Possible Hate Crime In Case of Black Man Shot, Dragged

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Authorities have arrested a South Carolina man who is suspected of shooting a black coworker, then roped his body to a pickup truck and dragged it more than 10 miles.

Gregory Collins, 19, has been arrested for the murder of Anthony Hill, 30; the two worked together at a poultry processing plant, had spent most of the day together on Tuesday, and were at Collins’s mobile home late Tuesday evening. Hill’s body was found early Wednesday on U.S. Highway 176, with a trail of blood leading back to the mobile home.

According to the Newberry County coroner, Hill died from a single gunshot wound to the head, and was dead before Collins tied the body with a nylon rope, attached it to his truck, and dragged it nearly eleven miles before the rope snapped. The tree-lined, rural road along which Hill’s body was dragged passes through hilly areas with large country homes and farmhouses. A large bloodstain was visible in the right lane of the asphalt road. Authorities said they planned to wash the blood away on Thursday.

Collins refused to come out of his mobile home for several hours, until SLED agents fired tear gas into his home. When he did emerge, he wore an empty pistol holder, but was not armed. He was taken into custody and is being detained at the local jail. No bond has yet been set for him, and he does not have an attorney, said a spokesperson for the county.

Officers from local law enforcement agencies, including the Newberry County Sheriff’s Department and the State Law Enforcement Division, are working in tandem with the FBI to determine whether or not the incident can be classified as a hate crime. South Carolina does not currently have a hate crime statute, but if evidence warrants, Collins could face federal hate crime charges.

The investigation is looking into whether or not the men had a previous relationship, or if they had been drinking or doing drugs together the day before the murder. The director of the State Law Enforcement Division, Reggie Lloyd, indicated that there was some evidence that linked the men, but that authorities did not want to discuss it until investigating further.

“We don’t want to attribute something to Collins that isn’t necessarily true,” Lloyd said. “But out of precaution, given the circumstances, we are investigating the racial angle.”

Neither man had a serious criminal record.

 

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