Judge sentences Roach to 25 years

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Judge sentences Roach to 25 years

By CHRIS BENDER<br><em>Gazette</em> staff writer
Published Thursday, March 20, 2003 in The Island Packet  |  292 Words  |  /BeaufortGazette/local_news

The co-defendant in the 2000 murder case of a Yemassee man was sentenced Tuesday to 25 years in prison for his role in the crime, said Deputy Solicitor Steve Knight.'
Ajanae Roach, 20, of Colleton County, was charged with murder, kidnapping and armed robbery for the May 2000 fatal shooting of James Dillard, 32, of Yemassee. '
Roach had agreed to plead guilty to voluntary manslaughter, kidnapping and armed robbery, and testify against Shameen Coker, 20, who was convicted on March 13 of murder, kidnapping and armed robbery in connection with Dillard's death. '
Coker was sentenced to 45 years in prison.'
Roach testified that Coker was the trigger man in the incident. Knight said the plea bargain was worked out the week before the trial.'
"The week preceding the trial, we put him on the polygraph machine and he passed," Knight said. "After that, we came to an agreement for the plea."'
Solicitor Randolph Murdaugh III said polygraph tests are not admissible in court.'
Knight said Roach was sentenced to 25 years for each count and the sentences would run concurrently. Knight said the victim's family was consulted about the proposal before going ahead with the plea bargain.'
Roach and Coker were at the Yemassee Chevron station on May 19, 2000, when they asked Dillard for a ride. They got in the car, and Roach allegedly pulled out a pistol and they forced Dillard into the trunk.'
The pair drove to McPhersonville Road and took Dillard out of the trunk. Coker took Dillard into a wooded area and shot him to death.'
The pair dumped the car in the Combahee River. They were arrested by Beaufort County Sheriff's Office investigators in December 2000.