Friday, August 26, 2016
Brittany Emoesha Epps of Kingstree was sentenced to 45 years in connection with the murder of 87-year-old Greeleyville resident Joseph Brown. Officers discovered Brown's body in the trunk of his Cadillac in a wooded area on Kindale Park Road. Epps, who was a juvenile at the time of the murder, was also sentenced to 5 years for possession of a firearm during a violent crime. Epps was convicted in a jury trial on July 29, 2016. Her sentences will be served concurrently.
At the time of Epps' arrest, then 18-year-old Jessica Blair Jackson of Conway was charged with murder but the charge was later reduced upon her guilty plea to attempted murder. Jackson received a sentence of 15 years in prison.
According to the Williamsburg County Sheriff's Office, Epps and Jackson rode with the victim to a cookout at his nephew's home in Greeleyville in the early evening hours of March 29, 2014. The nephew testified that the victim left the cookout after 9:00 p.m. driving his vehicle toward Kingstree with Epps in the front seat and Jackson in the rear.
Shortly before midnight, law enforcement responded to Kindale Park Road in reference to what was initially reported to a 911 dispatcher by Epps as an accidental, self-inflicted gunshot wound to Jackson's hand. Jackson and Epps walked to the home of an area neighbor, who Epps told that Jackson was hurt in a “hunting accident in Nesmith.” Jackson was taken by EMS to local hospital for treatment of her injury. Later, a deputy found the victim's bloodied vehicle wrecked into the woods near an abandoned mobile home on Kindale Park Road.
Following her release from a local hospital, Jackson was transported to the sheriff's office after discovery of her purse and ID in the back seat of the victim's vehicle. Evidence presented at trial was that Epps and Jackson conspired to rob and kill the victim. Jackson testified that while she was seated behind the victim, who was in the driver's seat, she attempted to strangle him and was accidentally shot by Epps, who repeatedly fired upon the victim while she was in the front passenger seat. The victim died of multiple gunshot wounds to the head.
A key chain belonging to the victim’s vehicle was recovered from the yard of a residence where Epps admitted going after the murder. The murder weapon, which was believed to be the victim’s own handgun, was never recovered.