Walhalla, SC – An Oconee County jury convicted Kenneth Strother Collins of Murder, Kidnapping and the Possession of a Weapon during the Commission of a Violent Crime today in Oconee General Sessions Court. The Honorable Scott Sprouse sentenced Collins to 30 years for Murder and 20 years for Kidnapping to be served consecutively as well as 5 years for the weapons charge to be served concurrently. The State was represented by Deputy Solicitor Lindsey Simmons who was assisted by Assistant Solicitor Jason Alderman.
On January 12, 2015, Jeremy Little was staying at an apartment at Walhalla Gardens where he met Collins and two other individuals. Collins purchased some methamphetamine from Little who was going to go meet with Collins later to get the rest of the money for the drugs. Sometime after 1 a.m. on January 13th, Little arrived at 505 N. Laurel Street in Walhalla where he was to retrieve money and smoke methamphetamine with Collins and others in the home. Two of the witnesses stated that when they came into the house that Collins was in a rage, brandishing a large knife and accusing Little of being an law enforcement informant. During his rage, he stabbed the victim, walked away and then returned to kick and stomp him in the face. As he lay helpless in the floor, Collins stabbed Little in the back again as one of the witnesses watched.
The witnesses were then forced to help Collins clean up the crime scene. The victim was stripped, gagged, bound and stuffed in a sack inside of rugs and other materials while he was still alive. Collins planned to hide the victim’s body in the attic but law enforcement arrived before they could hide him.
Upon receiving two 911 calls, officers went to the location and at first found the house dark and quiet. When they went back later, they saw blood and forced entry into the house. Little’s body was found at the attic stairs but Collins and the two witnesses who were hiding in the attic were not immediately found. Several hours later, one of the witnesses fell through the ceiling from the attic where she and the others had been hiding under insulation. Collins later came down from the attic with a gun cocked in his mouth but was taken into custody before any shots were fired.
Although Collins claimed self-defense in this case, witness testimony and forensic evidence proved otherwise.
Solicitor David Wagner stated after the trial, “Kenneth Collins committed a savage attack on Jeremy Little. Jeremy Little begged for his life and Collins continued to brutally assault and stab him. Then, in a final brutal act, Collins stripped Little, bound him, gagged him and stuffed him in a bag while he was still alive in an attempt to hide his crime. Collins now has 50 years in prison to reflect on his crimes and how many people have been hurt because of his actions. Unfortunately, this will not make up for the loss of Jeremy Little to his family members and friends. However, it will prevent Collins from hurting or possibly killing someone else. I would like to thank Oconee County Sheriff’s Office and Walhalla Police Department for the excellent work done on this case.”