LOCAL MAN RECEIVES 45-YEAR PRISON SENTENCE FOR FATAL HOLD-UP ATTEMPT
A Spartanburg County man received a 45 - year prison sentence today after he was found guilty of killing a man during an attempted hold-up.
Jurors deliberated about 35 minutes before convicting Gary Piper, 31, of murder, 2 counts of attempted armed robbery and pointing and presenting a firearm. Piper shot Alberto Chavez, 34, to death Dec. 22, 2006 at a Tharon Drive home.
Witnesses said Piper entered the home about 10 p.m. and brandished a handgun. He demanded money or drugs from Chavez and a second person. Chavez sustained a fatal head wound. Piper fled the crime scene after the gun fire.
Sheriff’s deputies said a Crime Stopper’s tip identified Piper as a suspect. City police recovered the murder weapon days after the homicide during their probe into an unrelated crime.
Ballistics tests on the weapon and taped recordings of Piper’s telephone calls from jail further implicated him in the murder, according to Assistant Solicitor Derrick Bulsa.
Piper was charged with the murder in February.
“Alberto Chavez’s murder was a senseless homicide,” Bulsa said.
Piper’s prior criminal record spanned 14 years with multiple convictions for burglary, grand larceny, shoplifting, failure to stop for a blue light and leaving the scene of a wreck with death.
Piper is not eligible for parole.