Nearly three years after LaCharles Govan, 29, was murdered and left in a Fort Mill churchyard, police have charged a man already in prison with Govan’s murder.
Eric Neal Patton, 33, serving 18 years in prison for unrelated crimes, was charged on Friday with murder and possession of a weapon during a violent crime on June 4, 2015, killing of Govan, police said.
Patton could get sentenced to life in prison without parole if he gets convicted of murder.
Govan’s body was discovered in the yard of Jerusalem Baptist Church on Steele Street in Fort Mill.
Govan’s death stunned his family and neighbors in the Paradise neighborhood of Fort Mill. Many members of Govan’s family lived just blocks from where he was found dead.
“The Govan family is relieved that someone is in custody, and the family is looking forward to the suspect being prosecuted,” said Jeff Helms, Fort Mill Police Department Chief.
Helms and police Maj. Bryan Zachary refused to release details of what led investigators to Patton.
“We have worked this case from the first day, and never stopped working it,” Zachary said.
Patton is currently serving an 18-year sentence at South Carolina’s Perry state prison, after pleading guilty in September to 11 felonies. Patton pleaded guilty to armed robbery, intimidating a witness, drugs, weapons, and other charges related to crimes in Rock Hill, Fort Mill, and Lancaster, court records show.
Patton was conveyed to Fort Mill on Friday morning from the prison to be served the murder warrant. It remains uncertain when he will appear in court on the murder charge.