14th Circuit Solicitor's Office​

Allendale, Beaufort, Colleton, Hampton and Jasper counties​

St. Helena man convicted of murder in convenience store parking lot

Trasi Campbell

A Beaufort County man who shot at two unarmed people parked at a St. Helena Island convenience store has been sent to prison.

Deavion Jahquwan Burgess, 20, of St. Helena Island was found guilty of murder Thursday in the April 2020 shooting of Quinton Ventress. A Beaufort County General Sessions jury also found Burgess guilty of the attempted murder of another passenger in the car and of possession of a weapon during commission of a violent crime. He was sentenced to life in prison.

“This was a vengeful, broad-daylight killing that took place in the heart of the St. Helena community,” said Trasi Campbell of the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office, who prosecuted the case. “Mr. Burgess presented a lethal threat to that community.”

Ventress and another passenger were parked in front of a convenience store at 803 Sea Island Parkway while the vehicle’s driver was inside the store making a purchase. Burgess was a passenger in a white Nissan Sentra that pulled up to a gas pump behind the parked car. As he walked toward the store entrance, Burgess looked into the vehicle where Ventress sat, stopped, pulled a gun from his pocket and fired five rounds into the vehicle.

Burgess then ran back to the vehicle in which he arrived, and the driver sped away to the Eddings Point area of St. Helena.

Ventress, 26, was stuck in the neck by a bullet that lodged near his spine, a pathologist from the Medical University of South Carolina testified. Ventress was rendered a quadriplegic and spent the next five months hospitalized and on a ventilator. He died in September from complications of his injury, the pathologist said.

The murder weapon was never recovered. However, the shooting was captured on the store’s surveillance system, and Burgess’ DNA was discovered in the white Nissan. The driver of that vehicle testified that, after the shooting, she drove the car away as Burgess instructed her to and that Burgess indicated he intended to shoot at both passengers.

Campbell called 19 witnesses during two days of testimony at the Beaufort County Courthouse.

Judge Robert Bonds handed down the sentence.

Campbell is a member of the Solicitor’s Office Career Criminal Unit, which prosecutes the circuit’s most violent and habitual offenders. The team has earned convictions against 411 of the 440 defendants it has prosecuted since its formation in 2009.

Deavion Jahquwan Burgess, 20, of St. Helena Island, SC