Saluda murder defendant convicted, sentenced to prison

From left: Aaron Sincere Hood and Xavier Cancer
From left: Aaron Sincere Hood and Xavier Cancer(Contributed)
Published: Sep. 18, 2023 at 5:17 PM EDT
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SALUDA, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - A 20-year-old suspect has been convicted and sentenced to decades in prison for a 2021 murder.

After a jury convicted Aaron Sincere Hood on Thursday, Judge Walton J. McLeod, IV sentenced Hood to 34 years in the South Carolina Department of Corrections for the shooting death of Xavier Cancer, 29, according to prosecutors.

Hood was also convicted of assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature for assaulting a second individual and received a concurrent 20-year sentence.

Hood will not be eligible for parole.


On March 16, 2021, Hood shot and killed Xavier Cancer on Keisha Avenue in Saluda, according to prosecutors.

On the day of the shooting, Hood and the surviving victim went back and forth on social media regarding inappropriate messages Hood had sent. The surviving victim responded that he would fight it out, but not if guns were involved.

Hood soon showed up, presented his gun and threatened to shoot the surviving victim and his friends.

Xavier happened to arrive just after this happened and Hood turned his attention to Xavier. Ultimately, Xavier agreed to fight as long as guns were not involved. Witness testimony revealed Hood handed his gun off to his co-defendant as they walked down the road to fight.

About 10 seconds into the fight, Hood asked his co-defendant for the gun. Hood shot Xavier, then pistol-whipped the surviving victim over the head, according to prosecutors.

Hood and his co-defendant ran through the woods. Hood threw down a jacket that was later recovered and found to have DNA on it from Hood and Xavier.

Law enforcement was able to apprehend Hood in a vehicle heading toward Newberry County about 15 minutes after the shooting.

During the sentencing, Xavier’s parents addressed the court, sharing their sadness. Xavier’s mother said Xavier’s young son recently scored multiple touchdowns at a football game. Despite the victory, he cried at the field after the game as he mourned the loss of his father.