COLUMBIA, S.C. – A 24-year-old Greenville man shot a store clerk then killed a woman in Newberry County so he could get a car to see his brother who plays football for South Carolina, authorities said.
Demetrius M. Pepper was arrested Saturday morning outside of Williams-Brice Stadium, where the Gamecocks were playing a scrimmage open to the public, Newberry County deputies said. His brother is Nathan Pepper, a rising junior defensive lineman.
Demetrius Pepper stole his first car after shooting its owner at a Greenville convenience store around 7:45 a.m. Saturday, deputies said.
The car broke down on Interstate 26 in Newberry County, so Pepper came to the home of 60-year-old Ellie Halfacre, about a half-mile from the highway, looking for another vehicle, Sheriff Lee Foster said.
Pepper rang the doorbell and forced his way in after Halfacre answered, shooting and killing her before taking another vehicle and some items from the home, Foster said.
Halfacre was a retired school teacher active in her church, Foster said.
"There were two cars in the yard that had keys in them. All he had to do was take the car. He didn't have to go in and kill her over a car. It's just senseless," Foster said.
There doesn't appear to be any link between the two victims, police said.
Pepper has been charged with murder in Newberry County and assault and battery with intent to kill and possession of a weapon during a violent crime in Greenville County, authorities said.
A woman identifying herself as Pepper's mother answered the phone at a Greenville home, but wouldn't talk about the incident or give her full name.