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    Luzenski Allen Cottrell - South Carolina Death Row



    Police officer Joe McGarry





    Summary of Offense:

    Convicted of the shooting death of Myrtle Beach police officer Joe McGarry.

    Cottrell was sentenced to death on April 7, 2005 in Horry County.

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    Police, public to honor fallen Myrtle Beach officer

    The public is invited to a memorial service Wednesday evening to honor fallen Myrtle Beach Police Officer, Joe McGarry. It's been eight years since McGarry was shot to death while patroling along Kings Highway.

    Luzenski Cottrell has been sentenced to death for shooting the 28-year-old officer in a parking lot. However, in 2008, the state supreme court overturned that decision, because, it said, the jurors should have been given the option of considering the charge of voluntary manslaughter. The state says it will try Cottrell again and will try again for the death penalty.

    McGarry had been with the department for four years.

    The Myrtle Beach Police Department has held a memorial service for McGarry each year since his death. Wednesday's service will be held at the police department located at 1101 Oak Street at 5:30 p.m.

    http://www2.scnow.com/news/2010/dec/...er-ar-1277825/

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    March retrial date in killing of Myrtle Beach cop

    The retrial of a man charged with killing a Myrtle Beach police officer is scheduled to start in March.

    Solicitor Greg Hembree told The Sun News of Myrtle Beach (http://bit.ly/xeb0Yc) that he will again seek the death penalty against 33-year-old Luzenski Cottrell when his murder trial starts March 26.

    Authorities say 28-year-old officer Joe McGarry confronted Cottrell outside a Dunkin' Donuts in December 2002. Authorities say the officer pinned Cottrell against a car as he questioned him. The two struggled and investigators say the suspect shot the officer in the face,

    Cottrell was convicted of murder and sentenced to death in April 2005, but the state Supreme Court overturned the conviction because the jury was not allowed to consider a lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter.

    http://www.lakewyliepilot.com/2012/0...n-killing.html

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    Murder trial of accused Myrtle Beach cop killer continued

    The murder trial of a man accused of killing Myrtle Beach Police officer Joe McGarry has been continued, according to the Horry County Solicitor's Office.

    Luzenski Cottrell is facing the death penalty for the 2002 shooting. Police say Cottrell shot McGarry in the face while being questioned in the parking lot of a Myrtle Beach doughnut shop.

    Cottrell was convicted of McGarry's murder and sentenced to death in 2005. However, the South Carolina Supreme Court overturned the conviction in 2008, saying the jury should have been allowed to consider a possible verdict of voluntary manslaughter.

    According to a press release, 15th Circuit Solicitor Greg Hembree requested that the court relieve Cottrell's defense counsel, grant a continuance and assign him new representation in an effort to protect his right to be effectively represented. Circuit Court Judge Larry Hyman granted the request after talking privately with the defense counsel.

    A new court date will be scheduled after a new defense counsel is appointed.

    McGarry was 28-years-old when he was killed. The Myrtle Beach Police Department and members of the community gather every year to honor the fallen officer.

    http://www.carolinalive.com/news/sto...5#.T1p9nlFX-uI

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    Myrtle Beach police remember officer slain in 2002

    Myrtle Beach police are remembering a fellow officer killed in the line of duty a decade ago.

    A public service is happening Friday at a memorial stone dedicated to Joe McGarry outside the police department.

    McGarry was killed Dec. 29, 2002, while confronting a suspect outside a doughnut shop.

    Luzenski Allen Cottrell was convicted of murder in 2005 and faced the death penalty, but that conviction was overturned in 2008 by the state Supreme Court. The justices ruled that a jury should have been allowed to consider a lesser charge because McGarry may have been overly aggressive in questioning and restraining him.

    Cottrell's retrial is still pending. After he was sent to death row for killing McGarry, Cottrell was convicted of killing another man in November 2002.

    http://www.scnow.com/news/local/arti...9bb30f31a.html
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    11 years after murder, Myrtle Beach community still remembers fallen officer

    MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) - Monday night police officers and family members gathered for the 11th annual memorial service of Myrtle Beach Police Officer Joe McGarry.

    In 2002, McGarry was killed in the line of duty.

    Even though it has been more than a decade, his family says it's still fresh in their mind.

    "I think about him every single day. It doesn't get any easier," said Anita McGarry, the mother of Officer Joseph McGarry.

    This year a new monument was dedicated in McGarry's memory.

    The McGarry family says that the people that come out every year and show their support help them get through each day.

    "People do retire and you know, names and people just become a memory and they've kept this alive for 11 years now," said Anita McGarry.

