DNA taken from a 9 mm shell casing at the scene of an April 2012 murder will be compared to the man believed by the Aiken Department of Public Safety to have committed that crime and several others.
Brandon K. Ingram, 22, of Lawrence Street, is charged with murder, three counts of attempted murder and one count of being in possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime. One of those attempted murder charges stems from a separate shooting incident.
Thursday afternoon, Circuit Court Judge Doyet A. “Jack” Early granted Assistant Solicitor Beth Ann Young’s request for a buccal swab to be obtained from Ingram. Soon afterward, Ingram’s swabs were taken in the presence of his attorney Martin Peutz.
The pair of swabs will be sent to the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division laboratory to produce a DNA profile. This profile will be tested against one developed from an ejected 9 mm shell casing at the scene of the murder of Rickie L. Harden.
Harden was killed in retaliation for “a botched drug deal earlier in the day,” according to Capt. Marty Sawyer of Public Safety who testified at the hearing.
Harden, while sleeping next to his wife, was shot in head. He was shot through the wall of his home from outside. The victim’s wife and son were also injured in the attack, from which law enforcement recovered 11 shell casings.
Sawyer testified that Ingram was driven to the Abbeville Avenue home of Harden by a young woman. During the investigation, the woman’s movements have been tracked by an Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms expert using mobile phone interactions with cell towers.
Peutz attacked the veracity of the witnesses Sawyer’s case included, one of whom is currently charged with murder and others who have repeatedly lied to law enforcement in this case.
Peutz so vigorously attacked the prosecution’s case that Early wondered aloud if he was objecting to the cheek swabs being taken.
“Are you objecting to the Schmerber Mr. Peutz? All that you’ve said seems to say your client is innocent and so wouldn’t be opposed to it.” Early said.
“Your honor, for the record, I am opposed,” the defense attorney stated.
“The Schmerber” hearing is named for the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case, California vs. Schmerber, where the court affirmed the right of law enforcement, under stringently limited conditions, to take blood samples from alleged criminals for evidentiary purposes.
One of Ingram’s attempted murder charges is the result of a second incident which took place in the Beech Island area four days earlier. A DNA profile has also been developed from that shooting, an incident at which Ingram is placed by several witnesses.