Robbery Crew Shooter Responsible for Killing Loris, SC Store Owner Sentenced to Fifty-Five Years Imprisonment
Columbia, South Carolina ---- United States Attorney Sherri A. Lydon stated that yesterday, United States District Judge Brian Harwell sentenced Jonathan Stefan Vanderhorst, age 23 of Tabor City NC, to 660 months (55 years) of incarceration as a result of his convictions for 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). In addition to Vandershorst, his co-conspirators, Jim Tracy Miller age 28, and Demetrius Altman age 39, both of Tabor City, NC, were sentenced to 262 months and 168 months respectively for violations of 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.
The evidence presented at the guilty plea and sentencing hearings established that on May 3, 2016, Altman drove Miller and Vanderhorst to rob the Clarendon, NC 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, NC to Loris, SC 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.
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 and was prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state and local Project CeaseFire initiative, which aggressively prosecutes firearm cases. Project CeaseFire is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program that has been historically successful in bringing together all levels of law enforcement to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has made turning the tide of rising violent crime in America a top priority. In October 2017, as part of a series of actions to address this crime trend, Attorney General Sessions announced the reinvigoration of PSN and directed all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to develop a district crime reduction strategy that incorporates the lessons learned since PSN launched in 2001. 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 Hixon prosecuted the case.