    It was not just Myrtle Beach Police in attendance.

    Officers from around the area as well as their families gathered in McGarry's memory.

    Joe McGarry Sr. says it is a brotherhood that many who are not involved in the police force will not understand.

    "It's just a respect for one another, because they know it could happen to them at any time and who's going to be there for them, they know we will be," he said.

    Joe McGarry Senior also worked in public safety in Rhode Island.

    He says seeing his new family, the one that came out of this tragedy, gather every year for his son is indescribable.

    He says his goal is to find justice, not only for his son, but everyone who risks their lives in the line duty.

    "I owe it to these officers, brothers and sisters, to make sure this mass murder gets what he deserves," said Joe McGarry Sr.

    Luzenski Cottrell was convicted and sentenced to death for Officer McGarry's murder.

    The State Supreme Court overturned the conviction stating the jury should have had the option to consider a lesser charge.

    According to the Horry County's solicitor's officer Cottrell's retrial is set for September, 2014.

    A jury also convicted Cottrell of killing another man in Marion County in November, 2002.

    http://www.wbtw.com/story/24331914/1...fallen-officer

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    Retrial date set for man accused of killing Myrtle Beach police officer

    The capital murder retrial of a Myrtle Beach man accused of killing Myrtle Beach police officer Joseph J. McGarry Jr. has been set.

    Luzenski Allen Cottrell will be in court Sept. 15, according to Brad Richardson with the Horry County Solicitor's office.

    The trial was first set in the fall of 2011 and was postponed twice.

    Cottrell was found guilty in 2005 of assault with intent to kill, resisting arrest with a deadly weapon and grand larceny; however, in January of 2008 the S.C. Supreme Court overturned his murder conviction saying that the trial judge, R. Markley Dennis Jr., erred when he didn’t let the jury consider the lesser charge of manslaughter.

    Cottrell’s convictions on the other three counts were not reversed and his three, concurrent 10-year sentences remain in effect.

    He was also sentenced to life in prison without parole for the murder of Jonathan Love in Marion County. He was accused of killing Richard Hartman in Horry County, but that case was dismissed after Cottrell was sentenced to death in 2005.

    Richardson said Horry County Solicitor Jimmy Richardson and Scott Graustein will be handling the case.

    The original case

    In Cottrell’s first trial, a fellow officer of McGarry’s, Mike Guthinger testified that he and McGarry went to the Dunkin’ Donuts in December of 2002 to talk about McGarry’s upcoming wedding.

    Guthinger said Cottrell was in the doughnut store complaining loudly about not having enough sugar.

    He said when Cottrell went outside, McGarry followed with Guthinger a short distance behind.

    According to Guthinger’s testimony, McGarry asked Cottrell if he remembered him and asked about some parking tickets he had given him.

    Cottrell said he had cleared the tickets up, but McGarry called dispatch to check. Cottrell accused McGarry of harassing him.

    McGarry asked Guthinger to check a companion of McGarry’s, Fred Halcomb, who was sitting in his car nearby.

    Guthinger said when he looked up he saw the two in a minor struggle and heard McGarry call to Cottrell to show him his hands.

    He refused, and McGarry grabbed Cottrell’s right hand, trying to gain control.

    The two stepped apart, squared up about four or five feet apart and Cottrell fatally shot McGarry in the face.

    Guthinger and Cottrell then exchanged several volleys of gunfire. At one point, Cottrell called out, “I give up. I give up. Don’t shoot me.”

    Guthinger said Cottrell disappeared momentarily, then came back and continued firing.

    Cottrell jumped into a friend’s car with his girlfriend and a police chase ensued.

    Cottrell and his girlfriend Amber Counts were arrested. Counts was charged with accessory after the fact of murder, but her charges were dropped in return for her testimony in Cottrell’s trial.

    The Supreme Court decision

    Three Supreme Court justices agreed with attorneys who appealed Cottrell’s case saying the jury should have been able to consider voluntary manslaughter as a possibility as a lesser charge for murder.

    Chief Justice Jean Toal disagreed with the other three judges.

    At issue is whether or not McGarry was making a legal arrest and if he used unnecessary force with Cottrell.

    According to the Supreme Court opinion Cottrell and his friends were talking with a man behind the counter at Dunkin’ Donuts. They were loud, but not obnoxious or annoying.

    The opinion says witnesses testified that when McGarry followed Cottrell outside, the conversation seemed relaxed, but McGarry pulled his gun, holstered it again, followed Cottrell to the back of the car and jumped on Cottrell’s back, which resulted in a struggle between the two.

    At that point, witnesses testified that Cottrell shot McGarry in the face.

