Laurens, S.C.; December 11, 2015 – Eighth Circuit Solicitor David Stumbo announced Friday that a Greenville man was sentenced to life in prison after being found guilty of the murder of a young mother of two from Simpsonville.
Darrell Raines, 35, of Greenville, was found guilty of murder and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime for 2013 killing of 31-year-old Myranda Southern.
Circuit Judge Donald Hocker handed down the sentence following the reading of the jury’s verdict, saying it was clear that Raines had put considerable effort into the crime both before and after the crime.
Judge Hocker sentenced Raines to life on the murder charge and five years on the charge of possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crimes, with the sentences running consecutively.
Southern’s body was discovered in a field along Bramlett Church Road in the Gray Court area of Laurens County on August 23, 2013. At the time, the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office was investigating Southern as a missing person. She was last seen alive on August 19, 2013, and was supposed to be headed to her mother’s home in Florida to pick up her two small children.
Raines was arrested on August 23, 2013, and charged with shooting Southern in the back of the head and leaving her lying in the field.
The prosecution, which was handled by Assistant Solicitors Dale Scott and Margaret Boykin, presented more than 20 points of circumstantial evidence linking Raines to the crime, including extensive phone records showing numerous calls to Hi-Point Firearms. The CEO of the gun manufacturer testified in the State’s case that Raines had sent in a .380 caliber pistol to have the barrel re-tooled.
A former acquaintance of Raines also testified that she and Raines had dated briefly. The witness said she broke off the relationship, but Raines continued to harass her with phone calls and text messages.
Raines then met Southern through an internet dating site called Plenty of Fish. Phone records showed that Raines wanted Southern to send his former acquaintance text messages to make the woman jealous. Southern told Raines she would not harass the woman on the same day she disappeared.
Bryan Able of the Laurens County Bar represented Raines.
A number of agencies worked together to apprehend Raines, including Laurens County Sheriff’s Office, Greenville County Sheriff’s Office, Laurens County Coroner’s Office and State Law Enforcement Division, among others.
Solicitor Stumbo praised the work of law enforcement and prosecutors in securing a conviction and removing a killer from the streets.
“Our men and women in law enforcement continue to stand on the thin blue line, ready to protect our communities,” Stumbo said. “My prosecutors continue to work hand-in-hand with law enforcement to make sure these menaces are removed from our streets. Today, their cooperation took a sociopathic killer off the streets of the Eighth Circuit.”