Robbery Crew Responsible for Killing Loris, SC Store Owner Plead Guilty in Federal Court
Columbia, South Carolina ---- United States Attorney Sherri A. Lydon stated that Jonathan Stefan Vanderhorst, age 23, Jim Tracy Miller, age 28, and Demetrius Altman, age 39, all of Tabor City, N.C., have pled guilty in federal court in Florence South Carolina, before United States District Judge Brian Harwell. Miller and Altman pled guilty to Conspiring to Commit Hobbs Act Robbery, a violation of Title 18 U.S.C. § 1951 and Hobbs Act Robbery, a violation of Title 18 U.S.C. § 1951. Vanderhorst pled guilty to Conspiring to Commit Hobbs Act Robbery, a violation of Title 18 U.S.C. § 1951; Hobbs Act Robbery, a violation of Title 18 U.S.C. § 1951; Felon in Possession of Ammunition, a violation of Title 18 U.S.C. § 922(g); and Discharging a Firearm in Furtherance of a Crime of Violence, a violation of Title 18 U.S.C. § 924(c). All are awaiting sentencing.
The evidence presented at the guilty plea hearings established that on May 3, 2016, Altman drove Miller and Vanderhorst to rob the Clarendon, N.C. Post Office. Upon arrival, Altman waited in the vehicle and Miller and Vanderhorst entered the Post Office. Vanderhorst jumped the counter, brandished a firearm, and struck the Post Office Clerk, the sole occupant of the post office. Ultimately, Vanderhorst and Miller stole $284.00 and the Clerk’s cell phone and left in Altman’s vehicle.
Thirteen days later, on May 16, 2016, Altman drove Miller and Vanderhorst from Tabor City, N.C. to Loris, S.C. to rob the Loris Market and Beverage store. Again, Altman stayed in the vehicle and Vanderhorst and Miller entered the store. The only occupants of the store were the owners, a husband and his wife, both of whom were working behind the checkout counter. After entering, Vanderhorst fired a shot at the female victim, fortunately missing her. Vanderhorst then approached the counter and fired another shot up into the ceiling. Thereafter, the store owner took the money out of the register and passed it to Vanderhorst who took the money handed it to Miller. Vanderhorst then turned and fired two shots, striking and ultimately killing the store owner.
For each violation, Miller and Altman face a maximum possible penalty of forty (40) years, a fine of up to $250,000 and up to three (3) years supervised release. Vanderhorst faces a mandatory minimum penalty of ten (10) years and a maximum of life, a fine of $250,000 and a term of supervised release of at least three (3) years.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, United States Postal Inspection Service, the Horry County Police Department, and the Loris City Police Department. Assistant United States Attorneys Will Lewis, Jim May and Special Assistant United States Attorney and Chief Deputy of the Horry County Solicitor’s Office Scott Hixson prosecuted the case.