A man from Aiken has been sentenced to life in prison after he pleaded guilty on Wednesday to a 2016 murder.
According to court records, Gregory Davis Jr. pled guilty to the murder of Nicky Cockrell, who he shot and killed on June 7, 2016, after getting to his home at 524 Wire Road while a robbery was in progress.
Records show that Davis was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole by Circuit Court Judge William Keesley.
The morning of June 7, 2016, Cockrell was found by his son lying on the floor of his Wire Road home, according to 911 audio.
Cockrell’s son told police he came home to check on his dad who had left work earlier to retrieve his phone and had not returned.
The ensuing investigation by the Aiken County Sheriff’s Office uncovered that the front door of the residence had been pried open, and a debit card and other items belonging to the victim were taken, according to the Second Judicial Circuit Solicitor’s Office.
Evidence acquired during the investigation eventually led to Davis, who gave a statement where he admitted limited involvement in the murder; however, solicitors said that an additional investigation showed that Davis was more involved than he had at first revealed to investigators.
According to the report, investigators determined that Davis was robbing the house on June 7, 2016, when Cockrell got home and surprised Davis. Davis at that point shot and killed Cockrell.
The report also stated that while proceeding to follow up on leads, investigators also learned that Davis had changed the pin number for Cockrell’s debit card that he stole during the burglary and used the card at a nearby ATM machine not long after the murder.
Video from the ATM machine revealed Davis wearing a hoodie later recovered by investigators.
Solicitors said a forensic analysis of fabric fibers from the scene that was carried out by S.C. State Law Enforcement Division matched the fibers from the home’s entry door to those from the hoodie recovered by police.
More analysis by the SLED Lab matched paint from the home’s entry door to paint found on a pry bar located in the defendant’s possession.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant Solicitors Sam Grimes and Ashley Hammack of the 2nd Judicial Circuit Solicitor’s Office.