Trial begins Wednesday for Warrenville man charged with 2017 murder of cab driver
A trial is set to begin Wednesday for one of the three men charged with the murder of a 70-year-old local cab driver in March 2017.
Marcus Allen Turner, 22, of Warrenvile, is charged with the murder of Robert Hightower and armed robbery, according to jail records.
A jury was picked Tuesday and pre-trial motions were discussed by both the state and the defense. The trial for Turner will begin Wednesday morning at 9:30 a.m. in the Aiken County Courthouse in downtown Aiken.
Turner is charged along with David Jerome Jacobs, 25, and Rakim Barton, 20, both of whom are from Beech Island.
Jacobs also faces separate charges of armed robbery with a deadly weapon and possession of a weapon during a violent crime, records show.
On March 29, 2017, Hightower and a companion picked up the three suspects around 1:30 a.m. from the Clearwater Village apartments and was asked to drive to a destination off Huber Clay Road, according to a police report.
Upon arrival, the report states the three suspects exited the vehicle and refused to pay; Hightower was then beaten violently. Hightower also was struck with “some kind of wooden board,” according to the report.
The incident took place at the intersection of Hannah Drive and Alex Drive in Warrenville, the warrant states.
The suspects then stole several items from Hightower and his companion before fleeing the scene on foot, according to the report.
Investigators claim one ring was stolen by “physical force,” according to the arrest warrant.
EMS was called to the scene and Hightower was taken to an Augusta area hospital, where surgery was performed due to swelling of the brain, the report states.
According to the arrest warrants, all three suspects “beat the victim about his face and head with fists.”
Aiken County Coroner Tim Carlton reported that Hightower died on May 19 from his injuries. He sustained a subdural hematoma to the left side of his head which eventually led to his death, the warrants state.
Carlton ruled his death a homicide.
Investigators reportedly got information about the attack after speaking with a witness at the scene. The witness also provided investigators with a description of the suspects, which led the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division to release composite drawings of the three suspects following the incident.