South Carolina Man Pleads Guilty in Federal Court to Interstate Domestic Violence Resulting in Death
FLORENCE, SOUTH CAROLINA — Dominique Devonah Brand, 30, of Marion, was sentenced to two concurrent life sentences plus ten years in federal prison after being convicted of Kidnapping Resulting in Death, Carjacking Resulting in Death, and Using or Carrying a Firearm During and in Relation to a Crime of Violence in a Manner Constituting Murder.
Brand was convicted following a multi-day bench trial in September 2022. Evidence presented by the Government showed that on Sunday, March 28, 2021, Brand entered Mary Ann Elvington’s home in Nichols, South Carolina. While inside the house, he fired a 12-gauge shotgun into the hallway floor at close range. Mr. Brand’s DNA was later found on multiple items inside Ms. Elvington’s home, including the spent, 12-gauge shotgun shell he fired, a pizza slice he apparently ate from while there, a water bottle he drank from, and a jewelry box he touched. Across the street from Ms. Elvington’s home, investigators found Mr. Brand’s blood and touch DNA inside a stolen church van that was stuck in the mud.
At about 6:11 p.m. that Sunday, Brand forced Ms. Elvington to drive him from her house to Lake Waccamaw, North Carolina, and back into South Carolina. During this trip, Mr. Brand sat behind Ms. Elvington with the shotgun. Ms. Elvington’s cell site location information showed her car was initially headed back toward her home in Nichols. But in Lake View, South Carolina, surveillance video from the Lake View Police Department captured Brand directing Ms. Elvington into the back seat of her car, moving a gun to the front seat, getting in the driver’s seat, and making a U-turn, heading away from Ms. Elvington’s home. The surveillance video showed Brand was alone with Ms. Elvington—carrying a gun—shortly before she was murdered. After leaving Lake View, Brand drove Ms. Elvington to a remote crossroads in Marion County and walked her behind the abandoned Zion Grocery store. He held the shotgun to the back of her head and pulled the trigger, executing her.
Brand then drove Ms. Elvington’s car to Marion, where he hid it behind an abandoned club. Investigators found Brand’s blood on a wooden block sitting in the driver’s seat and on a fuse puller on the ground outside the car. Ms. Elvington’s body was located the following evening, March 29, 2021. After learning he was a suspect, Brand turned himself in to authorities on March 31, 2021.
“Dominique Brand’s crimes were senseless, tragic, and irreversible,” said U.S. Attorney Adair F. Boroughs. “His conviction and life sentence reflect the commitment of the U.S. Attorney’s Office to working with our local, state, and federal partners to hold violent offenders accountable. We hope Ms. Elvington’s loved ones can find healing in knowing that justice has been served.”
“This sentence brings a measure of accountability to a violent criminal who showed no regard for the sanctity of life,” said Steve Jensen, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Columbia Field Office. “No sentence can fully heal the wounds of the victim’s loved ones, but it is our hope that those affected by this senseless act can begin healing knowing that justice prevailed.”
“The truly horrific nature of this case demonstrates how important developing our solid partnerships with other state and federal agencies is in solving crimes and holding those who commit them responsible to account for their actions,” said 15th Circuit Solicitor Jimmy Richardson.
“Horry County Police Department is grateful for the local, state, and federal partnerships that made this investigation and arrest possible,” said Horry County Police Department Deputy Chief Brandon Strickland. “Through working together on a case that spanned across multiple jurisdictions, we were able to bring Brand to justice, and hopefully provide some small measure of closure for Ms. Elvington’s loved ones.”
Marion County Sheriff Brian Wallace said “[t]he kidnapping and subsequent murder of Mary Ann Elvington rocked not only our community, but my department. When you work where you live it is difficult to avoid cases in which you personally know the families you serve. We pray that today's sentencing will bring much needed closure to the Elvington family and open the door for healing for all of us. "
United States District Judge Sherri A. Lydon presided over the trial and imposed two concurrent life sentences on the carjacking and kidnapping convictions, plus ten years consecutive for using a firearm during the commission of these offenses.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) with significant assistance from the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED), Horry County Police Department, Marion County Sheriff’s Office, Marion Police Department, Lake View Police Department, and Nichols Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Everett McMillian and Kathleen Stoughton prosecuted the case along with Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott Hixson, who also serves as the Deputy Solicitor for the 15th Judicial Circuit.
Brook Andrews, First Assistant United States Attorney, email@example.com, (803) 929-3000