Hartsville police upgrade charges to murder after shooting victim dies

Hickman, Cotton

HARTSVILLE, SC (WBTW) – The charge against a Sumter man has been upgraded to murder after the shooting victim died days after the crime, police say.

Officers with the Hartsville Police Department arrested Willie James Hickman, 20, of Sumter, for the shooting that happened on Sept. 20 on Bell Avenue.

According to Lt. Mark Blair with Hartsville police, Hickman was originally charged with attempted murder, in addition to a number of other crimes, but the shooting victim died over the weekend. Hickman now faces a murder charge, confirms Lt. Blair.

In addition to murder, Hickman is charged with discharging a firearm, discharging firearms into a dwelling, possession of a weapon during a violent crime, possession of a firearm by a convicted violent felon, criminal conspiracy, and armed robbery.

Investigators say they have also arrested Rodney Ervin Cotton Jr for murder, possession of a weapon during a violent crime, stolen gun, possession of a weapon by a violent felon, accessory before the fact to a felony, criminal conspiracy and armed robbery.

Lt. Blair says one person was shot at a home on Bell Avenue Sept. 20 and that victim dies approximately four days later. The coroner’s office expects to release the name of the victim Thursday afternoon.