The 11th Circuit Solicitor’s Office has announced a 45-year sentence of the Columbia man responsible for a 2017 murder at City Nightz Bar and Grill.
Validated Gang Member Sentenced to 45 Years in Lexington County Murder Case.
Christopher J. Brisbon, a 31-year-old Columbia man, has been sentenced to forty (45) years in prison following his conviction in Lexington County for Murder, Burglary – Second Degree (violent), and Possession of a Weapon during the commission of a Violent Crime. Judge Eugene C. Griffith, Jr. imposed a sentence of 40 years on the murder charge and 5 years on the weapon charge, to be served consecutively. Brisbon was also sentenced to 15 years on the burglary charge. Brisbon is not eligible for parole under South Carolina law.
The trial began on February 22nd and concluded earlier this week when the jury returned its verdict on Monday, February 28th in Lexington County General Sessions Court.
Eleventh Circuit Solicitor Rick Hubbard stated, “We are grateful for the efforts of Sheriff Jay Koon and the entire Sheriff’s Department in their work on this case. The defendant was connected to gang activity in Richland County and crossed into Lexington County to commit this crime. We will pursue all measures to eliminate gang-related violence in our community.”
Evidence presented at trial established that Brisbon was one of two masked men who entered the City Nightz Bar and Grill, located at 2112 Old Dunbar Road in Lexington County, around 2:17 am on December 17, 2017. Several witnesses were located in a back office area, along with the deceased victim, Rodney Leak, age 41, who was employed as a manager at the club. Testimony, along with evidence at the scene, established that the masked assailants were armed when they entered, without consent, from a side door located at the back porch. One of the men pointed a gun directly at Leak, who was located behind a counter. Leak sustained multiple gunshot wounds and was later pronounced dead at the scene. The assailants fled the scene immediately after the shooting.
The Lexington County Sheriff’s Department (LCSD) responded within minutes to the club after receiving a 911 call from a witness at 12:20 am. Members of the LCSD Crime Scene Investigation unit responded to process the scene and discovered a .40 caliber Smith & Wesson magazine clip dropped on the floor by one of the assailants. The clip was collected as evidence and processed by the S.C. Law Enforcement Division (SLED) crime lab. SLED determined that a fingerprint was present on the surface of the clip. SLED identified the fingerprint as belonging to Christopher Brisbon, which led to Brisbon being developed as a suspect in the case. Investigators also tracked Brisbon’s cell phone location to the area of the crime scene at the time of the murder. Brisbon was arrested and charged with murder on December 21, 2017.
Later analysis by SLED also confirmed the presence of Brisbon’s DNA on the magazine clip. Based on the law enforcement investigation, it is believed that Brisbon, along with an unidentified accomplice, intended to rob the victim of items located within the club. The second assailant remains unidentified and at large.
This case was prosecuted by Eleventh Circuit Deputy Solicitor Suzanne Mayes and Senior Assistant Solicitor Rhonda Patterson of the Solicitor’s Office. The murder investigation was conducted by Det. Brannon Marthers of the LCSD Major Crimes Unit.
Family members of the victim, Rodney Leak, addressed the court during sentencing to convey the impact of his loss. Brisbon has been transported to the S.C. Department of Corrections to begin immediate service of the sentence.