WILMINGTON — One day after a judge denied a motion to dismiss double murder charges against three suspects, he also rejected lowering their bonds, despite new evidence, and a potential fourth suspect could come into play.
On Tuesday, Superior Court Judge Kent Harrell issued his ruling against Dyrell Green, Omonte Bell and Raquel Adams. The three men are charged in connection with a 2021 double murder.
Koredresse Tyson, a gang member of the Gangster Disciples, and Bri-yanna Williams, a friend who was visiting on the night of the crime, were killed July 24, 2021 at the Middle Sound home of George Taylor III, the former chief operating officer of the now-defunct TRU Colors Brewing.
The brewery was a controversial venture, as it employed active rival gang members, with the mission of bringing economic empowerment to low-income individuals and equipping them with real-world professional skills.
It closed in September 2022, with founder George Taylor Jr. citing critical media coverage leading to its demise.
Tyson worked at the brewery at the time of the incident. Green was also employed at the brewery and Adams was a former employee, who had been released from a halfway house in Fayetteville and was looking to rejoin TRU Colors prior to the murders, according to prosecutors.
Green, Bell and Adams have each been charged with two counts of first-degree murder, one count of attempted first-degree murder and felony conspiracy. They are all members of the United Blood Nation gang, a rival to the Gangster Disciples.
The three men were arrested Aug. 18, 2021. Green was taken into custody in Wilmington and Adams, arrested on Aug. 10 on weapons charges, was already in the New Hanover County Jail for a federal probation violation. Bell was later apprehended in Charlotte with the help of the Charlotte Police Department and the U.S. Marshals Service.
New Hanover County District Attorney Ben David wanted to have the trio’s bond raised to $2 million, citing new evidence, potential new charges and a continued threat posed to society. The defendants have been incarcerated since their arrests.
David outlined a timeline of the murder in court Tuesday to justify how calculated the crime was, as well as to show the defendants’ continued gang affiliation.
“There’s a reason you see so many bailiffs in the courtroom today,” David said. “Releasing them back into society would not only put the community at-large in danger, it would also put themselves in danger.”
David based his case on texts and phone calls among the trio and Tyzheem Nixon, a fellow gang member who is currently serving time on unrelated charges.
According to the district attorney’s office, Nixon, through a smuggled-in “burner” phone, corresponded with the group over 50 times in the days leading up to the shootings, discussing Tyson and how to “deal” with him.
David confirmed to Port City Daily Nixon is considered an “unindicted co-conspirator” in the case, and it is not known whether charges will be filed against him at this time.
Tyson was reportedly the tri-county area’s highest-ranking member of the Gangster Disciples. He was staying at the home of Taylor III because he reportedly had trouble finding stable housing with a felony conviction.
M’Kalia Walker, 21, Tyson’s girlfriend, was shot in the chest during the attack, which prosecutors called a “gang hit.” She survived her injuries and called 911. Her friend, 21-year-old Williams, died at the scene.
Bell’s attorney, Jordan Willetts, challenged the timeline of events, especially the prosecution’s cell phone evidence, which David contends places all three suspects at the scene. Willetts said her client was a member of the gang, but he was inactive at the time of the murders, having moved to Charlotte to start a new life with his girlfriend, a local teacher.
“When my client was arrested, in his wallet was a card with a list of goals: Get his real estate license, pay off student debt, get a passport and travel the world,” Willetts said.
David countered with evidence from Bell’s recovered phone. He said the suspect made 148 calls to his co-conspirators in the 12 hours prior to the crime. David also produced photos of Bell’s vehicle near the scene.
“You can leave your phone behind, but you can’t make your car disappear,” David said.
Harrell denied David’s request to increase the bond, instead leaving it in place at $1.2 million for Green and Adams and $750,000 for Bell. The judge reasoned the defendants have been in jail for two years now and new charges have not been officially filed.
It was the second denial the judge made in two days. In Monday’s hearing, Harrell also overturned a defense motion to dismiss the case based on questionable testimony from the lead detective.
The defense attorneys — also including Emily Byrum representing Green and Mike Ramos representing Adams — claimed New Hanover County Sheriff’s Department Det. Jeremy Boswell lied during his testimony to a grand jury. Boswell took the stand on Tuesday and answered a litany of questions surrounding a presentation he prepared for the grand jury in February.
Attorneys pointed out several inconsistencies in Boswell’s presentation. Each one of the defendants’ phones supposedly went dark at the time of the murders, which took place in early-morning hours, according to Boswell’s presentation. The defense attorneys, specifically Willetts, said there was indeed activity during 4 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. and the police did not do a complete extraction.
Boswell admitted as much was true but that the department did a second pull of the complete phone records.
Byrum questioned Boswell about a song her client wrote that was listed on the detective’s presentation in August 2022, as if it could have been written about the murders. However, she provided evidence that the song had been on SoundCloud since April 2021.
Boswell admitted that was correct.
The detective said the presentation was created over time and updated as evidence was gathered.
“You created the document on Aug. 15, 2021, but it shows it was last updated in February, the day before you testified in front of the grand jury,” Willetts said.
“I don’t recall,” Boswell responded.
When cross-examined by David, he asked Boswell when he created the presentation if he was doing it to prepare for the case.
The detective responded he thought “anticipation of the grand jury” and “preparing for a case” could mean the same thing and that no deception was intended.
Harrell declared any further questions about Boswell’s conduct could be left for a jury to decide.
Adams has already pleaded guilty to the federal weapons charges and faces up to 10 years in prison. His trial on the murders is scheduled to begin Oct. 9.
The remaining defendants’ trials won’t begin until January 2024, at the earliest.
[The piece was updated to reflect Det. Jeremy Boswell is with NHCSO, not WPD as originally reported. PCD regrets the error.]
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