Deputies said Ronnie Gene Wallace, 42, died after being attacked and beaten with sticks and 2-by-4 boards on Silver Mine Road in Indian Land.
Four Indian Land men — some of whom neighbors say were distant cousins of the victim — have been arrested and charged with first-degree lynching.
“Nobody deserves to die like that, nobody does. It’s awful,” said a neighbor who asked us not to use her name.
She said she saw shadows in the dirt and gravel road in front of her house around 10 p.m. Friday.
“Then I heard a lot of yelling, a lot of screaming, and I went in, got my phone, called 911, came back out, and saw him hit him in the head with a 2-by-4,” the woman said.
The neighbor couldn’t tell who was holding the 2-by-4 but she knew the victim was Wallace. She had known him since their childhood in Pineville.
She saw Wallace’s brother, Tommy, running up the road and then saw him kneel by his brother’s side.
She said the Wallace brothers lived a few doors down from the where the suspects were gathered that day, and the two households had been fighting all day.
“The Wallace boys had been calling down, harassing the Steens most of the afternoon, and it just kind of escalated from there,” she said.
Deputies came out earlier in the afternoon, but after they left the Wallaces returned to the Steens’ home across the street, she said. She said the Wallaces returned home, but men came after them and the two groups clashed in the street.
Ronnie Wallace stumbled to a neighbor’s yard and collapsed.
Deputies arrested four men Saturday for the attack. Steven Ray Steen, 22; Marty Player, 24; Evan Starck, 28; and Shawn Starck, 33; are all being held in the Lancaster County Detention Center with no bond.
Steen lives in the house near where the attack took place.
First-degree lynching in South Carolina is defined as an attack by a mob, which results in a death. It does not necessarily include hanging or racially-motivated hate crimes, as commonly thought.
It is punishable by death, but a judge can also sentence those convicted of lynching to five to 40 years in prison.
Tommy Wallace declined to talk about the incident Saturday when contacted at the home he shared with his twin brother, but his face was bruised from the fight.
The neighbor who witnessed it all said the melee has put the neighborhood on edge. “There’s a sense of, ‘How can this happen in our neighborhood with all of our kids out?’ You know, my kids are in the house today.”
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