Authorities have arrested four men in a Christmas night beating that left a Charlotte man dead in Indian Land, S.C.
All four were charged Saturday with first-degree lynching in the killing of Ronnie Wallace, 42. Under S.C. law, first-degree lynching is defined as a mob attack by two or more people that results in the victim's death. It doesn't relate to the victim's race or actual hanging.
The men beat Wallace with 2-by-4s and sticks until he was unconscious, according to the Lancaster County Sheriff's Office. All four men were being held in the Lancaster County jail without bond.
Sheriff's deputies arrived to find Wallace's brother Tommy Wallace kneeling over his unconscious brother. Ronnie Gene Wallace died from his injuries at Carolinas Medical Center-Pineville.
Charged with the beating are Steven Steen, 22; Marty Player, 24; Evan Starck, 28, and Shawn Starck, 33.
A neighbor told a Charlotte television station that the four men were distantly related to Wallace and had been feuding with him and his brother earlier in the day.
The neighbor, who did not want to be identified, told WCNC-TV that the families lived a few doors down from each other.
The fight started at about 10 p.m. on the dirt and gravel road in front of her house, the woman said.
"Then I heard a lot of yelling, a lot of screaming, and I went in, got my phone, called 911, came back out, and saw (one of the men) hit (Wallace) in the head with a 2-by-4," she said.
She said she couldn't see whose hands the board was in, but saw Wallace fall.
A first-degree lynching conviction can carry a punishment of five to 40 years in prison or the death penalty.