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Pleas nets 10 years for Tabor man in Horry murder, robbery cases

James Laverne Bellamy


     Guilty pleas related to a deadly shooting in Longs and subsequent robbery in Loris has resulted in a 10-year prison sentence for a Tabor City man.

     James Laverne Bellamy, 51, entered guilty pleas to accessory after the fact of murder and criminal conspiracy to commit armed robbery, said Mary-Ellen Walter, the senior assistant solicitor who prosecuted the case for the 15th Circuit Solicitor’s Office.

     Circuit Court Judge Thomas W. Cooper sentenced Bellamy to ten years in prison for the accessory after the fact charge, and five years for conspiracy, those sentences to run concurrently. Maximum penalties for those charges were 15 years for accessory after the fact, five years for conspiracy, a news release from the solicitor’s office said.

     “The victim was happy that someone is at least taking some responsibility for her husband’s murder,” Walter said.

Parking lot murder, hotel robbery

     Bellamy was the first of four men eventually charged in connection with the Aug. 15, 2018 murder of Gerard Celentano, 57, in the Food Lion parking lot on SC 9 in Longs; and robbery later that evening at The Carolina Inn in Loris.

     Celentano was shot and killed during an aborted robbery attempt as he attempted to drive away from a carjacking attempt, an Horry County Police Department spokesman said at the time.

     In addition to the Carolina Inn robbery, the spree was believed connected to the robbery of a Quick Mart in Chadbourn, investigators said.

     Those later charged with in Celentano’s killing and the Carolina Inn robbery were Stephon Miller and Rodney Crayshawn Gore of Tabor City, and Julius Thomas Stephens of Chadbourn.

     Look for more on this story in the next Tabor-Loris Tribune in print and online.