Jason Rivenburg murder trial begins in South Carolina

| 12/3/2009

A man who was talking on the phone with Jason Rivenburg when the 35-year-old trucker was shot twice in the head testified Tuesday, Dec. 1, as the murder trial opened in St. Matthews, SC.

Rivenburg’s friend Jerry Dubin told the court he suddenly heard Rivenburg say, “Oh my God!” Then Dubin heard two loud noises.

Rivenburg was parked in a vacant gas station lot off Interstate 26 on the night of March 5 when he was killed.

Prosecutors say 22-year-old Willie Pelzer, who is being tried on murder charges, fired the two shots from a 45-caliber pistol at close range. Pelzer, who was on probation for grand larceny at the time, reportedly made off with $7 in cash although Rivenburg was carrying other money and a credit card.

In his opening remarks, a prosecutor told the jury, “It doesn’t get any more malicious than the facts you’re going to hear over the next few days.”

Testimony continued Wednesday, with two alleged accomplices claiming that Pelzer threatened to kill them if they didn’t help him get out of the area after the killing.

A pathologist testified that Rivenburg was shot twice in the head with a 45-caliber pistol, and a detective testified that a total of six shell casings were found at the scene.

A reporter for the Orangeburg Times & Democrat said Pelzer showed no emotion during any of the testimony.