It’s a day that changed the VFW Post in Laurens forever.
“I never will forget that day as long as I live,” said Post Commander Wayne Kinard.
He was also commander on September 26, 2003 when 76-year-old James Bolt, a Korean War Army Veteran, was beaten to death while working behind the bar there.
Kinard says his friend lost his life over $400 in the cash register.
“I made a commitment to the VFW members and his family that as long as I was in good health and able to do the job, I wanted to stay on as commander until this case is solved,” said Kinard.
Ever since the murder, Kinard and two other friends have made it their mission to find those responsible.
“When we think people are forgetting, Lamar, Wayne and I would do something. We would go call the chief and sit down and talk to him. We would pass these flyers out. We’d go talk to people,” said Bill Palmer, friend and member of ABATE of South Carolina.
They’ve also helped raise the reward money to $5,500.
And for the first time in years, there’s a break in the case.
On Tuesday, Laurens City Police arrested and charged 64-year-old Brenda L. Roberts with accessory after the fact of murder. They say she helped destroy evidence to hide the crime.
Police tell us several tips led to the arrest and that more arrests are coming.
“I hope it’s the beginning of the end,” said Kinard.
Bolt’s friends vow never to let up until his case is closed.
“That old man was, I guess a good of friend as I’ve ever had,” said Palmer. “He was a treasure to Laurens County, I tell you.”
“It happened on my watch. I want it to end on my watch,” said Kinard.
A judge denied bond for Roberts Wednesday morning. Her next court appearance is set for August 28th in Laurens County.
In 2004, Laurens Police charged several people in the case.
In 2006, all charges were dropped for lack of evidence.
In 2010, Bolt’s murder became Laurens County Crimestoppers’ first case.
Now, it’s offering up to $5,500 for information leading to an arrest.
If you know anything, call 68-CRIME.