Greenwood man sentenced to 50 years in Abbeville murders


Greewnood, S.C.; November 16, 2020 – A Greenwood man was sentenced to 50 years in prison after pleading guilty Friday morning to charges stemming from a 2019 triple homicide in Abbeville County, 8th Circuit Solicitor David M. Stumbo announced Monday.

Elijah Ty Rez Head, 20, pleaded guilty to three counts of murder, one count of attempted murder, and one count of possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime during a plea proceeding Friday morning at the Greenwood County Courthouse. Circuit Judge Donald Hocker sentenced Head to 50 years in prison on each of the three murder charges, 25 years in prison on the attempted murder charge, and five year in prison on the weapon charge with all charges to run concurrently. State law requires a sentence for murder to be served day-for-day, meaning Head will not be eligible for parole.  With his trial scheduled for February 2021, Head elected to change his plea to guilty and throw himself on the mercy of the court. 

In July 2019, Head went to an apartment in Abbeville under the guise of purchasing or trading guns with two of the three victims, 25-year-old Johntavier Moss and 26-year-old Steven Tinch. The state alleged that Head went there with the pre-meditated intent to rob the two men.  At some point, an altercation occurred and Head pulled out a gun, fatally shooting Tinch and 62-year-old Shirley Jones, the grandmother of Tinch and Moss.  Head shot Moss at least once as well during this first encounter. Head left the apartment and fled with two females from Greenwood in a white vehicle. Head returned about four minutes later and, while Moss was on a frantic call with Abbeville County 911, Head fatally shot Moss five times and shot another 24-year-old man who had entered the apartment to assist the victims. That man survived his six gunshot wounds and was able to identify Head for investigators.  Head was apprehended by investigators the next evening hiding out at a motel on Highway 221 in Greenwood.

Solicitor Stumbo and Senior Assistant Solicitor Micah Black handled the case for the state with assistance from 8th Circuit Investigator Chris Wilkie and Victim Advocate Sarah Parris. Head was represented by Tristan Shaffer of the Greenwood Public Defender’s Office.

Solicitor Stumbo praised his staff along with the excellent investigative work of the Abbeville Police Department, particularly Investigator Duane Balchin, with the assistance of State Law Enforcement Division Special Agent Spike McCraw in building a strong case that helped ensured convictions in the courtroom.

“This was such a senseless taking of human life,” Solicitor Stumbo said following the proceeding. “While nothing can truly dull the pain of loss that they have suffered, we are glad that the families of our victims could come to the courtroom today to watch the killer of their loved ones convicted and sent off to prison for the essentially the rest of his life.  I hope that this also continues to send a clear message to our community that we will fight with every tool the law makes available to us to keep our families safe.”

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