Crime

Homeless killer beat York County man to death but it was not a murder. Here’s why.

‘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.

A North Carolina homeless man who beat a York County acquaintance to death was sentenced to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to manslaughter.

Charles Thomas Ridings, 23, from Denton, N.C, pleaded guilty Friday to grand larceny and manslaughter in York County court in the death of Scottie Wade Starnes, said Willy Thompson and Matthew Hogge, prosecutors with the 16th Circuit Solicitor’s Office.

Ridings had been living in a tent behind a Charlotte Walmart before the crime, prosecutors said. Ridings agreed to a negotiated sentence of 20 years in prison after he initially was charged with murder and armed robbery. Ridings could have faced up to life in prison if convicted at trial.

Ridings and Starnes met days before the crime, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors agreed to a manslaughter charge because that is defined as a heat of passion killing, Thompson said.

“This was not a planned attack,” Thompson said after court.

Starnes, 45, was beaten to death on June 4, 2018, at his home on Old Friendship Road in York County, south of Rock Hill. A crowbar, broken rake handle and metal rod were found at the crime scene, prosecutors said.

Ridings fled in Starnes car, prosecutors said. Ridings wrecked the car on Interstate 485 in Charlotte then was caught by Charlotte police after a foot chase. During the foot chase Ridings dropped Starnes’ wallet which tied him to the crime scene, Thompson said.

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