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Laurens man convicted, sentenced to 30 years

Marcus T. Grant

A Laurens man was sentenced to 30 years in prison following a conviction at trial for leading a vicious assault on another man he suspected of being a “snitch.”

Marcus Tyrone Grant, 46, was found guilty Wednesday by a Laurens County jury of one count of assault and battery by a mob and one count of kidnapping. The jury returned its verdict around 7 p.m. Wednesday evening.

Circuit Judge Cordell Maddox then sentenced Grant to 30 years in prison, suspended to 18 years of active prison time followed by five years of probation upon release. State law classifies the crimes as violent and serious, meaning Grant is not eligible for parole. Grant has a lengthy and violent criminal history dating back to 1998.

“The kind of community that Marcus Grant wants Laurens to be is one where people are punished for doing the right thing and cooperating with law enforcement,” said 8th Circuirt Solicitor David Stumbo said during his closing argument to the jury.

In January 2021, officers with the Laurens Police Department were dispatched to apartments on Spring Street in Laurens following reports of a shooting. The victim, Jarius Byrd, had been shot multiple times.

During the course of the investigation, detectives learned that Byrd had been the victim of an assault earlier that evening by five men—Marcus Grant, Antone “Cheese” Blakely, and others. Grant, Blakely and the other suspects held Byrd captive at gunpoint in Byrd’s apartment while Grant assaulted him. Grant stomped the victim numerous times, causing significant injuries. The motivation for the attack was the fact that Byrd worked as a police informant in 2010 which led to a narcotics conviction and prison sentence for Grant.

About 45 minutes after the assault took place, officers were dispatched to the same location at Spring Street apartments in reference to the shooting.  Blakely was later identified as the man who shot and killed Byrd following the assault. Blakely was tried and convicted in April 2023 by Solicitor Stumbo and Deputy Solicitor Joshua Thomas. He was sentenced to 40 years in prison.

Solicitor Stumbo and Deputy Solicitor Thomas also handled Grant’s case for the state, with assistance from 8th Circuit Investigator Jared Hunnicutt and 8th Circuit Victim Advocate Joy Lindsay. Grant was represented by Hunter Blouin of the Greenville County Bar.

Solicitor Stumbo praised the work of his staff along with the Laurens Police Department, particularly lead investigator Sgt. Billy Sellers, in securing the conviction and lengthy prison sentence.

“We will continue to work shoulder-to-shoulder with our public servants in blue to bring violent career criminals like Marcus Grant to justice,” Stumbo said following the verdict and sentencing.

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