SPARTANBURG CO., SC (WSPA) – Solicitor Barry Barnette will seek the death penalty for the man accused of killing a Spartanburg County deputy.

Barnette filed a notification Thursday with the court that he will seek the death penalty for 63-year-old Duane Leslie Heard, according to the 7th Circuit Solicitor’s Office.

Heard was charged with murder in the death of Spartanburg County Deputy Austin Aldridge.

Aldridge was shot and killed on June 21 while responding to a domestic violence call at a home on Chaffee Drive.

The sheriff’s office said Aldridge was shot as he approached the home. Aldridge was taken to Spartanburg Medical Center where he later died.

The sheriff’s office said Heard also got into a shootout with another deputy who attempted to stop his pickup truck along Anderson Mill Road.

Heard’s truck later crashed and deputies said he ran into the woods after firing at other deputies.

Sheriff Chuck Wright said Heard, who was shot twice by deputies, was taken into custody and brought to the hospital.

7News spoke with an Upstate attorney, who weighed in on this case.

“What the solicitor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt is an aggravating factor,” said attorney John Reckenbeil. “One of the aggravating factors underneath our law is any sort of law enforcement killed in the official line of his or her duties. So, that’s a clear aggravating factor that makes this individual death penalty eligible underneath South Carolina law. So, I see this as completely reasonable for Solicitor Barnette to be doing this.”

“This one is so clear cut – a law enforcement officer in the commission of performing his or her official duties and is killed – no question that that is death penalty eligible, that you know, it should be sought,” Reckenbeil said.

Reckenbeil said the death penalty process is complicated.

“But really, it’s a jury question,” Reckenbeil explained. “So in other words, when the solicitor brings in an indictment, he serves the death notice underneath the law to the defendant. He goes before the judge to describe the evidence, and a judge is just there to meet the initial threshold hearing to determined whether or not it’s basically death penalty eligible.”

“That’s not really where the highest burden of proof comes into play,” continued Reckenbeil. “It’s when a jury must decide beyond a reasonable doubt whether or not the individual has submitted the murder with the aggravating factor.”

“And then right after that, in a separate row after a 24 hour break, then the jury must determine whether or not that they will sentence the defendant to death,” said Reckenbeil. “If the jury doesn’t decide to sentenced to death unanimously, then the judge must impose life in prison.”

A date for Heard’s trial has not yet been set.