‘A Funny Feeling Something’s Gonna Happen’: Who Shot Convenient Store Clerk?

In nov 2004, 24-year-old Willard Grandstaff was working hard in the Kangaroo Express convenience store in Richland County, Sc. 

Grandstaff, 24, was explained family and buddies as shy and introverted but additionally protective. He loved his job: running the check out, cleaning, and stocking shelves. He imagined of studying computer engineering. 

But Grandstaff’s existence found an abrupt, tragic finish as he was shot and wiped out because he labored the overnight shift. 

Soon after night time on September 27, 2004, “he was discovered by two women who stopped to obtain gas,” John Metz, in the Richland County Sheriff’s Dept., told “Final Moments,” airing Sundays at 7/6c on Archiweekend. 

Grandstaff was on the ground with bloodstream round his mind. When EMS showed up, he had been dead.

Before heading into work Grandstaff had spoken together with his friend Robert Cribb, who’d shared that he’d had an eerie premonition. 

“I told him … I acquired an interesting feeling something’s gonna happen,” he stated. “I don’t like Willard to become out working at night since i don’t trust individuals.” 

Grandstaff assured uncle that he’d sign in by telephone after night time. However that call never came.

Sheriffs spoken with the ladies who’d found Grandstaff and known as 911, while crime scene investigators guaranteed and combed the shop for evidence, Deputy Chief Stan Cruz, from Richard County Sheriff’s Dept., told producers.

Government bodies observed that Grandstaff have been shot within the mind at close range. Switched-over display racks indicated there’d been challenging, and also the crime scene unit retrieved a .38 caliber covering casing.

Additionally they centered on the in-store home security camera and guaranteed the videotape. They wished the footage would reveal who committed the crime.

The surveillance video demonstrated two men outfitted in dark clothes, putting on masks and transporting guns, entering the shops. Among the assailants went behind the counter to take advantage of the check out, as the other was watch. Grandstaff, who’d been at the back of the shop, emerged and it was faced by one of these.

Another man leaped over-the-counter to fight the clerk. Grandstaff declined to give money and that he was shot prior to the men ran out.

“Another essential factor the investigators saw was once the slender guy leaped over-the-counter … his palm touched the counter,” stated upon the market special agent Rita Shuler. The counter was processed hoping acquiring a palm print or DNA that may see that man.

Investigators needed to take into account that the murderers might have had were built with a grudge against Grandstaff. That type of analysis brought detectives to consider an earlier attempted robbery Grandstaff have been associated with at the shop. They reviewed the safety footage and determined the perpetrator was by no means a match either to man within the store on September 28.

Days following the murder, the situation what food was in a dead stop. Investigators wished that fingerprint and DNA evidence in the counter risk turning the situation within the right direction. Regrettably, the crime scene produced no helpful forensic evidence, John Meadors, former deputy solicitor, told “Final Moments.”

“The trail grew to become cold so we were eager for a lead,” stated Cruz. “We were in a stalemate.” 

In March 2006 investigators started benefiting from traction. A narcotics arrest is made against Chris Ellis, who arrived at to government bodies. He stated he’d significant details about the Grandstaff situation. By discussing it he wished to achieve a benefit in the own situation.

“He had specific information regarding the particular crime itself,” stated Cruz. “He understood the particular caliber from the weapon involved that is very significant.”

To find out when the prison informant was completely being truthful, he was handed a polygraph test. He unsuccessful the exam and finally came clean, naming his cousin, Lamont Ellis, then 33, among the men within the Kangaroo Express videotape.

“He was telling on a relative, which isn’t simple to do,” stated Meadors. That put into the informant’s credibility.

Jaime Marrero, then 24, was recognized by Chris Ellis because the shooter. The physical options that come with the boys named because the suspects matched the 2 within the video. 

These were driving a relative’s vehicle during the time of the murder, based on investigators.

After Marrero requested Chris Ellis to eliminate the gun, the informant told officials he thrown it inside a rural pond. It had been looked for several days, but no gun was discovered.

With no murder weapon, investigators attempted to construct their situation one other way. They enlisted Chris Ellis to Marrero to find out if he’d incriminate themself as the conversation had been recorded.

“The content from the conversation corroborated Chris’ information immediately,” investigators told “Final Moments.” “And which was significant to Chris’s credibility.”

Lamont Ellis sitting lower with investigators and shared understanding of why and how Grandstaff died when Marrero lost his awesome. 

After detectives got Lamont Ellis’ statement and that he fully corroborated Chris Ellis’ tip, which was enough for sheriffs to secure an arrest warrant for Marrero.

Investigators ongoing to construct their situation despite his arrest. A jailhouse telephone call between Marrero and the girlfriend brought sheriffs to talk with her by themselves. She told police force that her boyfriend had confessed to her.

Lamont Ellis was billed with assault and robbery, while Marrero was billed using the murder of Willard Grandstaff. His trial started in September 2008.

Lamont Ellis was sentenced to 5 years for conspiracy and ten years for assault. Jaime Marrero was sentenced to 3 decades imprisonment for that murder of Willard Grandstaff.

To understand more about the situation, watch “Final Moments,” airing Sundays at 7/6c on Archiweekend or stream episodes here. 

Written by Stephanie Green

I am dreamer and book reader.

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