RIDGELAND, SC (October 31, 2019) – A Ridgeland man who shot an acquaintance after their argument turned violent, then concocted an elaborate alibi in an attempt to cover it up, has been convicted of murder and a gun-related offense.
David Eric Hugue Jr., 30, was found guilty Thursday of the murder of 34-year-old Lamar Heyward in February 2017. He was sentenced to 30 years in prison following the verdict from a Jasper County General Sessions Court jury of six women and six men. Hugue also was sentenced to five years for possession of a weapon during commission of a violent crime. The sentences are to be served concurrently.
“David Hugue tried to settle a dispute with a gun,” said Dustin Whetsel of the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office, who prosecuted the case. “This was a blatant act of violence that he tried to deny with a story full of blatant lies. He’s behind bars now because of dogged detective work by multiple agencies.”
Whetsel called 18 witnesses during the three-day trial.
Hugue and Heyward were among five people in a mobile home on Westberry Street, in the Old House area near Ridgeland. The two began arguing, then stepped outside, ostensibly to fight. However, almost as soon as they were through the front door, Hugue shot Heyward, then ran away. None of the other men saw Hugue fire the shot, but one went outside upon hearing the gunfire and saw Hugue running away. One of the witnesses called 9-1-1, but Heyward died of a single gunshot wound in the ambulance before reaching the hospital.
Hugue was questioned later that night at a home about a half mile away, where he lived with a relative. He told Jasper County sheriff’s deputies that he had been with his girlfriend in Beaufort all night. However, Solicitor’s Office investigators analyzed cellphone records and discovered Hugue’s phone was connected to a cell tower near the murder scene at about the time of the incident.
Sherrif’s Office and Solicitor’s Office investigators found several other discrepancies in Hugue’s story.
He named the girl he was with that night, describing her, the vehicle she drove and even what the grandchildren called her grandfather. However, authorities could find no such person. Hugue also told authorities he and his girlfriend ate at the Checkers Restaurant in Beaufort. However, that establishment closed 10 years earlier and had long since been demolished when Hugue shot Heyward to death in 2017.
Hugue also claimed not to know Heyward, but witnesses testified that the two knew each other well and were possibly related.
Hugue’s criminal record includes numerous charges of burglary and grand larceny, as well as resisting arrest.
Circuit Court Judge R. Ferrell Cothran Jr. handed down the sentence.
Whetsel is a member of the Solicitor’s Office Career Criminal Unit, which prosecutes the circuit’s most violent and habitual offenders. The Career Criminal Unit has earned convictions against 341 of 355 defendants it has prosecuted since its inception in late 2008.