A South Carolina man who was charged in the death of a Cherokee County woman who was struck by a bullet during target practice faces upgraded charges following new forensic evidence.
The Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office said 42-year-old Kesha Tate was shot while standing at the back door of her home on Songbird Lane late Saturday afternoon.
Investigators said that 30-year-old Nicholas Skyler Lucas was shooting a gun in his backyard for target practice.
A bullet struck Tate, causing fatal injuries.
Tate leaves behind 9 children.
“She has babies, her youngest is 4 and she has a grandbaby. They don’t understand what’s going on,” said Beverly Vercher, Tate’s sister.
Lucas was then charged with involuntary manslaughter and shooting under the influence.
On Tuesday, the sheriff’s office said that forensic evidence showed that the round which hit Tate was not from a bullet that ricocheted while target practicing.
“The only way the victim could have been struck was for the shooter to turn and intentionally fire in that direction,” said Sheriff Steve Mueller.
Sheriff Mueller says the bullet, retrieved during an autopsy, didn’t show the deformity it would have if it had struck an object first.
“We believe based on the forensic work that was done by our team that we can clearly say this was not an accident, that it was not a ricochet,” he said.
“People can easily by untruthful or leave out pertinent details when speaking with investigators but the forensic evidence cannot lie and it’s the evidence that speaks justice for the victim of a crime,” said Sheriff Steve Mueller.
Lucas has now been charged with murder, discharging a firearm into a dwelling, and shooting under the influence.
Lucas appeared before a judge Tuesday and spoke out about the charges.
“It was a complete accident. I don’t understand why anyone would ever think that I was out to get that woman, or whatever they think,” said Lucas.
The bond hearing was packed with people.
“So, we’re grateful for the community’s support and just for the Sheriff’s Office for doing what we needed them to do,” said Vercher.
“Kesha’s not here to speak, but the forensics spoke for her, the forensics spoke for her today,” said Sheriff Mueller.
“Love your loved ones while they’re still here. It’s too late when that day comes when you can’t say that,” said the victim’s sister.
Tate’s family and friends say they will continue to fight for Kesha Tate and the loved ones she left behind.
“Let’s fight peacefully. Let’s work together in the community with the Sheriff’s Department and get this man put away for the rest of his life.”
Lucas is being held in the Cherokee County Detention Center without bond.
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