Lexington County Man sentenced to 22 years after voluntary manslaughter plea

Marion Wade Frye, Jr.

Marion Wade Frye, Jr., a 31-year old Lexington County man, was sentenced this week to 22 years in prison for the shooting death of Joshua Prine, age 27. The shooting occurred  in the Red Bank area in 2015. The trial began on Monday and during the middle of the trial, prior to the state resting its case, Frye entered his plea to voluntary manslaughter. The charge is a “no parole” offense in South Carolina.

Eleventh Circuit Solicitor Rick Hubbard said, “This was a very difficult case, but we are extremely proud of the hard work of our prosecution team, and tremendously appreciative of the assistance of law enforcement.”

Information obtained by the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department during the homicide investigation revealed that Frye was involved in the illegal trade of methamphetamine. Frye arrived at a residence on Marty Lane shortly before 7:30 pm on Oct, 1, 2015 and began a verbal altercation with several individuals at the home. Witnesses at the scene reported that Frye was armed with a handgun in the waistband of his pants. Frye was prohibited from possessing a firearm while on probation for a drug conviction. Witnesses reported that Frye pulled the handgun from his waistband after starting a confrontation with Prine. Several people in the home attempted to disarm Frye, however, Frye fired the weapon twice and struck Prine in the back with a 9mm round. Prine was unarmed.

Frye fled the scene following the shooting and a multi-agency manhunt ensued. Frye was apprehended the following day by deputies with the Richland County Sheriff’s Department while parked at a convenience store on Kay Street in Columbia. The firearm used in the homicide was never recovered.

During Frye’s sentencing hearing, family members of Joshua Prine, including his mother, sister, and girlfriend, conveyed the profound impact of his death. Also at the hearing, Lt. Jesse Laintz of the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department addressed the prevalence of violence related to illegal methamphetamine activity. “We, as law enforcement and a community, are fighting an uphill battle against drugs,” said Lt. Laintz.  “I have been in this courtroom four times, in just over a year, for people killing another person … three of those four have been directly related to meth.”

Joshua Prine

In January of 2017, Charles Morehouse and Wiley Sisk, III were sentenced for the murder of David Porter, age 22. Morehouse was sentenced to life imprisonment and Sisk to 45 years. Testimony at trial revealed that Morehouse, a methamphetamine dealer, mistakenly believed that Porter was a police informant. Porter was found murdered on Old Orangeburg Road with multiple gunshot wounds.

In August of 2017, James Richard Elledge was sentenced to 25 years for the shooting death of Madison Leavitt, age 24, in Gaston. Elledge fired an AK-47 into a vehicle in which Leavitt was a passenger. That investigation determined that Elledge was a known methamphetamine dealer.

The Frye homicide case was prosecuted by Deputy Solicitor Suzanne Mayes and Assistant Solicitor Gill Bell of the Eleventh Circuit Solicitor’s Office.