RIDGELAND, SC (October 14, 2021) – A Hampton County man has been convicted for his role in the 2015 double homicide of Ridgeland residents Bruce Specks, 33, and Shantay Jenkins, 27, whose bodies were found in a burned car in Hardeeville.
A Jasper County General Sessions jury on Thursday found Jonathan Antonio Nieves, also known as “Santana,” guilty of two counts of murder and one count of possession of a weapon during commission of a violent crime. Nieves, 27, received life sentences for both murder charges and five years for the gun offense.
“Nieves schemed to rob and murder the victims, then tried to conceal his actions with a fire,” said Deputy Solicitor Sean Thornton of the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office, who prosecuted the case. “The jury returned a just verdict.”
On Oct. 2, 2015, Specks and Jenkins were lured to the intersection of Whistle Stop Road and Tillman Road in Tillman, where Nieves participated in a scheme to rob them of money and drugs. They were killed during the robbery, and their bodies later discovered near Purrysburg Road in Hardeeville inside a burned-out 2009 Dodge Journey registered to Jenkins.
Both victims were identified using DNA analysis, and a medical examiner determined both were already dead when the vehicle was set afire. Specks suffered blunt force trauma to his head, and Jenkins was shot in the chest.
Thornton called 25 witnesses during three days of testimony at the Jasper County Courthouse. The trial was originally to have been conducted in March 2020 but was continued days before it was to begin because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Judge Carmen Mullen handed down the sentences.
Thornton is the leader of the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office Career Criminal Unit, which prosecutes the circuit’s most violent and habitual offenders. The team has secured convictions against 385 of the 404 defendants it has prosecuted since the team’s formation in late 2008.