September 8, 2016
From Richland County Maité Murphy, Circuit Court Judge
Attorney General Alan McCrory Wilson, Chief Deputy Attorney
General John W. McIntosh, Senior Assistant Deputy Attorney
General Donald J. Zelenka, Assistant Attorney General
Alphonso Simon, Jr., Solicitor Daniel Edward Johnson, all of
Columbia, for Appellant.
Appellate Defender Robert Michael Dudek, of Columbia, for
State appeals the circuit court's finding Shannon Scott
was immune from prosecution for the murder of Darrell Niles
(Victim) based on section 16-11-440(A) and (C) of the South
Carolina Code (2015). The statute codifies the common law
"Castle Doctrine" and "Stand Your Ground"
defenses, respectively. We affirm as modified.
night of April 17, 2010, Scott's teenage daughter, Shade,
went to a party at a teen club in Columbia accompanied by
Rosalyn Fuller's teenage daughters, Ashley, Asia, and
Ave, and two other friends, Denzel D. and Antonio B. Fuller
was with Scott at his home in Columbia, and the teens were to
return to Fuller's home after they left the
and shortly after the party, Shade was involved in a
confrontation with another girl, Teesha D. Shade's group
left the club in a 1993 Grand Marquis driven by Denzel. They
were followed by a group of females, including Teesha, in a
silver Ford Expedition sport utility vehicle (SUV). The SUV
chased the Grand Marquis, following it down numerous streets
and into different neighborhoods. During the chase, Shade
called her father and told him they were being followed by a
group of girls with a gun. Ashley texted and then called her
mother to say they were being followed by
Teesha. The teens were instructed to drive to
unbeknownst to the two groups, a third vehicle, a burgundy
Honda, was following the chase from a bit of a distance.
Victim was driving the Honda, and Eric W. was a passenger.
According to Eric, Victim wanted to ensure the girls in the
Grand Marquis got home safely.
the group arrived at Scott's house, they pulled the Grand
Marquis into the backyard and, at Fuller and Scott's
instruction, entered the house through the back door and into
the kitchen. Testimony as to these and subsequent events is
conflicting, but the record demonstrates the SUV drove by
Scott's house, turned around, and drove back by the house
with its lights off. The Honda was also in close proximity to
Scott's house. Scott entered his roommate's bedroom,
retrieved his roommate's gun, and shot from the front
stoop of the house. One of these shots struck and killed
Victim. Police came to the house in response to a 911 call
Fuller made during the incident. Scott described the SUV and
indicated it had shot at the house. He did not indicate he
had fired in response. Scott later turned himself in to
police and was indicted for murder. He moved for immunity
under section 16-11-440(C) of the South Carolina Code (2015).
immunity hearing, Asia testified she heard gunshots after the
SUV started driving back toward the house with the lights
off. Ave indicated she saw a gun hanging out the window of
the SUV and saw shots fired. Denzel and Antonio testified
they heard a gunshot as they were getting out of the car.
Ave, Denzel, and Antonio admitted they had not mentioned
hearing gunshots as they exited the car in their initial
statements to police.
testified she saw the SUV drive by the house and turn around
in the parking lot of the Allstate Insurance building at the
end of the street. She also observed a car behind the SUV
when it entered the neighborhood and testified the car made
the same turn as the SUV. Fuller stated she heard a gunshot
as the teens were entering the house. She called 911 while
Scott retrieved the gun from his roommate's bedroom and
then heard Scott say "don't do it, don't do
it" and afterward another shot. Likewise, Fuller
admitted she had not mentioned hearing a shot as the teens
were exiting the car in her initial statement to police.
testified he heard a "pow" as Fuller was getting
the teens into the house. Afterward, he went into his
roommate's room and took his roommate's handgun from
the nightstand, and Fuller called 911. Lenny Williams,
Scott's roommate, testified Scott came into his room and
grabbed his gun and then he heard some gunshots.
Williams's girlfriend, who was also present, corroborated
that testimony. Scott stated he ran outside the front door to
the front step of the house and as the SUV drove back toward
his house, he fired a warning shot and told them not to come
any farther. He stated the vehicles continued to move slowly
and both stopped in front of his house. He heard another shot
and saw arms hanging out of the SUV's window. He then
ducked behind the front hood of his vehicle parked in the
front yard, fired two or three times, and returned inside the
house. Scott testified he shot to defend himself and did not
remember exactly where he was aiming.
addition to Teesha, Kiwiana C. and Kyasia C. were in the SUV
that night. Kiwiana admitted following the Grand Marquis and
firing a gun. However, she told police she heard a shot while
the SUV was parked in the Allstate parking lot and fired her
gun into the air in response. Teesha told police that as they
drove into the neighborhood and past Scott's house, she
saw a black female along with a heavy set male in the yard.
She further stated she heard a gunshot while parked at the
Allstate building and then heard a second shot. Teesha stated
Kiwiana then fired her gun into the air once. Kyasia denied
to police anyone in the SUV fired first and indicated she
heard two shots before Kiwiana fired her gun into the air
once. The girls admitted they thought about performing a
drive-by shooting. Kiwiana even swapped places with the
fourth girl in the SUV for this purpose, but they
changed their minds. Kyasia told police that as they left the
neighborhood, they passed a burgundy Honda with its passenger
the passenger in Victim's car, testified they had
followed the SUV but when it went past Scott's house,
Victim turned left into a cul-de-sac to turn around. Eric
testified that as the Honda came back down the cul-de-sac, he
could see Scott in the yard and could tell he was
light-skinned and had a gun. He indicated the SUV was
directly in front of Scott's house and Scott was shooting
at the SUV. He provided he did not see any shots fired from
the SUV and neither he nor Victim had a gun that night.
hearing the testimony summarized above, the circuit court
determined Scott was entitled to immunity from prosecution
under subsections (C) and (A) of section 16-11-440. Regarding
its finding of immunity under subsection (C), the circuit
When the Defendant fired the shot, he reasonably believed he
was being attacked with deadly force directed at his home.
There is absolutely no requirement that the defendant wait to
be attacked by those that instigated the deadly
circumstances. The Legislature ...