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SC shooting victim protected child, wife says. Family met teen suspects through Facebook Marketplace, authorities say.
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SC shooting victim protected child, wife says. Family met teen suspects through Facebook Marketplace, authorities say.

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A 34-year-old Cordova, S.C. man was shot and killed Wednesday in the presence of his pregnant wife, her 8-year-old son and her 7-year-old daughter.

Alexander “Cody” Presley protected the 8-year-old first, according to his wife, Kayla Cox.

“He was a hero,” Cox said of Presley. “He shoved my son out of the way so he wouldn’t get shot.”

Edward Stokes, 17, Branchville, S.C., is facing charges of murder and armed robbery.

Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office warrants accuse him of taking $4,600 from Presley and then shooting and killing him.

Warrants allege a 13-year-old accomplice confessed his role to deputies and claimed Stokes was the shooter.

The sheriff’s office did not name the 13-year-old due to his age.

Stokes is being charged as an adult, Williams said.

On Thursday afternoon, Stokes appeared before Orangeburg County Magistrate Robert “Bob” Lake for his formal arraignment. A circuit judge may consider setting bond on Stokes at a later date.

Cox told deputies that she, Presley and the children traveled to a location on Saddle Ridge Road, in an unincorporated area of Branchville, S.C. to meet the sellers of a 2019 green Polaris Sportsman 450 four-wheeler the family saw advertised on Facebook’s Marketplace.

When they arrived at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, two male teens arrived with the four-wheeler.

Cox told deputies that after Presley paid the older teen and loaded the four-wheeler onto a trailer, the older teen “began acting strange.”

She told Presley she had “a feeling something bad was about to happen,” the report states.

Within moments, the older teen allegedly attacked Presley.

Presley told him, “Man, just take whatever you want. Don’t do it,” Cox recalled, saying her husband tried to negotiate with him.

She alleged that the gunman pointed the firearm at her 8-year-old son first and threatened her with it too.

She said the older teen grabbed Presley by the back of the neck and shot him during a struggle.

She said the males then got into her 1997 Ford Expedition and started to drive away.

She told deputies that her two children were inside of the Expedition just before the incident started but managed to get out. Presley’s 11-year-old son wasn’t present.

As deputies continued to gather information from Cox, a dispatcher radioed that someone located the Expedition nearby and reported that two males possibly fled on foot, according to the report.

By this time, Presley succumbed to his wounds, despite the efforts of first responders to save him, the report states.

The S.C. Highway Patrol, S.C. Department of Natural Resources and Bowman Police Department joined deputies in the search for the two males. They also asked residents in the area to be on the lookout.

Deputies found the younger teen suspect first.

Capt. Randy Culler and Maj. Rene Williams located the older teen afterward.

Cox said on Thursday that Presley was buying the four-wheeler as an anniversary gift for her.

She and Presley planned to ride the four-wheeler. He was going to give her a fairy-tale type of marriage proposal with flowers and other special touches.

She said Presley asked her to marry him some time ago, but never had the opportunity to give her a formal marriage proposal.

They were planning to celebrate their marriage officially in December, she said.

On Friday, she was scheduled to pick up her wedding ring.

They are expecting their first child.

Cox said if she has a boy, he’ll have the name “Cody,” for his daddy.

“He was an amazing artist,” Cox said, noting that Presley worked as a tattoo artist for the past 13 years in Cordova, S.C.

“He loved to hunt and fish and I have some doves in the freezer he just got for me,” she said. ‘

She described Presley as smart, kind, funny and loving.

Tina Presley, the slain man’s mother, described her son’s personality as “overwhelming.”

“He’d make you laugh, that’s for sure,” she said.

With tears rolling down her cheeks, Presley said he was her only child.

“He’s not supposed to go before me,” she said.

Contact the writer: mbrown@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-533-5545. Follow on Twitter: @MRBrownTandD.

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