BEAUFORT, SC (June 3, 2021) – A Hilton Head Island man has been convicted of murder in a
2018 shooting in a gas station parking lot.
Joseph Decoriyus Burton, 27, of Greens Road, was found guilty Thursday in Beaufort County
General Sessions Court for killing Christopher Shaun Fells. Burton was sentenced to 40 years in
prison. The jury of five men and seven women also convicted Burton of possession of a deadly
weapon during the commission of a violent crime. He received a two-year sentence for that
offense, which will run concurrently.
“Showing blatant disregard for human life, Joseph Burton turned an altercation that started with
fists into a deadly shooting,” said Mary Jones of the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office, who
prosecuted the case. “As a result, Shaun Fells suffered a long and painful death. This defendant
is going exactly where he needs to be.”
Fells, 39, of Hilton Head was one of at least 12 people at the Kangaroo Express on Palmetto Bay
Road when an argument erupted, ensnaring Fells. As the melee moved from inside the store to
the parking lot, Fells was first assaulted by two men, then shot by Burton. Video footage of the
parking lot shows Burton going to the front passenger seat of the car and grabbing a pistol. He
shoots five times, striking Fells each time.
The wounds rendered Fells a paraplegic and confined him to a long-term care facility in Florida.
An attempted-murder charge against Burton was upgraded five months later to murder after
Fells’ death. A pathologist, one of 15 witnesses called by the state, testified Fells died from
complications of a gunshot wound to the neck.
Burton’s criminal record includes an attempted robbery conviction (2011), unlawful use of a
telephone (2011); giving false information (2012) and unlawful carrying (2014).
Circuit Court Judge Robert Bonds handed down Thursday’s sentence. Charges against two co-defendants, Derrick Leoffies Frazier and Shaquille Zaquan Green, are still pending. Frazier and Green are innocent until proven otherwise.
Jones is a member of the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office Career Criminal Unit, a team that
prosecutes the circuit’s most violent and habitual offenders. She has been with the Solicitor’s
Office since 2012.