By Tony Kukulich
A 22-year-old St. Helena Island man received a 37-year prison sentence after he was convicted for the 2020 killing of an unarmed man.
Channon Talon Preston was found guilty Wednesday of the murder of Steven Glover, also of St. Helena Island. The Beaufort County General Sessions Court jury of six men and six women also found Preston guilty of attempted murder and possession of a weapon during commission of a violent crime.
At about 1 p.m. on Nov. 18, 2020, Preston unleashed a barrage of gunfire at Glover, who was by his car in the front yard of his friend, Corey Deion Singleton. Singleton walked from his porch into his front yard just as the attack began and took cover behind Glover’s car. He then fled to the house of a neighbor, who called 9-1-1.
Glover was shot seven times, and his car was struck by more than 30 bullets.
Channon and co-defendent Xavier Maoshi Polite were arrested within hours of the murder.
Mary Jones of the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office prosecuted the case. She called 20 witnesses during three days of testimony at the Beaufort County Courthouse, including two analysts from the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division and 13 officers and analysts from the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office.
Circuit Court Judge Bentley Price handed down the sentence.
In March 2021 Preston was tried on murder charges related to the double killing of Robert Blanding, 25, and his 19-year-old nephew, Chaz Blanding, which occurred just days after Preston’s 18th birthday. The two Blanding men were shot to death during an apparent robbery attempt on a secluded portion of Lady’s Island Road just after dark on Nov. 21, 2017.
Preston’s charges were dismissed after the jury in that case could not make a determination of guilt. Two other men, Nashon Pringle and his half-brother Raheem Bennett, pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in that case. They were sentenced to 20 and 18 years in prison, respectively.
“This case illustrates the difficulty – and sometimes, the impossibility – of proving a case with only co-defendant testimony,” Jones, who also prosecuted that case, said at the time the charges were dismissed. “There was little physical evidence, and the only eye-witnesses were involved in the homicide.”
Polite, a 28-year-old Port Royal resident, also faces charges in relation to Glover’s death. His trial has not been scheduled. Polite remains incarcerated at the Beaufort County Detention Center, where he has been held since his arrest in November 2020.
Jones is a member of the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office Career Criminal Unit, which prosecutes the circuit’s most violent and habitual offenders.
Tony Kukulich is a recent transplant to the Lowcountry. A native of Wilmington, Del., he comes to The Island News from the San Francisco Bay Area where he spent seven years as a reporter and photographer for several publications. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.