SPARTANBURG COUNTY MAN RECEIVES DEATH SENTENCE FOR STORE CLERK MURDER
A Spartanburg County man has been sentenced to death for the abduction, rape and murder of a local convenience store clerk.
A jury deliberated for nearly three hours before issuing its verdict against Fredrick Evins, 36. Circuit Judge Ned Miller set the execution for Jan. 19, 2005. The execution will likely be delayed for years while the case moves through the appeals process.
Evins is the fifth person sentenced to death during the four-year tenure of Solicitor Trey Gowdy.
On Monday, Evins was found guilty of murder, first-degree criminal sexual conduct, kidnapping and grand larceny in connection to the death of convenience store clerk 32-year-old Rhonda Ward of Spartanburg. Wardís nude body was found in an apple orchard about a quarter-mile of the shoulder off Gano Drive on Feb. 15, 2003. Two days earlier, Evins took Ward from her job at Cigarettes 4 Less on Drayton Road, sexually assaulted her and stabbed her a dozen times in her arms and chest. He used the money he stole from her to fund a drug binge.
During the penalty phase of the trial, Solicitor Trey Gowdy, Principal Deputy Solicitor Barry Barnette and Assistant Solicitor John Anthony based their argument for death off Evinsí extensive criminal record. Evins criminal past dates back 18 years with multiple convictions for criminal sexual conduct and robbery. Several other serious charges were dismissed before the cases reached court.