Bond denied for Craigslist murder suspects

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCIV) -- Bond was denied for two men at a hearing Tuesday evening in which emotion ran high as the three families connected by the murder faced each other for the first time.

"I really feel sorry for y'all," said a family member of 20-year-old Isaac Williams who addressed the victim's family in bond court Tuesday. "You may not want to hear me, sir, but God will touch your heart okay."

The family of Alex Apps looked away in court as she spoke.

"I'm sorry that his life has been taken away," she added. "There's no need to hold malice in your heart."

In court, Williams stood stone-faced with his arms crossed.

"He should be put away and never see the light of day again," said one of Apps' family members.

The bond court hearing ended one part of the case of two men, under the guise of buying a used pickup truck from a College of Charleston student, who investigators say instead used the opportunity to shoot the student in the head and dump his body.

Charleston County Sheriff Al Cannon said two men met 25-year-old Apps at the Hardee's on Spring Street in downtown Charleston last Thursday after responding to his Craigslist ad seeking a buyer for his pickup truck.

Cannon said Apps' mother was there, too, carrying the truck's title, but after meeting with 19-year-old Jquan Scott and Williams, Apps told his mother they would not be buying the truck that afternoon and sent her home to Beaufort.

Apps' family says he simply wanted to sell his truck in order to help pay for college.

Shortly after that, Scott shot Apps in the head and Williams and Scott dumped the student's body in a wooded area off McGrath Darby Boulevard in Mount Pleasant.

"This person shook this grown man's mother's hand, and then took him down the road and slaughtered him," said the victim's family member.

While deputies say Scott and Williams headed across the Ravenel Bridge and shot Apps in the head, affidavits filed in court based off of confessions tell a different story.

According to affidavits written after the two suspects explained Apps' death a first time, Williams and Scott took Apps to a home on Mathis Ferry Road where they met with two other unnamed codefendants, one of whom was carrying a handgun.

Based on the confessions, the men forced Apps back into his truck and drove around the city before one of the unnamed men from the Mount Pleasant house shot the CofC student in the neck.

While some of the details of the confessions appear true - the way in which Apps was killed and where his body was dumped - officials at the Charleston County Sheriff's Office said Wednesday that they do not believe there are two other suspects or a house on Mathis Ferry Road involved in the case.

Officials said the information Cannon provided in Monday's press conference matches their investigation.

For the Williams family, they believe Isaac Williams witnessed the crime but killed no one.

"This is the type of man who wouldn't even kill a rat," said Roger Daniel, a close friend of Williams'.

Tralane Bell, also a family friend, referred to Williams as a good person.

"He's just afraid to speak, and he needs to tell the truth. He needs to not worry about being called a snitch," said Bell.

Cannon said Charleston County deputies and City of Charleston police got involved in the missing person case when Beaufort County deputies called. Through technological means Cannon did not get into Tuesday afternoon, deputies were able to connect Scott and Williams to Apps.

Cannon said Scott ultimately led deputies to Apps' body Monday night, adding that the man has been mostly cooperative in the investigation.

In bond court, Scott wiped away tears from his eyes as family members spoke to him.

"I know you wouldn't do something like this," said a family member. "Just be strong, okay?"

Scott has been charged with murder, kidnapping and armed robbery. Williams has been charged with kidnapping, Cannon said.

Beaufort County officials said Wednesday that they were able to trace Apps' debit card to businesses in Bluffton after Apps had been reported missing by his mother.

Deputies focused on Scott, one of the last people to see Apps, and found him in Bluffton. He said he had come into Bluffton on Oct. 4 to visit friends at a local college.

When Scott met with deputies, he was driving Apps' truck, Cannon said, adding that there was evidence in the cab of the truck of the shooting. According to Cannon, Scott had also been in contact with deputies in Beaufort County over the weekend.

"It's hard to understand what they had in mind. Hard to figure out what their thought process was," Cannon said, responding to questions Tuesday afternoon about the motivation for the killing.

The coroner identified Apps' body Tuesday afternoon. The cause of death was listed as a gunshot wound to the head.

According to Charleston County deputies, Apps' body was found around 8:30 p.m. at a substation located off of McGrath Darby Boulevard.

Officials at the College of Charleston said Apps was set to graduate in 2014. Charleston School of Law officials said Apps was not enrolled at the law school. Reports that he was a CofC graduate and was a law student are unsubstantiated.

Apps' former employer, the Carolina Polo and Carriage Company expressed sadness Tuesday afternoon.

"Alex was a kind soul who passed his love of the Lowcountry on to thousands of visitors and locals alike.{} Alex was a faithful ambassador of our dear City and he will be greatly missed.{} Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends," said Richard Rhett Knoth.

"There's a lot yet to be done," Cannon said, indicating that the investigation was going to continue.

Deputies have not found the gun used in Apps' killing. Neither man accused of killing Apps had a record before the killing.

While both families of the suspects stand by their innocence, it's of little comfort for a family in mourning.

"Alex is gone. He does not deserve to be in society ever again," said one of Apps' family members.

The judge denied bond on the murder and kidnapping charges for both men. Scott also faced armed robbery and gun charges. For that, the judge set bond at $150,000.

Both men are due back in court on Jan. 17.