Chesterfield County residents were horrified to learn the day after Christmas last year that Beverly Hope Melton, 30, had been run off the road, kidnapped, raped, and brutally beaten to death with a baseball bat. Her accused killer, Nickolas Jermaine Miller, 23, who was arrested and charged with these crimes will be facing the death penalty.
As her body was found in Kershaw County, Fifth Circuit Solicitor Dan Johnson of Camden is prosecuting the case. Last week he announced he intends to seek the death penalty.
“The aggravating circumstances, which led to the decision to seek the death penalty against the defendant, Nickolas Miller, are that he allegedly committed murder while in the commission of an act of criminal sexual conduct, kidnapping and physical torture of the victim,” said Johnson.
Although Miller was arrested and initially charged in Kershaw County where the body was found, Johnson said he and Fourth Circuit Solicitor Will Rogers of Chesterfield County “are working closely together in the prosecution of Miller because some elements of these crimes occurred in Chesterfield County.”
“If there ever was a death penalty case, this is one,” said Kershaw County Sheriff Jim Matthews.
According to Johnson’s executive assistant Dawn Sloan, a trial date has not yet been scheduled. Miller is currently incarcerated in the Kershaw County Detention Center.
Initial incident reports last December said Melton’s family members had received a distressing call from Melton that afternoon saying she was being followed by a young black man she had seen at a convenience store in Jefferson. That was the last time they heard from her.
Not only was Melton’s car found, still running, beside the road near Black Creek on Angelus Road, it was also stuck in reverse.
Just hours after Melton’s body was found near a turkey barn in Kershaw County, surveillance footage from the store enabled officers to identify Miller’s car and he was stopped for questioning. According to Chesterfield County Sheriff Sam Parker, a deputy spotted a bloody baseball bat in plain view in the back seat of Miller’s car, as well as blood and skin tissue on the outside of his car.
— Staff Writer Karen Kissiah can be reached by calling 843-537-5261, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.