BEAUFORT, SC (May 9, 2019) – A Hilton Head Island man who shot a 17-year-old rival in broad daylight as he walked along a busy pedestrian path in the town’s Coligny Circle area has been convicted of murder.
John Ira Duncan III, now 19, was found guilty Thursday by a Beaufort County General Sessions Court jury in the killing of Dominique Williams. The jury of four men and eight women needed just 11 minutes to reach its verdict.
“John Ducan walked up to Dominique Williams, put a gun in his face and pulled the trigger,”
14th Circuit Solicitor Duffie Stone told the jury during his closing argument. “There was no argument, no fight, no struggle.”
Duncan was a 15-year-old juvenile when the shooting took place in late afternoon July 19, 2015, however a Family Court judge ruled in 2017 that he should be tried as an adult.
Duncan faces a prison term of 30 years to life. He will be sentenced at a later date and remains in the Beaufort County Detention Center.
Stone called 16 witnesses during two days of testimony. Several were mutual acquaintances who described three days of escalating violence between Duncan and Williams, both former students at Hilton Head Island High School.
On the Friday before the murder, Williams approached Duncan to purchase marijuana but instead stole the drugs. A day later, the two came face to face again and fought. The scuffle was captured on video by an onlooker. Witnesses said there was no clear winner of the fight, but Duncan vowed to kill Williams if he didn’t have his marijuana or payment for it by 7 p.m. the next day.
That Sunday, Duncan and a friend were walking near the Coligny traffic circle when they spotted Williams, who was walking with two friends. Duncan hurriedly approached the group, pulled from his pants a .40-caliber handgun that was concealed in a purple Crown Royal bag and fired one shot into Williams’ face from close range.
Witnesses testified that Duncan shouted, “That’s what you get!” before running away.
Two bystanders called 911 and administered CPR to Williams, but by the time emergency management services workers arrived a few minutes later, he was already dead.
Duncan turned himself in to Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office investigators two days after the shooting. The murder weapon was never recovered. However, Stone used eye-witness testimony, phone records and social media posts to prove to the jury that Duncan acquired a .40-caliber handgun the day of the shooting with the intent to kill Williams.
“The irony of this case is that John Duncan got exactly what he wanted,”
Stone said. “He wanted respect, and how did he get it? He killed for it.”
Deputy Solicitor Sean Thornton and Assistant Solicitor Julie Butner assisted in the prosecution.