Skip to main content
Press Release

New Jersey Man Pleads Guilty in Federal Court to Holly Hill Arson

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of South Carolina

Columbia, South Carolina ---- Acting United States Attorney A. Lance Crick announced today that Marvin Leroy Smith-Capers, Jr., 37, of Newark, New Jersey, pleaded guilty in federal court to arson.  United States District Court Judge Mary Geiger Lewis presided over the hearing and will sentence Smith-Capers at a later date.

According to facts presented to the court, on January 8, 2018, just after midnight, Smith-Capers set fire to Joy’s Touch of Class in downtown Holly Hill after spending much of the previous two hours stealing merchandise from the store.  The flames spread to two adjacent businesses, Goldstein’s and the Super 10, causing damage to all three in excess of $1 million.

Holly Hill police officers first noticed suspicious activity when the white GMC Yukon driven by Smith-Capers recklessly pulled into the road opposite their direction of travel.  They followed the Yukon, which then accelerated down Railroad Street, ultimately losing control.  At the accident scene, officers discovered the overturned Yukon, an ejected and unresponsive Smith-Capers, and merchandise scattered about.  This merchandise was traced back to Joy’s.

Smith-Capers was also linked to the scene of the fire through the ankle monitor he was wearing as part of a previous probationary sentence.  GPS data tracked Smith-Capers as he moved back and forth between the store and his vehicle as he loaded the Yukon with stolen merchandise.

Smith-Capers faces a minimum term of five years in federal prison, and a maximum of 20 years.  He is also subject to a maximum $250,000 fine, and he will be responsible for restitution to the store owners.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives as well as the Holly Hill Police and Fire Departments, the Orangeburg County Fire District, and South Carolina Law Enforcement Division investigated the case.  Assistant United States Attorney Winston David Holliday, Jr., of the Columbia office is prosecuting the case.



The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice.  Learn more about the history of our agency at


DeWayne Pearson (803) 343-3175

Updated January 29, 2020

Violent Crime