the public.”

Massey, originally of Lancaster, also is charged with murder and cocaine trafficking in Vega’s 2017 death. Massey was not in court Tuesday.

Massey is in the South Carolina Department of Corrections Turbeville prison serving a four-year sentence, records show.

Massey was convicted in York County in August of selling an illegal weapon and drug distribution in an unrelated case.

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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.

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