Suspected killer often threatened Cairnes, says family of slain man

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By Jesef Williams

Ronnie Cairnes and Darren Winchester had a turbulent history that goes back several years, according to Cairnes' family and residents of Blakley Crossroads.

Winchester lived in a two-story house about 150 yards across the road from Cairnes' business, Cedar Creek Bait and Tackle Shop, at Cedar Creek Road (S.C. 97) and Green Road.

Cairnes' brother, David, said Winchester came to the business regularly to start trouble.

Cairnes asked Winchester to stop coming to the shop and called law enforcement after Winchester tried to set fire to the store a few months ago, David Cairnes said.

"Every time he came to the store, he would start something," David Cairnes said. "He made numerous threats on my brother's life."

Renee Hall, who once operated a convenience store at the intersection, said Winchester was upset with Ronnie Cairnes because he shot and killed a dog that belonged to Hall's father, William Roach.

Roach, who died Tuesday, was good friends with Winchester for about eight years. Roach lived in a house behind where Hall's convenience store once stood. Winchester's friendship with Roach started from small conversations at the store.

"He was like a daddy to Darren," Hall said Wednesday.

'There is no love lost'

Donald Pate, whose house sits at an angle in front of Winchester's house, said Winchester often fired his shotgun in the air for no apparent reason.

Last week, Pate said Winchester was walking down the street holding a gun and a beer

Pate said he was so bothered by Winchester that he built an 8-foot fence around his property to help keep him away.

Pate believes the community will be safer without Winchester around.

"There is no love lost there," Pate said. "The community is going to be a lot safer now."

Contact reporter Jesef Williams at jwilliams@thelancasternews.com or at (803) 283-1152

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