Lexington County man convicted of murder
A tangled web of revenge and murder has come to an end in Lexington County.
A county jury has convicted Nicholas Chhith-Berry, 19, of Lexington in the March 2014 stabbing death of 23-year-old Jamie Galloway, the 11th Circuit Solicitor’s Office announced Monday.
Following the guilty verdicts on charges of murder and possession of a weapon during a violent crime, Judge Eugene C. Griffin, Jr., sentenced Berry to 50 years in prison.
The verdicts bring to an end a two-year odyssey of crime and punishment, leaving two men dead and two men behind bars.
Galloway’s murder would eventually precipitate the murder of Berry’s older brother, Adam Berry of West Columbia, whose killer is now serving a life sentence.
Here’s how it unfolded:
Testimony at trial revealed that on the evening on May 19, 2014, Galloway, of West Columbia, had gone to a residence in Pine Ridge to visit his young son. Already at the residence, unknown to Galloway, were the Berry brothers.
A week prior, Galloway and Adam Berry had got into a verbal confrontation when Nicholas Berry intervened, confronting Galloway for “disrespecting” his brother.
Galloway punched Nicholas Berry knocking him to the ground. Berry pulled a pocket knife on Galloway. Berry made overt threats to others later that day stating the next time he saw Galloway, “Galloway wouldn’t be breathing,” prosecutors said.
Facebook messages introduced at trial showed that over the course of the intervening week Berry was looking for a gun and ammunition he said he needed for solving a problem with Galloway.
On the night of the murder, Galloway and Adam Berry again got into a heated argument, which turned physical. What started out as a fist fight escalated when Nicholas Berry jumped on Galloway’s back and began stabbing him, prosecutors said.
Pine Ridge police arrived on scene to find Berry and his brother Adam attempting to drive away and Galloway dead on the front porch of the residence.
At trial, Berry claimed self defense.
An autopsy, however, revealed Galloway had no defensive wounds on his hands or arms and that he had been stabbed 25 times – once in the upper left arm, once below his right ear, and 23 times in the back.
Berry testified at trial that his brother was being beaten to death by Galloway and that he came to his brother’s defense, stabbing Galloway once in the back before blacking out.
When interviewed by police shortly after the incident, Berry gave multiple different accounts about what happened and why, according to prosecutors. The jury also heard a recorded call between Berry and his mother where Berry stated that Galloway “deserved to die.”
Berry’s brother, Adam, was charged with accessory after the fact to murder and released on bond. On March 4, 2015, Galloway’s close friend, Michael Sulier, III, of Cayce, shot Adam Berry to death. Sulier reportedly told a witness that he killed Adam Berry because “his brother killed my brother,” referring to Nicholas Berry and Galloway.
Sulier then drove Berry’s body in Berry’s own car to a secluded area of Orangeburg County where Sulier attempted to cover up the crime by setting the car on fire, leaving behind Berry’s charred remains.
Sulier was eventually apprehended and later pleaded guilty to the murder of Adam Berry, receiving a life sentence in May 2015.