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Bond set for man facing 12 attempted murder charges in Greenlawn cemetery crash

James Kester. (Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WACH) - The man arrested and charged with 12 counts of attempted murder in connection with crashing his car at the Greenlawn Memorial cemetery has had his bond set.

According to the Columbia Police Department, 64-year-old James Kester's bond was set at $5 million.

Late Wednesday night, Columbia police arrested Kester and charged him with 12 counts of attempted murder.

Shortly after 1 p.m. Wednesday, investigators say Kester drove into 12 people at a graveside service at the cemetery off Leesburg Road in Columbia.

The victims, ranging in age from 11 to 78 years old, were taken to local hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries.

As of late Wednesday night, five people remained hospitalized, including one person who was in serious condition.

Columbia Deputy Chief Melron Kelly said at a Wednesday afternoon news conference that Kester stayed at the scene and received medical attention before officers talked to him about what had happened.

Investigators say Kester briefly talked to a person at the graveside service before getting into his car and driving into the group.

During the open bond court hearing, Kester explained the motive of the alleged crime. He stated that he was displeased with the South Carolina Department of Mental Health due to a concern about his daughter.

The funeral that he crashed was that of a former administrative assistant with the SCDMH. At this time police do not believe that Kester knew the person or family members at all.

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