Billy Cannada Staff Writer
November 20, 2013
PICKENS COUNTY – A Greenville man will spend the next six decades in prison after being found guilty of murder and grand larceny in connection with a shooting that took the life of Sean Dinneen in Easley in 2011.
A jury found 27-year-old Tavish Yeargin guilty after deliberation Wednesday afternoon. Judge Robin Stilwell handed down the 60-year sentence.
“He’ll be 87 before he gets out,” Prosecutor Doug Richardson said. “That’s hard time. I do (think the verdict was fair).”
Authorities found Dinneen dead in the parking lot of Crosswell Baptist Church on Sept. 17 of 2011.
Dinneen died of a single gunshot wound.
Prosecutors say Yeargin shot Dinneen and stole his Pontiac, fleeing to several cities before being arrested in Asheville, N.C.
Authorities later recovered the car.
Nyia Utsey and Kayla Williams were also arrested in connection with the murder and grand larceny. According to testimony, both women were with Yeargin the night of the shooting. Utsey and Williams testified against Yeargin during the trial and said Yeargin pulled the trigger.
Richardson said he is hoping Utsey and Williams’ cases will be heard before the end of the year. The prosecutor expects they will plead guilty, but said he does not know if they will be given a lesser sentence.
Richardson said the killing was ultimately about money.
“This was a killing about money and property,” Richardson said. “Nyia (Utsey) and Ms. Williams are just as guilty as (Yeargin).
“He killed him because he wanted the car,” Richardson told the jury. “He got the car. He got the prize.”
Defense attorney John DeJong said during the trial Utsey and Williams’ testimony could not be trusted.
“This case boils down to two witnesses,” DeJong said. “You can’t even put (Yeargin) at the scene without those two witnesses.”
DeJong told the jury the state needed more proof against Yeargin.
“The state must have more than a dead body to prove murder,” DeJong said. “They must have malice of forethought.”