Sumter teenager found guilty of murder in Save-Mart Grocery shooting

Dinkins guilty on all counts; Hagood pleads guilty, agrees to testify

BY KAYLA ROBINS
kayla@theitem.com
Posted 7/18/19

A Sumter teenager was found guilty Wednesday of murdering a Manning Avenue convenience store owner in 2017.

Sincere Dinkins was 17 years old on Nov. 24, 2017, when he and Larenzo Hagood entered the Save-Mart Grocery, ordered two female customers …

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Sumter teenager found guilty of murder in Save-Mart Grocery shooting

Dinkins guilty on all counts; Hagood pleads guilty, agrees to testify

Posted

A Sumter teenager was found guilty Wednesday of murdering a Manning Avenue convenience store owner in 2017.

Sincere Dinkins was 17 years old on Nov. 24, 2017, when he and Larenzo Hagood entered the Save-Mart Grocery, ordered two female customers to the ground and attempted to rob Vijaykumar Patel at gunpoint. By the time they fled, Patel had fallen fatally wounded on the ground, multiple bullets shot into his chest.

"He was ready to go to the store. He was ready to rob the store," Third Circuit Solicitor Ernest "Chip" A. Finney III said of Dinkins in his closing arguments Wednesday afternoon, a day and a half after opening statements began in the Sumter County Judicial Center.

The 12-person jury of eight women and four men - none of the men were black, which Dinkins is - deliberated for about two hours before handing him six guilty convictions, two counts of kidnapping - related to the two women who were in the store at the time - and one count each of murder, attempted armed robbery, criminal conspiracy and possession of a weapon during a violent crime.

Hagood, who was 19 at the time of what law enforcement called the "senseless act" that left a father dead and a community relying on limited resources without one more walkable business, initially faced the same charges. He pleaded guilty to all except the conspiracy charge under the agreement he would testify.

"Hagood was treated different because he agreed to testify," Finney said, later adding that "he had remorse. He wanted to make it straight."

Dinkins, on the other hand, shot until his weapon was empty, Finney said.

"He showed no remorse. He showed no kind of 'I want to get this straight,'" he said.

Tim Murphy, the defense attorney representing Dinkins, questioned Hagood's credibility in his closing arguments.

"Hagood was the only witness who testified my client shot that weapon," Murphy said. " There's reason to question. There's reason to ponder."

He reiterated Dinkins had the right to be presumed innocent by the jury, adding that there was "not enough to think he might have done it."

Active/Retired Eighth Circuit Court Judge Thomas L. Hughston Jr., a former state representative, is presiding over the trial. Sentencing is expected today.