A graveside funeral will be held today for 37-year-old Thomas “Jay” Unrue Jr. who was killed outside Lumpy’s Bar and Grill in Pawleys Island early Saturday.
The two men accused in the beating death — Ronnie Gene Ackley Jr., 41, of Pawleys Island and 37-year-old Chris Brian Campbell of Lexington — are both charged with murder due to the incident that took place at the bar at 9259 Ocean Highway at about 3:15 a.m. Saturday.
Ackley, according to the Lumpy’s Facebook page, is on the restaurant culinary team.
Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Carrie Cuthbertson said when deputies arrived, Unrue was found in the parking lot unresponsive.
One of the deputies checked for a pulse but a one could not be detected. Unrue was transported to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Coroner Kenny Johnson said an autopsy conducted Saturday confirmed Unrue suffered injuries to his head and neck inures but the official cause of death is pending further testing. He said no weapons were believed to have been used in the attack.
An incident report states Unrue was on the ground next to a Jeep when deputies arrived. They saw people standing around him and a female kneeling next to him.
Once the area was roped off as a crime scene, officers began questioning witnesses. One man reported seeing the entire incident but his statement to investigators has not been made public.
One witness, identified by deputies as a bar tender, said Unrue was kicked out of the bar because he was trying to go behind the counter and got mad when he was stopped.
“(He) raised his fist several times,” the report states.
Another witness said it was Ackley and Campbell who escorted Unrue from the building. The witness said Unrue was standing next to a boat in the parking lot when she walked outside.
She said Unrue then attempted to walk back inside when the two suspects confronted him and the altercation took place.
She said she did not have a clear view of the altercation because a vehicle was in her line of sight.
Ackley was arrested on scene while Campbell was found later Saturday at his Lexington home. Both men will remain in jail at least until they have a bond hearing in General Sessions Court. That may not take place until sometime in March.
This is the first murder this year in Georgetown County and the fourth since August. Three of those four killings have taken place at Pawleys Island. One was in the City of Georgetown.
By Scott Harper
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