Skip to content

Laurens gang member sentenced to 40 years for murder

Tremayne Blakely

A member of the Gangster Disciples in Laurens is headed to prison for more than four decades after being convicted at trial Friday in connection to the 2021 killing of a police informant.

Antone B Ellis Tremayne Blakely, 30, of Laurens was convicted of murder, third-degree assault and battery by mob, kidnapping, criminal conspiracy, and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime following a week-long trial at the Laurens County Judicial Complex. A Laurens County jury returned the guilty verdicts at about 7 p.m. after deliberating for about two hours.

Eighth Circuit Judge Donald B. Hocker then sentenced Blakely to 40 years in prison for the murder of Jairus Byrd, 25 years in prison on the kidnapping charge, 10 years on the conspiracy, five years on the weapon possession charge, and one year on the assault charge. State law requires the weapon possession charge to run consecutively to the sentence on the murder charge. All other sentences are to run concurrently with credit for the time Blakely has already spent in jail.

When criminals create an atmosphere of fear where no one will cooperate with law enforcement then none of our communities are safe,” 8th Circuit Solicitor David Stumbo said. “Jarius Byrd was killed for doing the right thing, and we are glad that one of is killers will be spending most of his remaining days on earth behind bars.”

In January 2021, Blakely whose street name was “Cheeze”, along with accomplices went to the Spring Street apartments where Jairus Byrd was staying. Byrd had worked as a confidential informant for the Laurens Police Department over 10 years ago. Blakely and other co-defendants blocked Byrd in his bedroom and assaulted him. After this assault, Byrd was able to flee the house and a few minutes later returned to get his things.

Blakely remained inside the apartment and opened fire on Byrd when he returned. Other accomplices of Blakely who were outside the apartment also shot at the victim as he attempted to flee. Byrd was hit with multiple bullets and collapsed in the middle of Spring Street. He was pronounced dead at the emergency room after EMS transport.

Publicly accessible Facebook posts from Blakely were key evidence in proving Blakely’s motive for the crime and his associations with other accomplices in the attack.

Solicitor Stumbo and Senior Assistant Solicitor Josh Thomas handled the case for the state, with assistance from 8th Circuit Investigators Jared Hunnicutt and Josh Pittman and 8th Circuit Victim Advocate Joy Lindsay. Blakely was represented by Matthew Ozment of the Greenville County Bar.

Solicitor Stumbo praised the work of his staff, along with LPD detectives Billy Sellers and Ben Gallow as well as agents and lab technicians from the State Law Enforcement Division in securing the conviction and lengthy prison sentence.

Two other men were arrested in February of 2021 in connection with Byrd’s murder. Mikel Kishon Burnside and Shykorie Nacarya Grant, both of Fountain Inn and 20 years old at the time of their arrests, were charged with assault by mob, kidnapping, criminal conspiracy and other related crimes. Burnside and Grant were denied bond. No trial date has been set for Burnside and Grant.

Leave a Comment