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South Carolina Man Sentenced For Shooting Roommate In The Throat, Dismembering His Body

Christopher Allen Holford pleaded guilty to killing Austin Steele, then scattering the teen’s bones and body parts around the South Carolina mobile home property they had lived in together.

By Jill Sederstrom
Christopher Holford Pd

A South Carolina man has been sentenced to 60 years behind bars for shooting his teenage roommate in the throat and then chopping up the body in a gruesome February 2018 slaying.

Christopher Allen Holford, 33, pleaded guilty Thursday to murder and possession of a weapon during a violent crime for the death of his roommate Austin Tyler Steele, 18, according to local station WSOC-TV.

Holford admitted in court to killing the teen by shooting him in the throat, then cutting up the body and burning the bones, The Rock Hill Herald reports.

Prosecutor Luck Campbell said investigators believe Steele likely survived for hours after being shot in the throat before he died.

Holford then scattered the teen’s bones and body parts around the Lancaster mobile home property that he had shared with his wife, 22-year-old Brandy Nicole Faye Duncan, and Steele.

“Bones and burned body parts were found all over the property,” said 6th circuit assistant solicitor Melissa McGinnis, who prosecuted the case alongside Campbell.

Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office deputies discovered the dismembered remains the following month after they had gotten information leading them to the property.

They discovered a human skull outside, a buried torso, and other bones in a barrel, The New York Daily News reports.

Holford initially denied having any involvement in the death and pointed authorities toward his wife instead; however, he later admitted to the killing in later statements to police and letters that he sent from jail.

Prosecutors said Holford referred to the killing as a “sloppy kill” in the letters and signed one “Hatchet Man.” He also claimed to be sorry for killing Steele, although no apparent motive was given in court.

Holford did not speak other than to enter his plea, WSOC-TV reports.

As part of the plea deal, Holford was facing a sentence between 50 and 60 years in prison, according to the local newspaper.

Holford’s court-appointed attorney, Alston DeVenny, argued that his client had been physically and sexually abused as a child and was remorseful for his actions. Meanwhile, sheriff’s deputies and Steele’s sister, Angela Sistar, had argued for the maximum sentence under the agreement before the 60-year sentence was handed down.

“Austin did not deserve what was done to him,” Sistar said in court, calling Holford a “cold-blooded murderer.”

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