Lexington County man sentenced to life for murder while targeting hispanics

Lexington, SC - Ricky Lamont Esaw, a 42 year old Lexington County man, was sentenced to life without parole for the murder of Hector Vasquez, which occurred on August 9, 2015 in the West Columbia area of Lexington County. The sentence was imposed on Thursday, October 19, 2017, by the Honorable Thomas W. Cooper, Jr. following a week long jury trial. Esaw was also found guilty of attempted murder, armed robbery, two counts of attempted armed robbery, and possession of a weapon during a violent crime.

Eleventh Circuit Solicitor Rick Hubbard commended the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department for their work during the course of the murder investigation. “This was a serial, repeat offender who has spent his life targeting vulnerable members of the community that he believed would not report his crimes,” stated Hubbard. “This will not be tolerated in Lexington County. We are grateful to law enforcement and our outstanding prosecution team for bringing Esaw to justice.”

Hector Vasquez, age 45, a Hispanic married father of four children, was murdered at Rolling Meadows Mobile Home Park on August 9, 2015 at around 9:00 pm. Esaw confronted Vasquez outside of his home, pointed a gun, and demanded money. Also present during the robbery was Vasquez’s seventeen year old son and a Vasquez family acquaintance. When Vasquez came to the defense of his son, Esaw shot Vasquez in the side of his upper chest. Vasquez later died during surgery at Palmetto Health Richland hospital. Vasquez’s seventeen year old son was also shot during the robbery and survived. Following a 911 call, the Sheriff’s Department responded to the scene and immediately began an investigation.

A Midlands Crimestopper’s tip assisted law enforcement with a lead that led to the arrest of Esaw. Esaw had a prior record that included convictions for burglary 2nd degree, aggravated assault, and armed robbery out of Jasper County where he was sentenced to prison for twelve years in 2001. The crimes in Jasper County involved a string of robberies in which Hispanic males were the target of brutal attacks. The prior robberies also occurred in mobile home parks.

This investigation was led by Detectives John Moore and Barry Sowards of the Lexington County Sheriff’s Office - Major Crimes Unit. The Richland County Sheriff’s Department and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division also assisted in the investigation.

Family members of Hector Vasquez spoke at the sentencing hearing and shared memories of Vasquez as a devoted husband of twenty years and a dedicated father of four. Senior Assistant Solicitors Rhonda W. Patterson and Angela G. Martin prosecuted the case for the 11th Circuit Solicitor’s Office.

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