Kingstree, South Carolina — United States Attorney Peter M. McCoy, Jr. announced today that Trevor Raekwon Seward, 22, and Jerome Terrell Davis, 28, both of Andrews, have been charged in a six-count federal indictment for their alleged roles in the September 23, 2019, murder of postal employee Irene Pressley, 64, along her mail route in rural Williamsburg County. A third defendant, Ricky Jesus Barajas, 28, of Santa Rosa, California, was charged alongside Seward and Davis for a drug conspiracy, and Barajas and Davis were charged for use of a communication facility to commit a drug offense on the date of the murder.
“First and foremost, my heart goes out to Ms. Pressley’s family for their profound loss. She was an exceptional woman who spent a lifetime in service of her community,” said U.S. Attorney McCoy. “This indictment alleges one of the most serious crimes in the criminal justice system: murder. It marks the result of exhaustive efforts by our federal, state, and local partners to investigate every facet of this case, and to do right by Ms. Pressley and her family. This office will continue to rely on these partnerships and use every tool at our disposal to aggressively prosecute violent crimes against the citizens of South Carolina.”
“One of the top priorities of the United States Postal Inspection Service is to protect postal employees, and when one of our postal family members is attacked, we do not rest until the perpetrator is caught,” said Tommy D. Coke, Postal Inspector in Charge of the Atlanta Division. “This investigation demonstrated the strength of multiple communities; through Inspection Service personnel from across the country who joined together with our local law enforcement partners to deliver justice, from the local community which showed resiliency amidst tragedy, and from the postal family who continued to proudly serve the community despite the terrible loss of one of their own.”
Pressley, who was found dead in her vehicle near her mail route in Andrews the afternoon of September 23, had worked with the Postal Service for more than two decades. The federal charges come after an extensive joint federal, state, and local investigation involving more than 70 law enforcement officers.
Seward and Davis were initially arrested in the weeks following September 23 on state charges related to Pressley’s murder. According to documents filed with the state court upon their arrest, just after 3 p.m., Seward and Davis allegedly shot Pressley multiple times with a semi-automatic weapon in an attempt to steal a package containing marijuana. Additionally, numerous shell casings were found at the scene of the shooting and forensic laboratory results from the United States Postal Inspection Service indicated at least one fingerprint on a mail parcel that connected Seward to the murder.
Yesterday’s federal indictment charges Seward and Davis with a number of crimes related to the murder and a drug conspiracy during the time of the murder:
- Seward and Davis are charged with killing Pressley “with premeditation and malice aforethought” while she was engaged in her official duties as a mail carrier;
- Seward and Davis are charged with obstructing the delivery of United States mail by means of actual or threatened force;
- Seward is charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition, and carrying a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence and causing the murder of Pressley by shooting her;
- Seward and Davis, along with Barajas, are charged in a marijuana distribution conspiracy; and
- Davis and Barajas are charged with using a telephone to facilitate the drug conspiracy on the date of the murder.
Seward and Davis face a sentence of no less than life in federal prison if convicted, and Barajas faces a maximum possible penalty of five years in federal prison. No final decision has been made regarding whether the Government will seek the death penalty.
The case was investigated by the United States Postal Inspection Service, South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED), 3rd Circuit Solicitor’s Office, North Charleston Police Department, and the Williamsburg County Sheriff’s Office.
Assistant United States Attorney Nick Bianchi is prosecuting the case.
The United States Attorney stated that all charges against these defendants are merely accusations and that all defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice. Learn more about the history of our agency at www.Justice.gov/Celebrating150Years.