Prosecutors will seek the death penalty for Ernest Stewart Daise, charged with killing his girlfriend and her 4-year-old son and wounding the couple's 2-year-old son during a shooting in Dale in 2009.
During a hearing Monday, 14th Judicial Circuit Solicitor Duffie Stone explained theaggravating circumstances that qualify it as a capital case: Daise is accused of killing two or more people and killing a child 11 years old or younger.
Daise, 28, is accused of shooting to death his girlfriend Jeanine Mullen, 34, and her son Waltfredo-Davis Mullen at their home on Player Road on Nov. 15, 2009. Daise also is accused of shooting his son, who also was Mullen's child, during the incident. The boy, who was 2 at the time, survived after treatment at the Medical University of South Carolina.
Mullen was a single mother of four and a kindergarten teaching assistant at Shanklin Elementary School.
Dressed in an orange jumpsuit and appearing before Circuit Judge D. Craig Brown in the Beaufort County Courthouse, Daise did not enter a plea and was appointed two lawyers for his defense -- county Chief Public Defender Trasi Campbell, who has represented Daise since November 2009, and Sam Bauer of Hilton Head Island.
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