A couple accused of luring a young man to his death through the dating app Tinder received steep sentences totaling more than 60 combined years in prison after entering guilty pleas in a South Carolina courtroom this week.
Asherai Gadsden. 23, and Joshua Mack, 30, pleaded guilty to murder and armed robbery on Nov. 1 before Charleston County Circuit Court Judge Bentley Price. Gadsden received 30 years behind bars, while Mack received 38.
Gadsden and Mack’s victim, Allan Johnson III, was just 24 years old when he was shot four times inside of Gadsden’s North Charleston apartment on Jan. 9, 2022.
The Post and Courier reported that Johnson and Gadsden met for a date that night after connecting on Tinder. They were enjoying dinner and cocktails before stopping at the woman’s apartment.
North Charleston Police said once inside, Johnson went to use the bathroom and when he emerged from it, Mack was lying in wait with a gun and had attempted to rob him..
The ambushed 24-year-old reportedly tried to defend himself by grabbing at the weapon before he was shot.
Mack’s lawyer, according to the Post and Courier, urged Price to believe that Mack only meant to scare Johnson and take his money, not kill him. The defense attorney said it was Johnson who fired the gun when he tried to take it from Mack.
Mack pleaded guilty to murder and attempted robbery to “spare” Johnson’s family the heartache of going to trial, The Post and Courier reported.
A third person, Zora Henderson, was also charged along with Mack and Gadsden in 2022 for the slaying.
Henderson, then Mack’s girlfriend, was not at Gadsden’s apartment the night of the slaying but prosecutors said she had encouraged Mack and Gadsden via text to lure in Johnson and rob him. Henderson entered an Alford plea this May, local CBS affiliate WCSC reported.
An Alford plea allows a defendant to acknowledge that the state could convict if the case went to trial, but it is not an admission of guilt.
Henderson has not yet been sentenced, online court records indicate.
WCSC also reported Price opted against handing down life sentences to Mack and Gadsden because he hoped they would learn from their mistakes and be more productive members of society upon their release. Mack, the judge said, would be a “very old man” when he was finally free.
The victim’s family attended the sentencing hearing on Nov. 1. Johnson’s brother, Nile, told the outlet “more time was deserved” but like Gadsden, Mack and Henderson would “have to live with the decisions that they made,” their family would have to life with the terms Price ordered.
To honor his memory, Johnson’s family has created a scholarship fund at Morris College in South Carolina. Johnson, a scholarship recipient himself, had only recently graduated from the college before he was killed. His family told WCSC he was on track to pursue his masters in education.
In courtroom video from the sentence hearing, Gadsden, who has been out on bond since July, is seen shaking after learning her fate and could be heard sobbing as she was taken out of court. Price included nearly a year of time served toward her total sentence of 3o years. Mack has served over 600 days already and that too will count as time served.
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