Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Warrant: Hammer listed as weapon in local woman’s suspected murder

William Haven Hicks when he was held in Myrtle Beach at J. Reuben Long Detention Center before being extradited to New Hanover County. (Courtesy photo)

WILMINGTON — Almost two weeks after Wilmington Police Department determined a local missing woman was slain, more details have come to light in the case.

William Haven Hicks — charged with first-degree murder, robbery with a dangerous weapon, kidnapping and financial card theft — is suspected to have used a hand tool on victim KC Lee Johnson, an arrest warrant shows.

READ MORE: Man charged with murder in KC Johnson case receives no bond

WPD noted in the charges “the defendant unlawfully, willfully, and feloniously did of malice aforethought kill and murder KC Lee Johnson.” It goes on to say Hicks threatened Johnson with a “dangerous weapon … hammer.”

Allegedly, Hicks stole Johnson’s personal property, including her purse, ID and financial cards, the latter valued at $100. The warrant indicates debit cards were issued to Johnson — one from Cash App and another from CSL Plasma.

The new information details how Hicks restrained Johnson and transported her “from one place to another” without consent. WPD determined Hicks held Johnson hostage for ransom in “involuntary servitude, doing serious bodily injury” and “terrorizing” her. 

“KC Lee Johnson was not released by the defendant in a safe place,” according to the warrant.

WPD has yet to find Johnson’s body, though the department has been in contact with the Chatham County Police Department, located two states over in Georgia. Remains washed up on the banks of the Savannah River on Jan. 18.

“We do not have a timetable on when we expect to receive autopsy information on the body that was found in Georgia,” WPD spokesperson Brandon Shope wrote to Port City Daily Thursday morning. “At this time, the body has not been identified.”

Tuesday afternoon Hicks made his first appearance in New Hanover County after being extradited from Myrtle Beach. He was not given a bond for the first-degree murder, kidnapping and robbery with a dangerous weapon charges, though has a $2,500 secured bond for financial theft. 

He awaits his next court appearance, Feb. 9, in the New Hanover County Detention Center.

ALSO: Man charged in local murder to be extradited from SC within 20 days

Johnson went missing Friday, Jan. 13. WPD said she met Hicks on social media and suspects she was killed on the 1300 block of King Street.

Family and friends held vigils for Johnson last Friday evening. The LGBTQ community honored her on City Hall steps for her courage and integrity to “live authentically,” as noted by Pastor Kelly Finch of Mosaic United Methodist Church.

“So many of you are chosen family that saw KC for everything that she was,” Finch said to the group. “And we’re all grateful that you gave her the opportunity to be who she was. She did not deserve this. This was hate coming in a vicious form. She deserved so much more.”

Eleven blocks north in the Love Grove neighborhood, where King Street is located, Johnson’s family gathered to remember her humor, kindness and loyalty. 

Through tears Johnson’s mother, Dawn Buchanan, said she “was a beautiful person” and “in a better place — where KC can be KC.”

CATCH UP: Vigils held for slain transgender woman, ‘no evidence of hate crime,’ WPD says


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Shea Carver
Shea Carver
Shea Carver is the editor in chief at Port City Daily. A UNCW alumna, Shea worked in the print media business in Wilmington for 22 years before joining the PCD team in October 2020. She specializes in arts coverage — music, film, literature, theatre — the dining scene, and can often be tapped on where to go, what to do and who to see in Wilmington. When she isn’t hanging with her pup, Shadow Wolf, tending the garden or spinning vinyl, she’s attending concerts and live theater.

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