Woman charged with murder in 2nd Chester County homicide in one day, cops say

A Chester woman accused of shooting a man to death Thursday is charged with murder as officers investigate Chester County’s second killing in one day, police said.

Both killings happened in the early morning hours Thursday, police said. Chester County, south of Rock Hill and York County and north of Columbia, has about 32,000 residents. The city of Chester, the county seat, has about 5,500 residents.

The homicides are the first for both the sheriff’s office and city police in 2019, officials said.

Danny O’Neil Thomas, 39, was discovered shot in a home Thursday morning on Starnes Street in Chester, said Chester County Coroner Terry Tinker.

Gloria Dean Waters, 61, is charged with murder, possession of a weapon during a violent crime, illegal carrying of a pistol and assault and battery, according to police and Chester County jail records.

Waters was taken into custody around 3:30 a.m. Thursday at the Chester County jail, said Chester Police Department Chief Eric Williams. Waters was detained Thursday and charged with murder and the weapons charges, Williams said.

Waters and Thomas were in a relationship as boyfriend and girlfriend, Williams said.

“It is unfortunate that this domestic incident turned into a shooting and then a homicide,” Williams said. “That is a bad mixture.”

Williams said his officers worked through Thursday to make sure the proper charges were filed.

“We wanted to make sure that this case was closed in an expedient manner, and also make sure that we serve the community and keep residents safe from violence,” Williams said.

No other details about what led to the shooting have been released.

Waters was found by police sitting at the kitchen table at the home Thursday morning, police said. She was unarmed and taken into custody by Chester officers, according to a police department statement.

Also on Thursday, Chester County Sheriff’s Office deputies charged a Great Falls man with murder, attempted murder and weapons charges after a man was gunned down outside a home in southeastern Chester County near the Catawba River.

Stephen Andrew Collins, 25, shot Brandon Thomas Jones, 23, according to court and police records. Collins also is charged with attempted murder and possession of a weapon during a violent crime, arrest warrants show.

Jones, 23, died at the scene, said Robert Sprouse, Chester County Sheriff’s Office chief deputy. Collins was arrested at the shooting scene, Sprouse said.

Collins and Jones knew each other, but the nature of their relationship is unclear, Sprouse said.

That killing happened around 1:10 a.m. on Richburg Road near Great Falls. Police found Jones dead on the ground after he had been shot in the abdomen, an incident report from the sheriff’s office stated.

The cases are not related, police said.

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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.