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Crime: Two men arrested for murder at Pawleys bar

Two men are in jail following the beating death of a Georgetown man outside a bar on Highway 17 in Pawleys Island early Saturday morning, according to the Georgetown County Sheriff’s Office.

Ronnie Gene Ackley Jr., 41, of Pawleys Island was arrested at the scene. Christopher Brian Campbell, 37, was arrested without incident later that day by police in Lexington. He was returned to Georgetown County and booked for murder just before 1 a.m. Sunday.

Deputies arrived at Lumpy’s Bar and Grill around 3 a.m. Saturday after being called to a fight, according to the sheriff’s office. They found Thomas Edward Unrue Jr., 37, of Georgetown, lying unconscious in the parking lot with a woman kneeling next to him. A deputy said Unrue didn’t have a pulse. He started CPR and Unrue was taken to Georgetown Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

A Pawleys Island Police officer was also on the scene and helped gather witnesses. Most of the customers said they didn’t see anything.

A woman told deputies that Unrue had been thrown out of the bar earlier by Ackley and Campbell, who police said were both employees. She said she saw Unrue walk up to the front door, where he was confronted by Ackley and Campbell. She saw them on top of Unrue as they struggled, deputies said.

An employee told deputies Unrue was thrown out because he kept trying to go behind the bar. He was angry and raised his fist several times, the witness said.

Unrue had injuries consistent with beating and choking, Coroner Kenny Johnson said. The exact cause of death won’t be known until autopsy tests are completed. He will match the results with witness statements and video from a security camera at the bar, he said.

Witnesses told deputies that Unrue had been asked to leave the bar more than once, which led to an argument just outside the front door. They said Ackley and Campbell attacked Unrue, leaving him unconscious.

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