Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Two men and a woman were convicted in the murder of a Hemingway man.
A Williamsburg County Circuit Court jury convicted co-defendants Laquincy Williams and Tashonda Mickens of murder, among other charges, after a weeklong trial. A third co-defendant, James Gquan Henry, pled guilty to lesser charges.
The three were accused of robbing and murdering James “Jay” McNeal in 2007; however, the case was not solved until 2010 when they were arrested. According to evidence presented at the trial that began on September 9, McNeal was in bed, when Williams and Henry broke into his home with the intent to rob him, both were armed with handguns. During the course of the burglary, there was an exchange of gunfire, although the testimony at trial differed on who shot first. McNeal shot Henry two times, and Henry was accidentally shot a third time in the chest by Williams. McNeal was shot five times and later died at his home. At the trial, testimony was given that Williams fired the fatal shots at McNeal.
Henry was 16 at the time of the incident. DNA on Henry's clothes linked him to the murder scene as well as to a rental car driven by Mickens and used during the commission of the crime. In addition, two bullets removed from Henry also placed him at the scene. Testimony by Henry and a friend of Williams and Mickens tied them to the crime. No weapons were ever found. Williams was sentenced to life in prison and Mickens was sentenced to 30 years. Henry received a 10-year sentence.