Greenville, SC (FOX Carolina) - On Wednesday, 20-year-old Deltravious Daquandra Howard made his first court appearance since turning himself into deputies after being charged in the murder of Jayla Thomas-Smith.
It was Tuesday when investigators with the Greenville County Sheriff's Office announced the 20-year-old man accused of killing Thomas-Smith had turned himself in just a few hours after asking for the public's assistance in finding him.
Also present Wednesday was the family of Thomas-Smith and Smith's mother, Rhonetta Thomas spoke during the hearing.
Thomas looked at Howard and said, "You took the only life that actually loved you and cared about you. Look me in my eyes and let me know why you kill my daughter." Thomas went on to say, "I don't ever want to see you walk this earth again, I want you to get the lethal injection."
Thomas went on to say that Howard's family was no better than him, alleging they hid him knowing what he is accused of.
According to sheriff's deputies, Howard's brother, Delgardo Daquan Howard was arrested last week for lying to investigators, which he did on four different occasions according to his arrest warrant, trying to cover up his brother's involvement in Jayla's death.
Delgardo Howard was charged with accessory after the fact. Investigators say he was released on a $25k bond.
According to the sheriff's office Deltravious Howard shot and killed Jayla Thomas-Smith following a domestic dispute.
Deputies say her body was found along the road near the intersection of Old Pelzer Road and Piedmont Highway on February 24th. The sheriff's office says that Howard has been on the run ever since.
Deputies have charged Deltravious Howard with murder, possession of a weapon during a violent crime and petit larceny.
On Wednesday Howard was ordered to be held without bond at the Greenville County Detention Center.
A spokesperson for Thomas-Smith's family issued a statement following the hearing:
The family wants to express their gratitude with the following statement: “We are so grateful for everyone who loved Jayla and have precious memories to cherish she was a bright light in this world for her family and friends.”
Thank you for your prayers. Please respect our privacy.