Unknown Stephen Collins Killer- South Carolina- 2022 Apr 24, 2023 11:42:05 GMT -5
Post by Scumhunter on Apr 24, 2023 11:42:05 GMT -5
SUMTER COUNTY, S.C. — A year later and one Midlands community is still looking for closure after a brutal murder of an 81-year-old man who was shot and killed in his home.
Robert White still remembers getting the call that his friend Stephen Collins was murdered.
"We'd been talking about building a pavilion here, and he was going to provide all the wood," White said. "He and I went out there and walked the area, picked out a spot then went to have lunch. That was on Wednesday, and then Friday morning I'm getting a call that he's dead."
White is the lead pastor at Shaw Heights Baptist Church in Sumter, where Collins attended.
He described Collins as a selfless, thoughtful person who loved God. He owned a tree-cutting business where he was always offering a helping hand.
"He was a very faithful member of the church, he was an usher, he was a guy who taught Sunday school," White said. "He would hire people to give them a job, and give them something to do and a way to make a living."
White said he was a regular in the congregation and can even point out the seat he would sit in every week. The church still holds a portrait of Collins inside.
According to Major Randall Stewart with the Sumter Sheriff's office, Collins was murdered on the evening of July 7, 2022. Major Stewart said that, in the middle of the night, someone entered Collins' house and shot him as he sat on his couch.
"Right now, we seem to be leaning towards this being a personal type of situation where Mr. Collins was approached in the privacy of his own home where he shot and left the night before," Stewart added.
A "For Sale" sign still sits on the street at the edge of Collins' empty property on Edge Hill Road. As we approach the one-year mark of the murder, Major Stewart said his investigators are still working on the case.
"We are still working with several theories, and investigators are diligently trying to work it down to finding who is responsible for Mr. Collins' death," he said.
Pastor White said it's hard for his church to understand why someone would do this. Collins was single, lived alone, and had no next of kin; so, he and his congregation are hoping anyone will come forward, provide some closure, and head down a path of forgiveness.
"It's hard to not have any answers and not know what's going on," he said. "Personally, I'd like to have the opportunity to share the gospel with this person, to tell them about the Lord Jesus Christ and what they can do because there's still forgiveness."
The sheriff's office urges anyone with information to reach out to them and ask for the lead investigator, Sgt. Josh Phillips, at 803-436-2004 or anonymously call Crime Stoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC. Tipsters can also visit CrimeSC.com to report information regarding crime in the South Carolina Midlands.
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