A Woodruff man received the death sentence today for killing a Spartanburg County convenience store clerk during an armed robbery.
A jury of six men and six women deliberated for more than 31/2 hours before rendering its decision against Eric Dale Morgan, 21. Circuit Judge Derham Cole set the execution for May 9, 2004. The actual date of the execution will be determined once Morgan exhausts his appeals. Cole sentenced Morgan to serve 45 years in prison on armed robbery and possession of an explosive device convictions that occurred in the case.
Morgan murdered Jerry Allen Smith, 58, of Fountain Inn, during an armed hold-up that occurred May 3, 2003 at Max Saver, 5400 Highway 101. Morgan, who was 17 at the time, and Brandon Duncan, who was 16 at the time, confronted Smith while he left his family-owned business with more than $7,000. Morgan shot him in the head with a rifle.
The teens stuffed Smith’s body into his blue Lincoln Towncar and drove it to a field off Saw Pit Trace Road. During their investigation, Spartanburg County sheriff’s deputies recovered the murder weapon, the stolen money and a bomb that the teens thought about using to get into the convenience store.
Duncan received a 40-year prison sentence in February 2002 after he was convicted of murder, armed robbery and possession of an explosive device. Duncan was a store employee when the crime occurred.
Trey Gowdy teamed with Assistant Solicitor Derrick Bulsa and Deputy
Solicitor Donnie Willingham to try the cases.