Crime

Lancaster killer murdered cop’s brother, jury says. How much prison this time?

Here is the criminal legal process from arrest to final court days

Horry County Solicitor Jimmy Richardson walks though the legal process from the time someone is arrested until the time they are sentenced.
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Horry County Solicitor Jimmy Richardson walks though the legal process from the time someone is arrested until the time they are sentenced.

A Lancaster man with a past conviction for killing a man was sentenced to life in prison late Thursday after a jury convicted him of murder in the shooting death of a police officer’s brother.

Demarcus Obrien Foster, 31, was convicted of killing of Joel McLemore after a four-day trial at the Lancaster County Courthouse that ended with a guilty verdict around 9 p.m., according to court officials and court records.

Visiting Judge Roger Henderson sentenced Foster to life without parole.

Foster is not eligible for parole because of his past convictions for manslaughter and other felonies, court records show.

McLemore, 29, was standing on a porch on 16th Street in Lancaster on Sept. 27, 2017, when he was shot in the head. He died a few days later.

McLemore was the younger brother of Ryan McLemore, a drug unit supervisor with the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office.

Foster, now convicted of killing Joel McClemore, was out on bond for several drug, weapons and other charges at the time that he shot McLemore, according to court records.

Because of the victim’s connection to Lancaster police agencies and prosecutors, the S.C. Attorney General’s office took over prosecution of the case and handled Foster’s trial. The case was tried by Senior Assistant Attorney General Heather Weiss, along with Assistant Attorney General Jerrod Fussnecker.

After the verdict, Weiss praised the jurors and the Lancaster community for its stand against violence.

“I feel like the jury’s verdict speaks for us,” Weiss said in a statement to The Herald. “This was a senseless tragedy.”

Foster, now convicted of a second killing, has spent two previous stretches in South Carolina prisons.

In 2016, Foster finished probation after pleading guilty to voluntary manslaughter where he received an eight-year sentence. Foster killed his cousin in 2006 after a card game dispute.

That manslaughter plea came after Foster had served eight years in prison for York County drug, weapon and assault convictions from 2008, records from the State Law Enforcement Division show.

Foster also was convicted of possession of a weapon during a violent crime, and possession of a gun by a convicted felon. Sentences for those crimes will run concurrent with his life sentence for the murder of McLemore.

Foster’s lawyer, Mark Grier of the 6th Circuit Public Defender’s Office, said Foster maintains his innocence and will appeal the verdict.

“My heart goes out to the victim’s family and my client’s family,” Grier said Friday. “Everyone is heartbroken.”

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