Horry County solicitor speaks after mistrial declared in murder case

CONWAY, S.C. (WBTW) — Horry County’s top prosecutor is reacting after a weeklong murder trial for a man accused of murder ended in a mistrial when the jury couldn’t come to a decision.

Jermaine Gattison is one of two men accused in the 2021 killing of Jas’ier Wilson of Surfside Beach. Wilson died at Grand Strand Regional Medical Center days after the shooting at Donny’s Saloon in Myrtle Beach.

On the third day of Gattison’s trial, Judge Alex Hyman ruled it as a mistrial. 15th Circuit Solicitor Jimmy Richardson said all 12 jurors couldn’t reach an unanimous verdict after almost six hours of deliberating.

Richardson said a mistrial could mean many things, but in this case, the jury was hung on a decision. He said a situation like this happens when jurors are “hopelessly deadlocked.”

“It’s like a tie. In football and baseball, you know, we hate that uncertainty or that tie,” he said. “But it is an adversarial system and sometimes, you know, a couple of times a year a case may end in mistrial, and it really means you got to start back and regroup and redo it.”

Richardson said the judge can be the same, but they’ll have to pick a new jury.

He said the retrial should be in the same county the crime happened. He said a “change of venue” will only happen if the new jury has already formed an opinion or heard of the case.

“The statute actually says that if you die up to one year after the event, one year, if you’re the proximate cause of the death, it’s still murder,” Richardson said. “This case was 11 days.”

Richardson said he’s not sure why an autopsy wasn’t done by the police. He said it’s rare in a homicide because it helps provide more evidence.

He adds this may have altered the juror’s decision in the case as well as another problem. Richardson says some evidence was cleaned up by bar staff the night of the shooting.

“Early on, a lot of the stuff was cleaned up before the police got there. I haven’t talked with the jurors, but you know, obviously you want the scene to look exactly like it did so that the police could come in and put that as part of their investigation,” Richardson said. “But when people tamper with the scene, it could certainly lead to more problems.”

Richardson said the prosecutors will look at the case again to see if anything needs to be done differently before a retrial. He said Gattison will stay in pre-trial detention at the J. Reuben Long Detention Center until then or until he has a bond hearing.

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Jackie LiBrizzi is a multimedia journalist at News13. Jackie is originally from Hamilton, New Jersey, and was raised in Piedmont, South Carolina. Jackie joined the News13 team in June 2023 after she graduated as a student-athlete from the University of South Carolina in May 2023. Follow Jackie on X, formerly Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, and read more of her work here.

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