SC man charged by feds in kidnapping, murder of 80-year-old Horry County grandmother

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A man who police say kidnapped and murdered an Horry County grandmother will face federal charges, and possibly the death penalty, a federal grand jury decided yesterday.

Dominique Devonah Brand, 29, of Marion, was charged in a three-count indictment with kidnapping resulting in death, carjacking resulting in death, and use of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence resulting in death of a person in such a manner to constitute murder.

Brand could receive a sentence of up to life without the possibility of parole or death on all counts.

Brand entered the home of Mary Ann Elvington in Nichols on March 28, 2021, and kidnapped her, the indictment detailed. Armed with a shotgun, Brand forced Elvington, 80, to drive him in her car to Lake Waccamaw, North Carolina, and then back to Lakeview, South Carolina.

There, outside of the Lakeview Police Department building, Brand forced Elvington into the back seat of the vehicle and drove away with her. This interaction was caught on surveillance video according to federal search warrants. Brand shot and killed Elvington near the Zion Crossroads in Marion County then drove her car to a wooded area behind a nightclub and abandoned it, according to the indictment.

Elvington’s car had OnStar tracking in it, but the emergency services company refused to reveal the location of the car to her children when they asked. The car’s location was not revealed until a missing person report was filed with Horry County police later that night. It was too late.

Brand will be arraigned by a United States Magistrate Judge at the McMillan Federal Courthouse in Florence, South Carolina, in the coming weeks. He is currently in custody on related state charges in Marion County.

The case was investigated by a joint team consisting of the Horry County Police Department, Marion County Sherriff’s Office, Dillon County Sherriff’s Office, Myrtle Beach City Police Department, Lakeview Police Department, and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division. The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Pee Dee Safe Streets Gang Task Force is also assisting in the investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Everett E. McMillian and Special Assistant United States Attorney Scott Hixson are prosecuting the federal case in close coordination with the 15th and 12th Circuit Solicitors’ Offices.

“While the indictment in this specific case speaks for itself, brazen violence, particularly against the elderly, will always be met with a strong, unified effort by law enforcement to bring the victims justice,” said Acting U.S. Attorney M. Rhett DeHart. “We will never waver in our work to stop violent crime in South Carolina.”

Brand has prior convictions

Brand is being held at the Marion County Detention Center without bond. In 2009, Brand was admitted to South Carolina Department of Corrections under the Youthful Offender Act. He was paroled in 2010 and finished the sentence in 2011.

He was back in jail on Feb. 10, 2012 after pleading guilty to five counts of second-degree burglary from Marion County. He was sentenced to 15 years, of which he was required to serve one-third before being eligible for parole, according to SC law.

He was released on parole in Marion County on April 13, 2018. If he had not been released on parole, he would have been released on supervised reentry in June 2019, according to a spokeswoman from the Department of Corrections. His official max-out date was December 2019.

Elvington remembered as ‘the best Grammy’

Mary Ann Elvington died how she lived, her son said, at the foot of the cross.

Elvington was born in Mullins, South Carolina, and graduated from Floyds High School in 1959. She married and graduated from Coker College in 1964 and from University of South Carolina in 1990.

She had three children, Margol, Harold and Hugh.

She was a devoted Christian, a beloved teacher and according to her family, “the best Grammy.”

“She would never miss a birthday or a ballgame,” her youngest son, Hugh, said.

All of Elvington’s three children spoke about her devotion to her Christian beliefs. Harold, her oldest son, said that his mother wasn’t afraid to die, because “she knew where she was going afterwards.”

Elvington was well known at Mt. Olive Baptist Church in Nichols. The 80-year-old taught Sunday school and was a faithful parishioner.

Elvington spent three decades teaching elementary school. Most of her students from Green Sea Elementary are now grown but they haven’t forgotten the impact Elvington had on them.

“You were the sweetest teacher. There was nothing you wouldn’t do for your students,” Shaquana Goodwin, a former student, wrote on a virtual tribute page. “Such a sweet spirit that spread through your teaching. It was a pleasure to have known you.”

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