News 12 First at Five, April 4, 2008
ALLENDALE, S.C. -- Today, 20-year-old Derek Maner is answering to murder charges after investigators say Ericka Bradley is dead and Maner, her boyfriend, killed her.
Today Ericka's family finally got their day in court as well.
Derek Maner woke up in jail for the first time Friday morning, and Ericka's family says they hope he stays there for life.
Gardner, "Do you have anything to say to Ericka's family?"
"Where is ericka's body?" "Do you know where she is?" Derek Maner gives no answers to questions investigators believe only he can answer.
"Hard seeing him walk up in that courtroom, like he had no remorse, like he hadn't did anything." says Jackie Bradley, Ericka's mother.
"I wish they could grill him, shine the hard lights on him and mmmmmmmm.... make him talk-tell us where she is you know, tell us where she is!" adds Ericka's grandmother Modestine Williams.
Strapped, shackled and cuffed, the man Ericka Bradley once loved, stands before a judge and her family and faces his charges.
"You are being charged with capital murder, do you understand your charges?" asked the Judge to Maner.
Ericka's family says they also understand this means--despite their efforts -- she probably isn't coming home alive. "I mean we crawled on the ground, we digged with shovels, i even dug with my hands." explains her aunt, Bonnie Myers.
Searches that for 17 months, turned up nothing. Searches maner and his family never participated in and today, he stood alone--with no one on his side not even his Mom and Dad.
"For them not to show up, for me, it's a sign of guilt." adds Myers.
The couple's son, named Ty Derrius-- may grow up without both of his parents. He is being raised by Maner's family, but Ericka's family says they will now fight for custody.
"It was just like looking the devil in the face." says Ericka's other grandmother Annie Ruth Wright who confronted Maner in court and surprisingly to her, he looked back.
"He just don't have a heart, he just don't have a heart." adds Jackie Bradley.
But Ericka's family says she did have a heart, and it belonged to Derek Maner.
"She loved him very much, she did anything in the world for him." says Bradley.
Now the only other thing in the world Ericka's family wants is to bring her home. "Ericka if you are gone, darling i love you and may god forever bless you and we are going to take care of your child." cries Phillips.
Investigators say there is a possiblity of other arrests in this case, but they won't add who.
Derek Maner will have a bond hearing in the next few weeks.
In the meantime he was taken to another county jail because Ericka's uncle works at the Allendale County jail.
Investigators say they still don't know where Ericka's body is. They hope so for the family's sake that Derek will tell investigators where to find her remains, but the say they don't need it to get a conviction in their minds--they say the evidence speaks for itself.