James Kester: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

james kester

Mugshot James Kester

James Kester, a Columbia, South Carolina man is accused of driving into a crowd at a grave site burial in a cemetery.

Kester, 64, is now charged with 12 counts of attempted murder. Although he’s accused of striking 12 people at the grave site at Greenlawn Memorial Park at about 1:30 p.m. July 19, none of those people suffered life-threatening injuries.

Here’s what you need to know:


1. The Victims Ranged From Children to the Elderly

James Kester

James Kester.

According to a Columbia police news release, Kester “is accused of intentionally driving his car into the twelve victims at a grave site on Leesburg Road.”

Police said the victims ranged from young to elderly. “The victims, ranging from 78-to-11-years-old were treated at local hospitals for their non-life threatening injuries,” the news release said.


2. Police Believe the Victims Were Strangers to Kester

The police news release says that police haven’t found any links between the victims at the funeral and Kester.

“After the incident, officers were able to detain Kester and bring him to the police station for questioning,” the news release says.

“CPD Investigators continue to determine the motive for the crime. There is no indication at this time that Kester is acquainted with the victims.”


3. Kester Appeared Emotionless at a Bond Hearing

Kester has already appeared for a bond hearing.

“Kester did not show emotion during the bond hearing. There were about a dozen family members of the victims who were present,” reporter Kayla Binette wrote on Twitter.

She added that bail was set at $5 million. “If Kester makes the $5 million bond, he cannot have contact with victims, he cannot drive and he will have a GPS monitor,” the reporter noted.


4. Police Think the Motive Was a Grudge Against the Department of Mental Health

Although the police news release says that police are still investigating the motive, they did tweet that they consider the act “intentional.”

Reporter Chad Mills tweeted that police say the motive may be a grudge against a governmental agency. “@ColumbiaPDSC says James Kester hit family at funeral w/ car because of grudge against #SC Dept. of Mental Health,” he wrote on Twitter.


5. Kester Is Accused of Briefly Talking to a Person at the Service Before Plowing Into the Victims

According to Fox 57, “Investigators say Kester briefly talked to a person at the graveside service before getting into his car and driving into the group.”

The television station reported that one of the mourners was in serious condition. Later in the day on July 19, five of the mourners remained in the hospital, according to Fox 57.