CHEROKEE COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – A man who claimed he accidentally killed his neighbor while target shooting faced a judge in a bond hearing Monday afternoon.
The victim’s family attended and asked the judge to deny bond for Nicholas Lucas. The judge did not set a bond for Lucas during the hearing.
“What do you tell from a four-year-old all the way to 16?” said Rashell Tate, the victim’s cousin.
Kesha Tate was killed at her home on Songbird Lane on August 27, 2022. Her neighbor, Nicholas Lucas, is charged with murder.
During Lucas’s bond hearing, family members said many of Tate’s children were home at the time.
“And since that day, it plays back in my head, over and over. He didn’t have no sympathy, he didn’t say sorry, he didn’t say nothing,” said Rashell Tate.
Law enforcement said Lucas originally said the bullet ricocheted while he was target shooting, killing Tate.
Just days later, investigators say forensic evidence showed the bullet did not ricochet off any targets, but was shot directly towards Tate.
“So, if he does get a bond, it’s going to hurt, but we’re going to have to deal with it and keep moving. He cannot take any more from us,” said Beverly Vercher, the victim’s sister. “We will not allow him to take anything else from us.”
“I feel like his bond should be denied because they don’t have their mother with them,” said Rashell Tate.
Vercher said this should be a joyful time of the year.
“It really should be and we’re trying, but it’s still hard. And now to have to come to this, just before Christmas, it just adds another wound to our heart,” she said.
During the hearing Monday, Judge William McKinnon did not make a decision on Lucas’s bond.
“His criminal record is just larceny, which is a legal word for theft, and he’s got one conviction for stealing something, and that’s it,” said the Judge. “Nothing violent on his record. On the other hand, he’s charged with the most serious crime there is. That’s what I’ve got to think about.”
During the hearing, he spoke directly to the victim’s family.
“If I do decide to grant him a bond, it does not mean I think he’s not guilty. It doesn’t mean I don’t think he did anything wrong. That decision is for a jury at a later date,” said Judge McKinnon.
A few hours later on Monday, Lucas’s bond was set for $100,000, $25,000 for each charge.
The charges he is facing include murder, involuntary manslaughter, shooting under the influence and shooting inside a dwelling.
“We’re just going to keep saying, justice for Kesha. Justice for Kesha. She’s going to have it. She’s going to get it,” said Vercher.
Vercher said Lucas getting bond is hurtful news for her family, but they’re going to do their best to enjoy the holiday. Especially, for Tate’s nine children.
She said they will never stop fighting for justice.