    Two questions that interested the justices were who shot first because Cottrell was also shot in the fray, and did Cottrell know that he was free to walk away when McGarry began questioning him.

    “All parties greed that [McGarry] had the right to question [Cottrell], and to ask for his license. All agreed, as well, that [Cottrell] had the right to refuse these requests, a right, which he did not exercise until after answering questions, showing his identification and raising his hands.

    “The parties and the judge disagree whether, after raising his hands as instructed by the officer, [Cottrell] had the right to walk away as he did, or whether, as the trial court ruled, at that point one must necessarily infer that the officer saw [Cottrell’s] gun tucked in his pants, and that this observation elevated the officer’s right to conduct a Terry stop into a basis for [Cottrell’s] arrest.”

    The judge assumed a fact not in evidence in order to hold that McGarry had probable cause to arrest Cottrell as he turned and walked away.

    “It is certainly permissible to infer, as did the trial judge, that [McGarry] acted as he did because he observed a gun in [Cottrell’s] possession. On the other hand, as the defense argues, an alternative and reasonable inference was that [McGarry] reacted in an impermissibly aggressive manner, physically assaulting and then shooting [Cottrell] when he exercised his constitutional right to walk away,” the opinion says.

    The justices noted that they are confident that McGarry’s acts are explained by his knowledge that Cottrell was a suspect in a murder case and therefore likely to be armed. However, the jury heard no evidence of this other crime and thus it could not be used to bolster the lawfulness of Cottrell’s detention or McGarry’s use of force in determining whether the evidence warranted a voluntary manslaughter charge.

    The jury heard testimony that Cottrell was a suspect in two other murders during the penalty phase of the trial, but did not know that when the question of guilt or innocence was decided.

    http://www.myhorrynews.com/news/crim...a4bcf6878.html
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    Retrial in Myrtle Beach police officer’s killing set to begin Monday

    By Tonya Root
    The State

    The family and friends of former Myrtle Beach police Officer Joe McGarry has already been through this once.

    But the closure they thought they’d found with the conviction of Luzenski Allen Cottrell in McGarry’s 2002 killing will be reopened next week with a retrial.

    Cottrell, now 36, was returned to J. Reuben Long Detention Center in Conway on Sept. 8 by the S.C. Department of Corrections, and is set to face a new jury on a charge of murder in the shooting death of McGarry, who died Dec. 29, 2002.

    McGarry’s family declined to comment this week about Cottrell’s retrial. But during a memorial service on the ninth anniversary of McGarry’s death, his father, Joe McGarry Sr., said another trial puts strain on his family and officers.

    “I'm really bitter with them,” Joe McGarry Sr. said about the members of the state's high court. “Just ignored the will of the people.”

    Attorneys in the latest trial of Cottrell are under a gag order issued by Circuit Court Judge Larry Hyman, which prohibits prosecutors, defense attorneys and others from publicly speaking about the case.

    McGarry was 28 when he was shot once in the face while he stood outside a Dunkin Donuts shop. He had been with the Myrtle Beach Police Department just over four years when he was killed.

    Cottrell was arrested and charged with murder the night of the shooting.

    In April 2005, Cottrell was convicted of murder by a jury and sentenced to death. Cottrell also was convicted for shooting at Myrtle Beach Police Officer Mike Guthinger, who was McGarry’s partner that night.

    Cottrell appealed the decision and in January 2008 the S.C. Supreme Court overturned his conviction and death sentence. Justice Costa Pleicones stated that the court erred in not giving jurors the option to convict Cottrell of the lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter.

    In an unrelated case, five months after his conviction in McGarry’s death, Cottrell and co-defendant, Frederick Halcomb Jr., were each sentenced to life in prison for the November 2002 shooting death of Myrtle Beach resident Michael Jonathan Love in Marion County.

    At the time of his shooting, McGarry was the third police officer from Horry County killed in as many years.

    McGarry's death happened one year to the day that Lt. Randy Gene Gerald of Loris, an Horry County sheriff's deputy based at the J. Reuben Long Detention Center, was shot and killed on U.S. 701 near Allsbrook.

    Gerald stopped in the roadway and was trying to break up a domestic dispute. Gerald’s killer, Boyd Matthew Meekins, 32, was sentenced to life in prison.

    A year earlier in June 2000, Horry County police Cpl. Dennis Lyden was killed during a traffic stop on S.C. 544.

