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Thread: Billy Nathan Lee Convicted of Murder at Church

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    Taken from:
    http://www.myrtlebeachonline.com/142/story/373342.html
    http://www.scnow.com/midatlantic/scp...3-05-0006.html

    A judge sentenced 49-year-old Billy Nathan Lee to life in prison for the murder of Carma Russell, his estranged girlfriend, outside an Atlantic Beach church on March 4, 2006.

    Lee had several prior convictions including an assault charge against a North Carolina woman in 1975, and several convictions out of Georgetown County that included burglaries, robberies, and grand larcenies that Lee served 12 years of a 20 year sentence for. Lee was released from the South Carolina Department of Corrections in May of 2005.

    Lee said he made a promise to his mother during his prison stay that he would turn his life around and promised her he'd never go to prison again and testified he found a way to turn his life around with Russell and her three children.

    Lee became emotional when he recalled the early days of his relationship with Russell, then started blaming another woman for coming between him and Russell. The other woman happens to be Russell's pastor, Rev. Wendy Price, pastor of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church on 30th Avenue in Atlantic Beach. Lee testified that Price tried to break the two up, and was successful; a week before her death, Russell and her children moved out of an apartment they had shared with Lee.

    Lee admitted to getting the .380 caliber handgun from an Atlantic Beach man the day of the shooting, who, according to Solicitor Scott Hixson, is a drug dealer.

    Lee testified Tuesday he went to the church on the night of the shooting to talk with Russell. Lee said taking a gun with him was "a stupid mistake" and that Russell was killed when it accidentally fired. Lee testified he took the handgun with him that night to scare Russell, not to kill her.

    Detectives said Lee called Russell over to his van, which was parked in the church parking lot. Assistant solicitor, Scott Hickson told jurors that Lee held a gun to Russell's face, and after the gun failed to fire the first time he pulled the trigger again.

    "I did not intentionally kill Carma," he said. "I did a stupid act, but I did not intentionally kill her. I still have a place in my heart for the four children because they mean so much to me."

    Horry County Cpl. Joseph Neff testified that he responded to a call of shots fired and a possible victim. Prosecutors showed dash camera video to jurors that showed Lee, with his hands raised, walking up to Neff. "I did it. I'm the shooter," Neff testified Lee said.

    Lee told jurors that he made a bad decision that night, but he was not a killer and the gun went off accidentally.

    Tuesday afternoon, prosecutors rested their case following testimony from expert witnesses and a member of the church who testified she saw Lee fighting with Russell seconds before the shooting.

    Lee, who was animated Tuesday while testifying that the shooting was unintentional, and tearfully asked for forgiveness before his sentence was read, showed no emotion when Circuit Judge Steven John read his sentence.

    The slaying was one of three killings attributed to domestic violence in Horry and Georgetown counties in a four-day period.

    Louis "Mick" Winkler of Little River was sentenced to death on Feb. 8 after a jury found him guilty of killing his estranged wife, Rebekah Winkler, on March 6, 2006, in her condominium.

    Vladimir Pantovich of Murrells Inlet received an 18-year prison sentence after a jury found him guilty of manslaughter on Feb. 8 for killing his girlfriend with a baseball bat on March 7, 2006.
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    Comment: Several states prohibit legal gun owners from being defensively armed at church, even if they possess a state-issued carry permit. This is yet another case that shows how foolish such laws are.

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    He obtained a gun illegally - considering his prior conviction recordof violent crimes - took it to a place he wasn't supposed to have one in any case, pulled the trigger twice, and has the temerity to say it was an accident. This guy is the dumbest sumbitch on earth. Definitely should have shot himself while he was in the mood to play with a gun.

    -ljp

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    I think you guys covered the comments - laff.
    Bob Owens @ Bearing Arms (paraphrased): "These people aren't against violence; they're very much in favor of violence. They're against armed resistance."

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    Comment: Several states prohibit legal gun owners from being defensively armed at church, even if they possess a state-issued carry permit. This is yet another case that shows how foolish such laws are.
    This case had nothing to do with it being armed at a church other than he knew that is where she would be. He was breaking the law by even having a gun in his posession whether it was at a church or any other place. He was also openly displaying it which was against the law. They were also in the parking lot of the church which is not a prohibited place for guns in SC.



    (M) A permit issued pursuant to this section does not authorize a permit holder to carry a concealable weapon into a:

    (9) church or other established religious sanctuary unless express permission is given by the appropriate church official or governing body; or

    Gun laws didn't stop this but lets not get carried away.


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    "Lee testified Tuesday he went to the church on the night of the shooting to talk with Russell. Lee said taking a gun with him was "a stupid mistake" and that Russell was killed when it accidentally fired. Lee testified he took the handgun with him that night to scare Russell, not to kill her.


    Detectives said Lee called Russell over to his van, which was parked in the church parking lot. Assistant solicitor, Scott Hickson told jurors that Lee held a gun to Russell's face, and after the gun failed to fire the first time he pulled the trigger again."

