3 arrested in March killing of Lancaster Co. store owner

- Three men have been arrested in connection to the March death of a Lancaster County convenience store owner, authorities say. 

Jaquinton Tradell Blair, 23, of Lancaster, Lajames Arteian Ross, 22, of Charlotte, and Richard Devauhn Stewart, 42, of Lancaster, are facing charges related to the murder of 43-year-old Harnish Patel, according to the Lancaster County Sheriff's Office.

The incident happened about 11:33 p.m. on March 2 near the White Oak Manor long term care facility on Craig Manor Road. Deputies say they found Patel with gunshot wounds laying in his front yard a few feet from the side door to his home. He was pronounced dead on scene. 

Related: Man found shot, killed in his yard in Lancaster County

All three men are charged with conspiracy to commit armed robbery. Stewart is facing an additional charge of accessory before the fact of attempted armed robbery.

“Although no one has yet been charged with the murder of Mr. Patel, our investigators continue to work this case hard,” said Sheriff Barry Faile.  “We are continuing to put information together and will not slow down until we are satisfied we have the whole story and have arrested the person or persons directly responsible for Mr. Patel’s death.”   

All three men remain in the Lancaster County Detention Center. Blair and Ross have $85,000 bonds, and bond was denied for Stewart. 

Patel was the proprietor of the Speedee Mart located at 1416 Pageland Highway in Lancaster.  He closed his store and left in his silver Toyota Sienna minivan at 11:24 p.m. Thursday night.  Investigators believe he drove from the store directly home, where he was confronted by his killer when he got out of the vehicle.

Anyone with information about this or any other case should call the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office at 803-283-3388 or Crimestoppers at 888-CRIME-SC (888-274-6372).

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