Myrtle Beach motel drug bust: Police charge man with murder

 Myrtle Beach motel drug bust: Police charge man with murder

1201 S. Ocean Blvd, the motel where Myrtle Beach police say a man was killed during an armed robbery Thursday morning.

1201 S. Ocean Blvd, the motel where Myrtle Beach police say a man was killed during an armed robbery Thursday morning.

The Sun News

Myrtle Beach police have another suspect behind bars after an armed robbery led to murder at an Ocean Boulevard motel last month.

John Whitney, 35, according to police, is the second person to be charged with murder in the March 25 armed robbery that left one person dead. Jeffrey Seth Eckard, 33, also faces a murder charge.

Police say the pair are responsible for the death of 43-year-old Jermaine Stewart, from Conway.

Whitney was arrested in connection to an attempted murder in June, 2020 but the case was dismissed in September, public records show.

On March 19, 2021, six days before the fatal shooting, Whitney was charged with possession of methamphetamine and marijuana. He was arrested and let out of jail on a $5,000 personal recognizance bond. This means he only needed to sign his name and agree to return to court at a later date. This type of bond is usually given by a magistrate judge when they believe the accused is not a flight risk or risk to the community.

On March 25, 2021, police found methamphetamine, heroin, crack cocaine, marijuana, weapons and a dead body in a Myrtle Beach motel room.

The crime

Officers were called to the Waterpark Motel at 1201 S. Ocean Blvd., about 1:30 a.m. after a body was found with fatal gunshot wounds, on the second floor of a motel room, Myrtle Beach Police Cpl. Thomas Vest said.

That night, the Horry County Coroner’s Office identified the man who was killed as Stewart.

During the investigation, detectives found more evidence at Motel 6 on Frontage Road East that led them to a third hotel. Officials did not provide details about what was found at Motel 6.

Officers found drugs and a second man suffering from a non-life threatening gunshot wound at Bermuda Sands at 104 N. Ocean Blvd.

Warrants give new details

Warrants reviewed by The Sun News show details from the motel room where the suspects were arrested. Police said during a March 26, 2021 bond hearing that the five people charged all lived at the Waterpark Motel.

Most of them denied the charges.

Police responded to the motel room and found Stewart dead from gunshot wounds. They also found a black Highpoint CF380 .38 caliber gun and heroin, meth and crack cocaine.

Michael Phillips, 30, according to police, was charged with accessory after the fact of a felony, possession of a weapon during a violent crime, trafficking heroin and methamphetamine, possession of crack cocaine and a schedule IV substance, and simple possession of marijuana.

Police said he helped hide the gun used in the attempted robbery that led to the shooting. They also said he had 32.4 grams of methamphetamine, 11.05 grams of heroin and .95 grams of crack cocaine in the room. Police found pills identified as alprazolam, commonly used as anxiety medicine, in the room as well.

A Myrtle Beach judge denied Phillips bond on the trafficking charges. He had previous convictions from 2014 and 2016.

Melissa Hudson, 28, faced similar charges and an additional charge of credit card theft. Police say they found her wallet containing two credit cards that did not belong to her. Her bond for that charge was set at $35,615.

At the time of her arrest, Hudson was out on bond for a 2019 drug trafficking charge in Greenville. The magistrate judge, who set the bonds for all the other charges, was not able to set the bond on Hudson’s drug trafficking charges. Because she is out on bail for another charge a circuit court judge must set her bond for the Myrtle Beach drug trafficking charge.

Melissa Funderburk, 38, according to police, was charged with possession of crack cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin, and simple possession of marijuana. Police say they found under a gram of heroin, methamphetamine and crack cocaine in a cigarette pack in the room. She has previous convictions from 2019 and 2020, according to warrants. Her bond was set at $30,615.

Marion Couick, 51, was charged with possession of methamphetamine, heroin, and crack cocaine and simple possession of marijuana. He has previous convictions from 2017 and 2019. His bond was set at $45,615.

Bohannon Martin, 30, was charged with trafficking crack cocaine after police said they found 27.6 grams of it in a shoe. His bond was set at $50,000.

Profile Image of Gerard Albert III

Gerard Albert III reports on any and everything in Myrtle Beach for The Sun News. Albert was editor-in-chief at Florida International University’s student newspaper. He also covered Miami-Dade and Broward County for WLRN, South Florida’s NPR station. He is an award-winning journalist who has reported throughout South Florida and New York City. He enjoys balancing the discipline and conviction in journalism with finding creative ways to find the truth and report it. Si, hablo espanol.

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