    WHAT? Yeah, the jury is going to believe that crap. I accidentally pulled the trigger twice.....muscle spasms, you know?


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    Don't you think that the second pull on that trigger should have made him eligible for the death penalty? That and the 4 children left behind that he "cared" about.

    I'm rarely for the DP, because an error can't be taken back. But this is one I sure would have approved!

    I realize this is old news, but Tru TV's Insession is playing the trial now.



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    I agree totally Snowbird . . . I am watching also. It is a total shame, and my heart goes out to those children.

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    They (Insession) apparently just explained why not the Death Penalty, but I missed it. Did you get it?

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    I didn't hear it either, as I have been doing housework while watching. . . sorry . . . Maybe they will tell it again. If I hear, I will let you know. She was from Alabama. Did you know her? I wonder what happened to the children? I will try to find out something. How old was she? Hope you are having a blessed day.

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    I did a search, and she had previously lived in Atmore and Birmingham, Alabama.

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    https://sword.doc.state.sc.us/incarceratedInmateSearch/

    He must have sat in jail for awhile before he was admitted to prison this past March. He really looks bitter. :shock:


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    Me too. I had the vacumn cleaner running.I never heard of her until this trial. She was only 31 when she was killed. The Atlantic Beach Christian Methodist Episcopal Church has a fund for her children - as does Wachovia Bank in N. Myrtle Beach. Carma had created a play about the history of Atlantic Beach which was supposed to open on the day she died. The article didn't say what happened to the children.

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    In some states if you confess to the killing, you are automatically spared from a DP sentence. Perhaps that is what happened here.

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    Maybe thats it. Thanks for that inmate search site. WOW - he is one scary looking dude!

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    They just had Carma's uncle Wayne Russell on; he is in Bayonne NJ. Says the kids are having a hard time but getting counselling. Sounds like the kids have alot of family and maybe they are in NJ.

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    Im new at this, but I thought since I had a day off i would turn the TV on. Well I saw this case on TV...Amazing...guess what, its being trailed in my home town comal county. This is the saddest thing and so close to home. My heart goes out to those kids and the family. Im so speechless. I am lifting them up in prayer that angels will surround them and assit them. God Bless...

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    I know . . . Do you know why they did not go for the death penalty? We missed that part.

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    It's stiill going on...They are trying to still prove that it was an accident. it's not possible. just bying time.

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    Hi my name is Tshombe Perry I think that billy needs to be laiddown as well as carma was. What is he trying to defend that he's an *******. How could you love someone and put a gun to their head and accidently shoot this person. He should have not even pulled the gun out, were i come from ,when you pull out make sure you use it. His intentions was deadly he needs to face the death penalty

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    What burns me up is that he was a convicted felon, and should never have been carrying a gun. And why did he need to load the gun if his intent was just to scare her. This should have never happened.

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    I agree 100% . . . He lucked up not to get the DP . . .

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    :XThis really makes me mad, and itgoes toshowus thatwe really should get a background check on the peoplewe get involved with if possible. It is a shame that the world we live in has came to this in order to try and protect ourselves and our families from " Crazies out there". I have two girls and one is married, I sure wish I would have gotten a BG check on him. The other one has not gotten married get, but I encourage her to get one. I'm sure this woman wouldn't have gave this man the time of day if she hadknew abouthis past, as wouldn'ta lot of us. I am veryglad he got convicted, although we know he's no stranger to prison. He was then and is now anunstable person.I hope he never get out! We all know life doesn't always mean life, but in many cases it should;I hope the is one of those cases. All my prayers goes out to her family. I hope those babies still are able to grow into strong, caring, and happy adults, regardless of whatthe fool they mother tried to befriend done to her........

    Signed,

    Against Domestic Abuse!





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    It's even worse here. (huntsville, al)
    A carjacker put gun to drivers head and shot him, and
    the jury believed it was an accident he didn't now it was loaded, and aquitted him.
    You pull gun, point at someone and pull trigger, you should fry for it.
    I'm wiling to let them go for time off by playing russian rulette with the gun.
    Would stop bad guys from using semi's, first one works every time, revolver you have a chance.

    One more reason never to shirk jury duty, there are idiots out there.

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    That's the thing, Billy doesn't even know what love is. How respectful, you walk in a church, to argue, bring a gun, and to teach a leason. He doesn't have a great passed, and death well Im not God so that's not my judgement. But behind bars where he can not hurt anyone else I agree. Just holding a gun makes you a diffrent person, so when you have it in your hand, the choice needs to be a clear one.

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    Dismissed jury until Tomorrow i guess. maybe the Verdict will be in tomorrow.

    The minister was on the bench and she stated that it was a childrens play that was taking place at the church and that she did invite him to attend as a family.

    That makes this whole story so much more hurtful...Oh my, I dont understand why?, Im acttually crying for those kids...Im done for the day. God Bless Ya'll. Joemarie

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