State v. Frazier – convictions for murder and armed robbery upheld based on circumstantial evidence

In State v. Frazier, decided February 16, the S.C. Supreme Court upheld Frazier’s convictions for murder, conspiracy, and armed robbery in Horry County. This was the second trial, the first conviction being overturned for failing to allow Frazier to call an expert in his case.
This case is an exercise in the minimum evidence required to allow a case to go to a jury, and Frazier appealed the denial of directed verdict at trial. The evidence presented was solely circumstantial – Frazier was having an affair with the victim’s wife, Renee. The state’s theory of the case was that Frazier and Renee planned to kill Renee’s husband. Renee and her husband came to Myrtle Beach for vacation, Frazier lay in wait as Renee got her husband to take a moonlight stroll on the beach, Frazier came up and shot the husband, and Frazier and Renee tried to make it look like a robbery.
The evidence presented included that there was an affair between Frazier and Renee, that Frazier had tried to fight with the victim, that Frazier had borrowed his mechanic’s car at the time the murder happened, and that the victim’s valuables were found nearby which included his money. A couple that were on vacation later identified Frazier as someone they saw near the crime scene. There was no direct evidence that placed Frazier at the scene, but the circumstantial evidence that was presented was sufficient to allow the case to go to a jury.

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