ALLENDALE, S.C. (Dec. 13, 2023) – An Allendale man who gunned down an unarmed rival in a broad-daylight shooting – while his own son sat in his vehicle – has been sent to prison.
An Allendale Count General Sessions jury found Courdell Dejuan Loadholt, 36, guilty Wednesday of the 2019 murder of 20-year-old Michael “Chuckie” Jaqueze Bethea. He was sentenced to 30 years in prison.
“This defendant told law enforcement that he acted in self-defense, but there is no credible evidence to support that assertion,” said Reed Evans of the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office, who prosecuted the case. “The jury didn’t believe the story he concocted. They believed the evidence that undermined that story.”
Loadholt and the victim’s aunt were co-workers and had been involved in a running dispute in the weeks before the murder.
At about 6:20 p.m. on Aug. 30, 2019, Loadholt was driving with his 12-year-old son in his vehicle when he saw Bethea walking toward Barton Road. Loadholt stopped, retrieved a semi-automatic pistol from the back seat and confronted Bethea. Following a brief verbal exchange, Loadholt fired several shots at the victim, striking him three times in the back.
A passing motorist, who is a nurse, saw Bethea crawling in the road. She and her passenger, who also is a nurse, did not see the shooting. They applied pressure to Bethea’s wounds, then put him in their vehicle and drove him to the hospital, where he died about a half-hour later.
Loadholt drove from the scene to a relative’s house and called 9-1-1. He told police that Bethea had a gun and cocked it during their dispute. However, no gun was found at the scene, and those who attended to Bethea say he was not armed. Loadholt surrendered the gun he used to shoot Bethea, and firearms analysts from the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division confirmed it fired the shell casings recovered at the scene.
Evans called 10 witnesses during two days of testimony at the Allendale County Courthouse.
Loadholt’s criminal history includes convictions for petit larceny and resisting arrest.
Circuit Court Judge Carmen T. Mullen handed down the sentence.
Evans is a member of the Solicitor’s Office Career Criminal Unit, which prosecutes the circuit’s most violent and habitual offenders. That team has secured convictions against 478 of the 522 defendants it has prosecuted since its inception in 2009.
Courdell Dejuan Loadholt