On Aug. 11, 2016, four men broke into a home in Longs occupied by two boys and a teenage girl. During the burglary, the girl was sexually assaulted by two of the men.

Last week, one of those men -- who has a prior violent criminal record -- will now spend the rest of his life in prison.

On Aug. 21, Jeremy Williams, 37, of Longs, was convicted by a jury of first-degree criminal sexual conduct; first-degree burglary; first-degree assault and battery; armed robbery; kidnapping; and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime, according to Mary-Ellen Walter, the senior assistant solicitor who along with Leigh Andrew, an assistant solicitor, prosecuted the case.

After the jury announced the verdict, Circuit Court Judge Michael G. Nettles sentenced Williams to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the burglary charge and the kidnapping charge. He also sentenced him to 30 years in prison each for the sexual assault and armed robbery; 10 years in prison for the assault charge and five years for the weapons charge. The sentences will run concurrently.

The two male children were ages 8 and 12 when the home invasion took place.

Fifteenth Circuit Solicitor Jimmy Richardson said the four men held the three victims at gunpoint.

“Two of the men, including Williams, sexually assaulted the teen girl.

DNA evidence identified Williams in the incident in addition to the children and teen identifying Williams,” Richardson stated.

He said his office asked for Williams to receive life without parole because he was convicted of voluntary manslaughter in 2006. Williams was sentenced to 13 years for that charge and was released from prison in December 2015.

In that case, Williams was originally charged with murder for the shooting death of Paul Downer during what is believed was an armed robbery.

Because of problems during his interrogation by police, Williams pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter.

“He committed this crime and changed the lives of these victims forever,” Walter said of the 2016 crimes. “Life without parole is the only just sentence. . . . I’m thankful to the victims for having the courage to testify and to Horry County Police Department, especially Detective Brian Wilson, and the State Law Enforcement Division for their investigations.”

Fifteenth Circuit Solicitor Jimmy Richardson announces that on Monday, Aug. 19, 2019, a Myrtle Beach man pleaded guilty to murder in the death of his girlfriend.

Murder plea

In a separate case, a man was sentenced to prison after pleading guilty last week to murder because of the death of a Nichols woman.

Harley Dakota Gray, 26, of Myrtle Beach admitted to the 2018, stabbing death of his 28-year-old girlfriend Lindsey Stegner, said Thomas G. Terrell, the assistant solicitor who prosecuted the case with Senior Assistant Solicitor Lauree Richardson.

Circuit Court Judge Paul Burch presided over the hearing and sentenced Gray to 30 years in prison for the murder.

Horry County police were called to a home in the Nichols community on June 28, 2018, by Gray who told a 911 dispatcher that he needed to surrender to police because he woke up and his girlfriend was dead, according to an incident report. Authorities found Stegner, who had been stabbed 24 times, dead in a bed inside the home.

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