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Arrests Made in Store Clerk's Killing


(Columbia) - Relieved. That's how Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott says he's feeling now that two men have been arrested in connection with the September 27, 2004 killing of Will Grandstaff.Lott says 26-year-old Jamie Marrero and 33-year-old Lamont Ellis were arrested for Grandstaff's murder after his department received a tip last week identifying the two. Lott says Marrero turned himself in on March 30. Ellis turned himself in on April 1.Grandstaff was killed while working at the Kangaroo Convenience Store on Garners Ferry Road.Lott says he promised the victim's family that they would get some closure from their loss."I called them on the one year anniversary of this case to let them know that we weren't going to forget about it. I promised them one day we would solve it."Grandstaff's mother, Sue Grandstaff, had trouble holding back the tears."I had strong faith, and hope that time would tell, that they would be caught, and my prayers have been answered."In 2004, Will Grandstaff's uncle, Billy Riester told News19, "It tore us up. First, it was hard to believe. We thought it was a customer, obviously deputies came out and confirmed it was Will."Billy wondered why his 24-year-old nephew, a clerk at the Kangaroo convenience store on Garners Ferry Road, was killed in such a vicious way. He added, "It wasn't enough just to beat him up. They found it necessary to kill him."In surveillance video from the store, Will is seen coming out of the cooler in the back of the store. Then, he is attacked by two suspects who are wearing masks. Will is then shot and killed.Billy said Will's mother lost a piece of her heart. "This was her baby. Her best friend. The love of her life for twenty-four years."Billy said Will was a child at heart. He loved video and computer games, and he loved going bowling every Sunday with his mom. He added, "Even if they didn't do real well, he'd come home with a small smile because he had a good time."Will worked nights at the Kangaroo. It was a job he loved, but he had future plans. "He loved working, but he had plans to go back to college and pursue some type of computer career."Authorities say Marrero and Ellis are career criminals. Each has a lengthy arrest record.

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