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Friday, April 19, 2013

LEXINGTON COUNTY, SC - Rome (N.Y.) Police Department detectives and patrol officers on Thursday, April 18 arrested a 24-year-old Columbia man who was wanted by the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department on an arrest warrant on a charge of murder in connection with the fatal shooting on April 10 of a 43-year-old woman on Lumberjack Drive near West Columbia.

Lexington County Sheriff James R. Metts said Lexington County Sheriff’s Department detectives and fugitive investigators developed information that John Christopher Hart, 24, of 5 Pine Shadow Court, Columbia, traveled to Rome, N.Y. from Columbia after Hart fatally shot Paula Denise Justice, 43. Sheriff’s Department investigators requested assistance from the Rome Police Department and South Carolina Law Enforcement Division in locating and arresting Hart.

Rome Police Department detectives and patrol officers arrested Hart at 2:40 p.m. on Thursday in the 400 block of West Thomas Street in Rome, Metts said. Questions concerning the circumstances of Hart’s arrest should be addressed to the Rome Police Department.

Hart was being held on Friday, April 19 at the Oneida County Correctional Facility in Oriskany, N.Y. while awaiting an extradition hearing to determine when Hart will be returned to Lexington County to face the murder charge, Metts said. Lexington County Sheriff’s Department detectives traveled to Oriskany, N.Y. on Friday in order to question Hart about the fatal shooting.

An arrest warrant that the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department obtained for Hart alleges that at about 11:15 p.m. on April 10 Hart acted with malice aforethought when Hart shot Justice in her upper torso with a firearm on Lumberjack Drive, Metts said. Detectives determined that Justice had arranged to meet with Hart, who was an acquaintance, at about 10:15 p.m. on April 10.

On April 10, two men who were working to repossess a motor vehicle heard a gunshot and minutes later found Justice lying severely injured on Lumberjack Drive, Metts said. The men reported the incident to the Lexington County Communications Center at 11:19 p.m. on April 10.

Lexington County Sheriff’s Department detectives on Tuesday, April 16 arrested Tevin Xavier Deloach, 20, of 245 Manor View Court, Columbia, on an arrest warrant on a charge of murder, Metts said. The arrest warrant alleges that Deloach drove Hart in a 1993 Lincoln Town Car to pick up Justice, drove Hart and Justice to Lumberjack Drive and later drove Hart to a location where Hart and Deloach parked and abandoned the Lincoln Town Car.

Deloach was denied bond and was being held on Friday at the Lexington County Detention Center, Metts said.

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