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Deputies: Robber arrested after victim dies of heart attack

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Posted at 10:09 PM, Jul 30, 2013
and last updated 2013-07-30 22:09:16-04

By Casey Vaughn and Jennifer Phillips

Greenwood, SC (WHNS) — More than 10 days after a Greenwood man was found dead inside his apartment, investigators have charged a man in connection with his death.

Greenwood County deputies said they arrested Wayne Smith on July 25 and charged him with murder and robbery after they said he robbed 68-year-old Phillip Baer, causing his fatal heart attack.

Deputies said they responded to Baer’s condo at 1522 Parkway just after 8 p.m. July 14 and found him dead.

On Monday, July 29, Phillip Baer’s brother, Billy Baer, told FOX Carolina his brother was healthy and had a physical before his death. So, when he heard his brother died of natural causes, he knew something was wrong.

“Probably not until the funeral service did it really hit me, the reality that he wasn’t here,” Billy Baer said. “He was the type of person if he had a dollar and you needed some money, he would give you 75 cents and keep the quarter.”

Billy Baer said his brother hired Smith to help him with jobs around the Greenwood area.

Following Phillip Baer’s death, deputies said they found his living room was a mess as if there had been a struggle and his television and laptop were missing, along with his truck.

An autopsy was performed, and according to John Long with the Greenwood County Sheriff’s Office, Phillip Baer died from heart failure and his cause of death was natural.

However, after further investigation, deputies said they believe Smith caused Philip Baer’s heart attack and that’s why they charged Smith with murder. The charge comes under the theory of the felony murder doctrine, which is a charge given if a victim dies during the act of a felony.