COLD CASE: What investigators need to solve the murder of Gerald Dilligard

CHARLESTON, SC (WCBD) — It’s been more than a year since police say Gerald Lee Dilligard was murdered inside his own home. His killer is still unknown. The case is cold.

Police are now relying on the community for information. So far, no one has come forward.

Meanwhile, Dilligard’s father is posting flyers, hosting fundraisers, and trying to increase the reward money, so that he can learn something more about the night he found his son beaten to death.

“That person needs to be punished. That person needs to be punished for more than one reason,” Jerald Simmons, Dilligard’s father, told News 2 I-Team’s Libba Holland.

A memorial now decorates the outside of his home where Dilligard lived with his father. That’s also the home where he died. It’s on Rosemont Street in Downtown Charleston.

Not much has changed in Dilligard’s room in the past year. Simmons keeps the light on for him.

The night Dilligard died, Simmons says he came home around 1:00 a.m. expecting his son to be out with a friend. The two spoke earlier that night about it.

“He said, ‘I’m waiting on a friend of mine. We’re going out.’ I said, ‘Ok, well when you do, give me a call,’” Simmons said. He said Dilligard usually lets him know where he’s going and who he’s with.

But, when Simmons got home, he noticed Dilligard’s car was still outside.

“I came in the door, and I saw his key was in the door, but I didn’t see him. So, I walked around the house and didn’t see him. So, I said let me give him a call,” Simmons said.

The call went straight to voicemail.

Simmons then went into Dilligard’s room again, but this time, he went through a different door.

“As soon as I opened that door, I saw him right there,” Simmons said, pointing to the spot where he found Dilligard.

The room was dark, Simmons said, and his son was a diabetic. Simmons thought he had fainted.

“I was trying to talk to him, and revive him. ‘Gerald, Gerald, get up son.’”

He said he lifted his arm three times. Every time, it fell back down. Simmons said he tried to lift behind Dilligard’s head, and that’s when he saw and felt blood. That’s when Simmons realized this was something worse than a diabetic episode.

“As I was talking to him, I never thought someone had come in and done that to him. All the time I was talking to him, he was already diseased. I’m glad I never got to see the last look on his face because it still bothers me right now to know whenever I walk though his room or walk through this house he ain’t going to be there to greet me,” Simmons said.

The Charleston police officers who responded found blood splattered on the door…

Dilligard had wounds on his head, neck and left arm.

The coroner’s office determined Dilligard died from blunt-force trauma, but it’s not clear if a weapon was used.

The case detective said the friend Dilligard was waiting for never showed. He also believes Dilligard knew his killer. He says there was no forced entry. A neighbor said that they noticed a suspicious car outside the house that night, but investigators don’t have a license plate number, nor any other evidence that can lead to an arrest.

Right now, the reward for information that might lead to an arrest in this case is $3,000. Anyone is encouraged to call, text or email a tip to Crimestoppers.

The phone number is  554-1111 or 1-888-CRIME-SC

You can also email a tip by clicking here. For more information about how to stay anonymous through Crimestoppers, click here.

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