21-year-old arrested in 2016 Beaufort armed robberies

21-year-old arrested in 2016 Beaufort armed robberies
Zajhun James (Source: Fourteenth Circuit Solicitor's Office)

BEAUFORT, SC (WTOC) - A 21-year-old Seabrook man who robbed four people at gunpoint in 2016 has been sentenced to 17 years in prison.

The 14th Circuit Solicitor's Office says Zajhun Travist James plead guilty Monday to four counts of armed robbery and one count of possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime. A trial was scheduled to begin Monday at the Beaufort County Courthouse, but James chose to enter a guilty plea instead. Officials say all four instances took place within one day.

'In one of those cases, the defendant stuck a gun in the man's face and asked if he was scared and ready to die,' Assistant Solicitor Dustin Whetsel said, in a release. "When deputies found the gun used in these robberies, it was fully-loaded and had a 30-round magazine. This could have easily gone a different way.'

James is the third and final defendant to be convicted in connection to the Oct. 16, 2016 armed robberies on County Shed and Joe Frazier roads in Burton.

Officials say Maliek Lashon Bostick, 21, of Burton, plead guilty in September 2017 to armed robbery. He was sentenced to 12 years in prison. The car's driver and James' 21-year-old girlfriend, Sharrin Reed, plead guilty in July 2017 to two counts of attempted armed robbery and received a four-year sentence.

Officials say the trio, driving a black Honda Accord, approached two men standing outside a home on County Shed Road. The victims told law enforcement that they saw a woman driving the car and that two men jumped out. Armed with a handgun, the masked men stole cash and a cell phone. As the car was leaving, the victims saw part of the license plate number and reported it to authorities. A short time later, a second armed robbery was reported on Joe Frazier Road. Again, the victims reported that two men - one wearing a black shirt and the other wearing a blue one - jumped out of a black Honda Accord. This time, the victims were able to take down the car's full license plate number. Authorities say five minutes later, law enforcement surrounded the vehicle. Deputies found a loaded .40-caliber Glock handgun, a 30-round magazine, the victims' wallets, and $900 in cash. The two men inside matched the description given by each of the victims.

James' criminal record includes a 2014 assault and battery conviction.

Monday's sentence was handed down by Circuit Court Judge Edgar W. Dickson. James received 17 years for the armed robberies and five years for the weapons charge. The sentences are to be served concurrently.

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