Man found not guilty of 2016 Beaufort County killing

May 5, 2021 GMT

BEAUFORT, S.C. (AP) — A jury found a South Carolina man not guilty of murder in a 2015 Beaufort County killing.

It was the third time prosecutors brought Ishmael Rivers to trial. The first time a judge stopped the trial because there wasn’t enough minorities in the jury pool and the second time jurors couldn’t reach a unanimous verdict, defense attorney Carl B. Grant said.

Rivers, 22, was charged with killing 61-year-old Benjamin Campbell in Burton in 2016. Prosecutors said the killing happened during a drug deal.

But the prosecution couldn’t prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt, Grant told The Island Packet of Hilton Head.

“The prosecution did not have a murder weapon to present to the jury,” Grant said.

Rivers’ brother was also charged and later cleared of a charge of accessory to murder after the fact, Grant said.

Rivers, who faced 30 years to life in prison without parole if convicted, was relieved by the verdict, Grant said.

“We’re just glad that the presumption of innocence is still alive and well in Beaufort County,” Grant said