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A judge denied bond for a Beaufort County man charged with killing his 34-year-old girlfriend and her 4-year-old son in Dale last month.
Earnest Stewart Daise, 27, faces two counts of murder and assault with intent to kill in the Nov. 15 shooting deaths of Jeanine Mullen and son Waltfredo-Davis Mullen at their home on Player Road. Daise is the father of a 2-year-old boy who was injured in the incident but survived.
He also is charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
The victims' family and friends watched as Judge J. Ernest Kinard handed down his decision in Beaufort County Circuit Court.
"I want to thank the court for denying the bond at this time," Frank Mullen, Jeanine's father, said during the hearing.
Daise can reapply for bond after March 10.
Deputy public defender Thomasine Trasi Campbell offered the court a few details of Daise's background. He was born and raised in Beaufort County and has relatives in Sumter. Daise worked as an apprentice and then became a brick mason, the attorney said.
On the day of the shooting, officers were called to Player Road at about 7 p.m. to reports of three gunshot victims. They found Mullen and her two sons shot inside their home. A relative had stopped by the house that evening and discovered the victims.
Officers searched Daise's residence after the shooting and found drugs. Daise was arrested the day after the shooting, held without bond and charged with trafficking crack cocaine and marijuana.
Deputy solicitor Angela McCall-Tanner cited Daise's criminal record, which dates to 1998 and includes multiple drug charges, along with possessing a firearm during the commission of a violent crime, resisting arrest and other charges. He has been arrested nine times in Beaufort County, according to the jail log.
Daise was sentenced to six years in prison on a 2001 aggravated-assault charge and has a pending domestic-violence charge from January, according to the jail log and court records.
Mullen was a single mother of four and worked as a kindergarten teaching assistant at Shanklin Elementary School. Her two other sons, ages 11 and 13, weren't at home during the shooting.
Alleen Porter, Shanklin Elementary assistant principal and a close friend of the victims, said Mullen's parents and friends are trying to stay strong for the three remaining children.
"It's hard," Porter said. "I take one day at a time. I'm just glad justice was served today."
The school and its Parent Teacher Organization plan to host a ceremony after the holidays to plant a tree and install a park bench in Mullen's honor, Porter said.