Joshua Poacher, 22, was found guilty April 12 of two counts of murder and one count each of armed robbery and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime in the Aug. 16, 2015, deaths of Kantibhai Patel, 72, and his wife Hansaben Patel, 67, according to the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office.
Solicitor Duffie Stone called the double slaying at Best Western Point South a “cold-blooded execution.”
“Mrs. Patel was bending over her dead husband when Poacher shot her in the back,” Stone said at the Jasper County Courthouse.
Circuit Court Judge R. Lawton McIntosh sentenced the Yemassee man to two life sentences on April 13. McIntosh also sentenced Poacher to 30 years in prison for armed robbery and five years for having a deadly weapon. Poacher received the maximum sentences.
The Patels lived and worked at the Point South motel as housekeepers. Poacher entered their room that morning, shot and killed the couple, and stole several items, including foreign currency and a debit card that he attempted to use 15 times before he was arrested later that day, the Solicitor’s Office said.
“Mr. Poacher is exactly where he needs to be,” Stone said. “Mr. and Mrs. Patel were truly innocent people. They were getting ready for work when they were gunned down. They hadn’t even had time to put on their shoes.”
Prosecutors called 17 witnesses before resting their case.
Among those who testified was the defendant’s half sister, a convenience store clerk who told the jury that Poacher used a debit card at her store shortly after the murders.
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