Man Kills Friend After Living Rent-Free for 20 Years

A South Carolina resident, Nathan Wesley Zeigler, 64, has been sentenced to life imprisonment without parole for the murder of his longtime friend and landlord, Charles Jacob “CJ” Young, 82. The sentencing was handed down by 1st Judicial Circuit Court Judge Heath Taylor on Thursday. Zeigler had been living rent-free in Young’s home for two decades before their relationship soured.

Young and Zeigler were friends before Young moved to New York, leaving Zeigler in charge of his Dorchester County home. According to First Assistant Solicitor Kelly LaPlante, Young saw Zeigler as a son. Young’s obituary paints a picture of a man who was passionate about making people happy and being an entrepreneur. He started his own furniture upholstery business, C.Y. Upholstery, in New York City in 1983, which thrived until he decided to retire.

Upon retirement, Young returned to South Carolina and moved back into his house in Harleyville, a small town about 45 miles northwest of Charleston. However, his return was marred by domestic disturbances, with police being called to the property multiple times. It was suggested that Young’s brother was also living on the property.

In December 2021, Young served Zeigler with an eviction notice, but Zeigler refused to vacate the premises. On January 7, 2022, a 911 call was made from the house. The dispatcher heard a voice shouting, “I told you I wasn’t playing with you,” followed by a gunshot. Young was later found dead in his kitchen with a gunshot wound to his neck.

Young’s obituary describes him as a lively, outgoing person who loved to travel and meet new people. He was known for his cooking and hosted an annual family gathering at his South Carolina home, which attracted people from near and far.

Zeigler was found in the backyard of the house and was detained by a Harleyville police officer. Young’s brother told deputies that he had heard an argument in the kitchen, followed by a gunshot. He found Young on the floor and saw Zeigler walking outside with a gun.

The murder weapon was later found inside a grill. Zeigler was charged with murder and possession of a firearm during a crime. During the trial, he admitted to shooting Young but claimed it was in self-defense. The jury deliberated for nearly four hours before finding him guilty.