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BOLIVIA—A jury found 18-year-old Darren Deanthony Marlow guilty Friday in connection with the December 2006 home invasion of an elderly Hickmans Crossroads woman.
The former West Brunswick High School athlete was sentenced to serve between three and a half years to five years in state prison by Superior Court Judge Tom Lock. A 12-member jury found Marlow guilty May 30 of first-degree burglary, conspiracy to commit first-degree burglary, and felony larceny.
Marlow was acquitted on a fourth charge of second-degree kidnapping in connection with the Dec. 17, 2006, home invasion of Lillian Hickman, now 81, who testified at Marlow’s three-day trial that began May 28.
He also was ordered to make restitution to Hickman in the amount of $3,127, a portion of the money that was stolen from her home.
Marlow was immediately taken into custody by a Brunswick County Sheriff’s deputy following his sentencing.
Marlow was among five former WBHS students who were arrested on identical charges by the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office the following day after the home invasion.
The other four—Chasen Duke, Andre Hill, Charles D’Angelo “Dee” Hill and Erik Gore—pleaded guilty last year and were each sentenced to 61 months in prison.
“I’m just glad it’s over with,” Hickman said as she exited the courtroom.
Hickman was at home sewing the night three or four men wearing ski masks and gloves broke through her door around 8 p.m. and tried to bind her with duct tape, then forced her into a bathroom where she was able to call 911 on a telephone.
She said she recognized one of the men as her great nephew, Chasen Duke, who she said knew she had money on hand that she often used to cash checks for family members.
The impact of the door being kicked in hit her in the face and knocked her back.
Hickman said she fought and screamed as the perpetrators tried to tape her hands.
“Then they wanted to tape my face,” said Hickman, who sustained a black eye from the door hitting her in the face.
After being ushered into the bathroom, Hickman said she locked the door and summoned help on the phone they didn’t know she had.
“‘Don’t you leave till we leave’,” she said she was told.
She testified she heard one of the men ask where her money was.
Brunswick County assistant district attorney Chris Gentry played a recording of Hickman’s 911 call in which her breathless pleas and screams could be heard.
Hickman’s purse and a glass lemonade pitcher containing cash were also stolen.
Brunswick County Det. Sam Davis testified he was the crime scene investigator and was nearby at his home just 500 to 600 feet from Hickman’s house when he was summoned to the scene.
Detectives also testified Marlow told them he had been playing basketball with Andre Hill when the two went to Beck’s Restaurant in Calabash to pick up Duke and the others around 6 p.m. the night of the incident.
“They went there to meet Erik and Dee to go there and rob the lady,” Brunswick County Det. Donna Simpson testified.
An investigation by detectives who testified at Marlow’s trial indicated Marlow did not enter Hickman’s home but waited outside in a car while the robbery took place. His attorney, Mike Ramos, argued Marlow should be tried on a lesser charge because he did not go in the house and did not know what was taking place.
A portion of the money was later recovered from a Dumpster behind a Kangaroo store in Supply.
Davis testified Duke led him to a service road at Meadowlands Golf Course near Hickman’s house, where cash, mail addressed to Hickman and a broken amber-hued antique glass pitcher were recovered.
Ski masks, gloves and duct tape believed to have been used in the home invasion were recovered from a park in North Myrtle Beach, S.C., by North Myrtle Beach police.
Brunswick County Det. Chris Barbour ascertained surveillance footage from Wal-Mart showed Gore buying various gloves and ski masks prior to the incident.
A videotaped interview with Marlow by Brunswick County Det. Donna Simpson showed Marlow was given $1,600, less than the others received because he “didn’t do anything.”
Throughout the trial, Marlow sat quietly with his parents and attorney. His dad, Darryl Marlow, is employed by the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office as a senior resource officer at Waccamaw School.