BEAUFORT, S.C. (December 11, 2019) – A Beaufort man has been convicted of murder in connection with the 2017 strangulation death of his wife.
Dale Eugene King, 55, was found guilty Wednesday of murdering Veronica King, who was 51 when she was killed May 15, 2017. After the General Sessions Court jury of seven women and five men delivered their verdict, Dale King was sentenced to 35 in prison.
“Veronica King’s death is both tragic and cautionary,” said Hunter Swanson, who prosecuted the case and leads the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office Special Victims Unit. “There was a history of alcohol and physical abuse in this relationship, and it turned deadly.
“Dale King killed his wife with his bare hands, and Veronica died nude and afraid, in her most vulnerable state.”
Beaufort Police were first called to the motel on Boundary Street where the Kings lived and worked in March 2017, after receiving a report of a domestic disturbance from a relative. Dale King denied any dispute between he and his wife, however, authorities noticed marks on Veronica King’s face. A family member who was visiting the couple reported that the Kings had been drinking alcohol and arguing much of the day. The family member also said that, while she was in the bathroom of the Kings’ room, she heard a physical altercation between them.
Officers photographed Veronica King’s injuries and charged Dale King with third-degree domestic violence.
He was out on bond when authorities were again called to their motel room May 15, 2017. That morning, Dale King claimed he awoke to find his wife dead on their couch. He initially denied harming his wife, but later admitted he struck her. A medical examiner at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston determined Veronica King suffered blunt-force trauma on her head, an abrasion near her tailbone and was strangled to death.
Strangulation can render a victim unconscious within seconds and cause death within minutes. It is often associated with domestic abuse and is considered a predictor of future lethal violence, according to the Alliance for HOPE International, which serves survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault and their children.
Swanson called 11 witnesses during the two-day trial, including the medical examiner and Beaufort Police Department officers.
Circuit Court Judge Edgar Dickson handed down the sentence.
The Special Victims Unit prosecutes domestic violence, sexual assault and other crimes against vulnerable populations. In addition to leading that team, Swanson is a member of the Solicitor’s Office Career Criminal Unit, which prosecutes the circuit’s most violent and habitual offender. That team has earned convictions against 358 of the 372 defendants it has prosecuted since its inception in late 2008.
The Solicitor’s Office and its nonprofit partners operate the 14th Circuit Victims Center, which can arrange shelter, counseling, legal assistance and other services to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and similar crimes. Services are available even to those whose abusers have not been charged with a crime.
For assistance, call 843-790-6220 or 1-800-868-2632.