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Man charged in killing of South Carolina deputy dies days after jail booking


The man accused of killing a South Carolina deputy earlier this year died days after he was transferred from the hospital to jail. 

The Spartanburg County Coroner’s Office announced Saturday that 63-year-old Duane Heard died at 6:11 a.m. on Friday at a hospice house in Rock Hill. 

Heard was facing multiple charges, including capital murder, in the June 21 shooting death of Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Deputy Austin Aldridge. 

The coroner said Heard was shot two times that day and had been hospitalized since he was taken into custody. He was transferred to the York County Detention Center on Oct. 20 after he was approved for discharge.

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Duane Heard, 63, died days after he was booked into jail for the June killing of Spartanburg County Deputy Austin Aldridge.
(York County Detention Center)

Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright reportedly requested that Heard be jailed in a different county to avoid any allegations of impropriety, and York County Sheriff Kevin Toleson agreed, according to the coroner’s statement.

Heard’s health began to deteriorate, and he was ultimately moved to the hospice home where he died.

Though Heard died in York County, the Spartanburg County coroner will be investigating his death since his injuries and the events leading up to them took place in Spartanburg.

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Spartanburg County Deputy Austin Aldridge died after he was shot while investigating a domestic dispute on June 21, 2022.

Spartanburg County Deputy Austin Aldridge died after he was shot while investigating a domestic dispute on June 21, 2022.
(Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office/Facebook)

Deputy Aldridge was shot and killed after arriving at Heard’s home to investigate an assault report from his wife. According to the sheriff’s office, when Aldridge knocked on Heard’s door, the man opened it and shot the deputy. He also stole the deputy’s gun, stun gun and key to his patrol car before fleeing the scene.

After an armed confrontation with neighbors and a police pursuit, Heard was eventually taken into custody in the woods near the Keurig Dr. Pepper distribution center in Moore, South Carolina. 

According to South Carolina publication GoUpstate, Sheriff Wright confirmed Heard was shot two times during the apprehension and life-saving measures were given to “the guy that just killed one of our deputies.”

“We do it right,” Wright said during a news conference. “Our men and women had every opportunity to fix this problem down in the woods, and they did not do it, because they know that we’re no better than them if we do, and that’s not what Austin would have wanted, no way.”

Spartanburg County Deputy Austin Aldridge is seen giving a stuffed animal to a child while on patrol. He was shot and killed in the line of duty June 21, 2022.

Spartanburg County Deputy Austin Aldridge is seen giving a stuffed animal to a child while on patrol. He was shot and killed in the line of duty June 21, 2022.
(Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office/Facebook)

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Aldridge was a husband and a father-to-be at the time of his death.



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