Man sentence to life in prison for West Columbia murder

Ricky Lamont Esaw (Source: Lexington County Detention Center)

A Lexington County man faces life in prison after killing a man and shooting the man's son in 2015.

After a week-long trial, the Honorable Thomas W. Cooper handed down the sentence to Ricky Lamont Esaw, 42 on Thursday. Esaw was also found guilty of attempted murder, armed robbery, two counts of attempted armed robbery, and possession of a weapon during a violent crime.

Around 9:00 p.m. on August 9, 2015, Esaw approached Hector Vasquez, 45, at Rolling Meadows Mobile Home Park. Esaw confronted Vasquez, his son, and a family friend outside the Vasquez home and pulled out a gun, demanding money.

Vasquez attempted to protect his son and was shot by Esaw in the side of his upper chest. He later died at Palmetto Health Richland Hospital during surgery. Vaquez's son, 17, was also shot but survived.

Esaw's prior record includes convictions for second-degree burglary, aggravated assault, and armed robbery in Jasper County. During a string of robberies, Esaw targeted Hispanic males and brutally attacked them. Those incidents also occurred in mobile home parks. Esaw served 12 years in a Jasper County prison.

“This was a serial, repeat offender who has spent his life targeting vulnerable members of the community that he believed would not report his crimes,” stated Eleventh Circuit Solicitor Rick Hubbard. “This will not be tolerated in Lexington County. We are grateful to law enforcement and our outstanding prosecution team for bringing Esaw to justice.”

Vasquez's family members attended the sentencing and shared memories of the victim, who was the father of four children.

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