Two men killed, both by multiple gunshots

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By Sally Mahan

Two men were shot multiple times and killed in separate incidents over the course of a week.

The first victim was Javon Winston, 23, of Bluffton, who was shot a dozen times. The second was Marquise Singleton, 21, of St. Helena Island.

Javon Winston
Javon Winston

Winston was found in a ditch on Cooks Landing Road in Hardeeville on July 26.

According to a Bluffton Police Department report, Winston was reported missing at about noon on July 26 by his mother, Gwendolyn Miller.

Miller told police she had not seen her son since July 24, when they went to church. She also said they had a conversation about him going to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting.

However, later in the day “Winston became irritable and on edge … and told Miller he was going to Savannah Memorial Hospital to see a friend,” according to the report.

Miller said she told Winston that she was concerned because he was not feeling well and he was “acting unusual.” He reassured his mother that he would get examined at Savannah Memorial.

According to the report, Miller was on the phone with another person who was in the hospital waiting room with Winston, and Miller that could hear him arguing and yelling.

Winston then walked outside and was seen sitting underneath a tree in the hospital parking lot at about 3 p.m. The person Miller was talking with said she was talking to a nurse and looked back outside for Winston, but he was gone.

Marquise Singleton
Marquise Singleton

Miller told police that she “knew Winston was possibly angry or upset with unknown individuals due to the drugs he had bought and taken the night before.”

Miller said she was unsure what type of drug it was, but “knew it was something like Ecstasy.”

She tried to get in touch with her son several times over the next couple of days, but his phone went to voicemail. Additionally, Winston’s girlfriend had not seen or heard from him.

On July 26, the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call regarding a black man’s body in a ditch on Cooks Landing Road at the end of the pavement. There, investigators from the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office began processing the crime scene until the South Carolina Law Enforcement (SLED) Crime Scene Division arrived.

Winston had been in the ditch for at least two days, and it is likely that he was shot elsewhere and the body was dumped in the ditch.

The Jasper County Sheriff’s Office Investigation Division, along with SLED, began to reach out to surrounding agencies to see if anyone had filed a missing persons report. Bluffton Police Department investigators went to the scene and identified the body as Javon Vincent Winston.

Martin Sauls, Jasper County coroner, said Winston was shot 12 times and the shots that likely killed him were ones “right to the heart and one to the head.”

Funeral arrangements were being made at press time. Davis Professional Funeral Services in Griffin, Ga., was in charge of arrangements.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office at 843-726-7779 or the Silent Witness Tip Hotline at 1-800-446-1006.

In the St. Helena incident, at about 10:45 p.m. on July 31, Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to reports from passing motorists of an unresponsive person in the driver’s seat of a car.

When they arrived on the scene on Sam Doyle Road on St. Helena Island they found Singleton in the driver’s seat with multiple gunshot wounds. Motorists helped remove him from the car and started CPR until EMS arrived.

He was taken to Beaufort Memorial Hospital by EMS and pronounced dead a short time later.

Evidence recovered on Sam Doyle Road leads Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office investigators to believe the shooting occurred a short distance from where the victim was found in his vehicle.

A forensic autopsy of Singleton was performed at the Medical University of South Carolina, but results were not available at press time.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Sgt. Angela Crumpton at 843-255-3707 or CrimeStoppers at 1-888-CrimeSC.