    Lyden's killer, James Nathanial Bryant, was sentenced to death twice following two separate trials. Bryant’s execution was delayed after a U.S. District judge ordered it postponed a year ago to address his pleadings in federal and state court.

    http://www.thestate.com/2014/09/13/3...#storylink=cpy

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    Jury deliberating in retrial of man accused of killing Myrtle Beach police officer

    Jurors are deliberating in the retrial of a man accused of killing a Myrtle Beach police officer in the line of duty in 2012.

    Attorneys made their closing arguments Wednesday morning and the case was given to the jury for their consideration about 1:45 p.m.

    Luzenski Allen Cottrell, 36, of Myrtle Beach is accused of murder in the Dec. 29, 2002, shooting death of Joe McGarry, who was on duty as a street crimes officer.

    A jury of eight women and four men are considering whether Cottrell is guilty of murder, involuntary manslaughter or not guilty in McGarry’s death.

    If the jury convicts Cottrell of murder prosecutors are seeking the death penalty. In that case, the penalty phase of the trial will begin 24 hours after jurors deliver their verdict and prosecutors must show aggravating circumstances regarding the incident and Cottrell before he could be sentenced to die.

    In April 2005, Cottrell was convicted of murder by a jury and sentenced to death in the 28-year-old officer’s killing.

    Cottrell appealed the decision and in January 2008 the S.C. Supreme Court overturned his conviction and death sentence. Justice Costa Pleicones stated that the court erred in not giving jurors the option to convict Cottrell of the lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter.

    On Wednesday morning, attorneys summed up their cases for jurors.

    “It was an execution of Officer Joe McGarry on Dec. 29, 2002, by Luzenski Cottrell,” said Scott Hixson, 15th Circuit chief deputy solicitor. “That’s the big picture.”

    Witnesses testified that McGarry and his fellow officer and friend, Mike Guthinger, were at Dunkin’ Donuts on Kings Highway to get coffee about 12:30 a.m. that night. McGarry had previously arrested Cottrell on traffic charges earlier in the year and a month before the shooting McGarry learned Cottrell was a suspect in a Horry County homicide.

    When the two officers saw Cottrell inside the business, they waited and followed him outside to do a background check for any active warrants, officials said.

    “They had no intention to go to the Dunkin’ Donuts to investigate anybody. That was Joe McGarry’s state of mind,” Hixson said. “Joe McGarry does his duty. He was there to talk about other things. He interrupted his life.”

    It was 37 seconds that McGarry waited for dispatchers to check Cottrell’s background before Cottrell tried to walk away from McGarry, Hixson said. The men struggled when Cottrell refused to comply with McGarry’s commands before the officer was fatally shot.

    “That’s conclusively the bullet that killed Joe McGarry and it came from Luzenski Cottrell’s gun,” Hixson said holding the bullet remnants sealed in a plastic baggie.

    “The weapon was 12 inches away. No question the intention was to kill Joe McGarry.”

    But Cottrell’s attorney, William McGuire, told jurors that Cottrell was acting in self-defense because during the struggle with McGarry, Cottrell was shot in the leg by McGarry’s gun. He said McGarry pulled his gun and tried to stop Cottrell from walking way.

    “When the gun didn’t do it and the commands didn’t do it, [Cottrell] was tackled by a 6 foot 4 inch, 285 [pound] police officer and smashed into the car and then shot,” McGuire said. “There is zero evidence that Officer McGarry ever, ever, ever saw a gun on Cottrell.”

    Jurors heard testimony on Tuesday that there were 24 gunshots fired the night of McGarry’s death in the parking lot of Dunkin’ Donuts along Kings Highway in Myrtle Beach. A SLED firearms expert testified that cartridge casings collected from the scene showed police fired 14 shots and 10 came from a gun linked to Cottrell.

    Officials also testified 75 rounds of unfired ammunition were found in a bag linked to Cottrell. That bag was found in the vehicle Cottrell was in at the time of his arrest.

    Officer Mike Guthinger testified he exchanged gunfire with Cottrell in the parking lot after McGarry, whose gun fired a single shot, was fatally shot.

    Amber Counts, Cottrell’s girlfriend at the time, testified she was in the car when the shooting happened and she drove Cottrell away with police in pursuit.

    Officers used stop sticks to disable the vehicle on U.S. 17 Bypass near 76th Avenue North after a chase through the city. Counts and Cottrell were taken into custody there.

    http://www.thestate.com/2014/09/24/3...#storylink=cpy
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    Jury says Cottrell guilty of murder in killing of Myrtle Beach police officer

    A jury reached a guilty verdict on the charge of murder during the retrial of a man convicted of killing Myrtle Beach Police officer in 2012.

    http://www.thestate.com/2014/09/24/3...#storylink=cpy
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