SC teen’s murder solved after 7 years, 3 arrested thanks to DNA evidence


The Greenville County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday announced the arrest of three people in connection with a murder case from 2014.

It is the third cold case in less than a year the office has closed with arrests.

Sheriff Hobart Lewis said in a news conference the case stemmed from a drug deal gone bad.

Investigators used “touch DNA” as well as a statement made by an individual through Crime Stoppers to identify suspects.

In 2014, a dog walker found the body of Marquail Marvista Hellams, 19, on a gravel path in Piedmont, which is about 19 miles south of Greenville. Hellams had been shot multiple times outside a vehicle, Lewis said.

Deputies were told where that car was and impounded it on April 9 of this year. It was in Pickens County.

The murder took place on Jan. 31, 2014.

Three people have now been arrested in connection with Hellams’ death: Kris Thomas Capatino, 46; Destany Maria Fields, 26; and Rahiem Jarrard Griffin, 28. They are being held in the Greenville County Detention Center on no bond.

All three are charged with murder and criminal conspiracy. Griffin is also charged with possession of a weapon during a violent crime.

Lewis said there had been previous conflicts between Hellams, Griffin and Fields, who were roommates.

Lewis said his office has about 100 unsolved murder and missing persons cases and is methodically going through them and reinvestigating.

“These cases have been sitting long enough,” he said. “These families deserve answers.”

He said investigators are sending touch DNA for analysis if available. This process needs only a small sample of skin cells or even footprints to make a match.

One of the cases being investigated is a 1972 murder case in which the victim has not bee identified. The body of the man they’re calling “Mr. X” has been exhumed to try to find DNA, but there wasn’t much of the remains left, Lewis said.

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