The State will not seek the death penalty in the case of a Wilmington man charged with first-degree murder in connection with a shooting at Market North apartments that fatally injured a 25-year-old man.
Antonio Horton Beatty, 21, was indicted Oct. 26 by a New Hanover County grand jury on charge of first-degree murder, according to New Hanover County Superior Court records. He appeared in New Hanover County Superior Court on Thursday for a bond hearing.
Beatty was charged in connection with the death of Carlton Walker Whitley, who was shot at Market North apartments in the 3500 block of Metting Road at about 11:15 p.m., July 21. Whitley was reportedly shot during a fight in the apartment complex parking lot. He later died at New Hanover Regional Medical Center, Wilmington Police Department Spokeswoman Cathryn Lindsay said.
Whitley was found shot several times in the parking lot where his girlfriend lived, according to Assistant District Attorney Barrett Temple.
Both Whitley and Beatty were known to each other but had not had any problems in the past, Temple said. Witnesses reportedly saw Beatty and the victim speaking to each other alone when gunshots were fired. Detectives recovered a shotgun at the scene, she added.
Since Beatty’s indictment, a review team with the district attorney’s office has met to discuss pursuing the death penalty in the case. In that meeting, which was held Monday, prosecutors decided they will not proceed with the case capitally, since no aggravating factors were found in the case, Temple said.
During the hearing Thursday, Temple asked the judge to set Beatty’s bond at $1 million because the state feared he would be a flight risk. Temple also asked that he not have any contact with witnesses in the case
But defense attorney Jason Minnicozzi — who is representing Beatty in the case — asked the judge for a lower bond, stating he has had no prior criminal history. He added that Beatty was not a flight risk because of his ties to the Wilmington area with his family and children.
Judge W. Allen Cobb Jr. ordered Beatty’s bond to be set at $500,000 secured. Prior to the bond change, he had been held at the New Hanover County Jail without bond since his arrest on Sept. 5.
According to court records, the case is schedule for an administrative hearing in New Hanover Superior Court on Dec. 14.