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Solicitor: Double murder may have been assassination, will seek death penalty

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Fonnelze Travis Delaine (Source: Florence County Sheriff's Office) Fonnelze Travis Delaine (Source: Florence County Sheriff's Office)
Montez Barker (Source: Florence County Sheriff's Office) Montez Barker (Source: Florence County Sheriff's Office)
Laross Graham (Source: Florence County Sheriff's Office) Laross Graham (Source: Florence County Sheriff's Office)
Bill Hall Jr. (Source: Florence County Sheriff's Office) Bill Hall Jr. (Source: Florence County Sheriff's Office)
Talya Jeanette Poston (Source: Florence County Sheriff's Office) Talya Jeanette Poston (Source: Florence County Sheriff's Office)

FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - Prosecuting attorneys in a case against a man accused in a Florence County double murder think the crimes may have involved the assassination of a witness.

Fonnelze Travis Delaine, 26, was arraigned Friday in court and pleaded not guilty to murdering Bill Hall Jr. and Talya Jeanette Poston on Sept. 1. The two were found shot to death on Isaiah Street in Florence. Two others, Montez Bark and Laross Graham have been previously charged in the murders.

Solicitor Ed Clements said the investigation into the double murder is ongoing.

"Right now, the State's theory in this case is this was an assassination of a witness, and if the evidence bears that out, sufficient evidence that could be proved in court, I will state right now this will be a death penalty case," Clements said to Judge Ralph King Anderson Jr.

Members of the victims' families were in court Friday for Delaine's arraignment.

"You read about this bad world and all the things that can happen," Poston's aunt Debbie Ross said after hearing the state's theory. "We see that it does happen."

Sharon Lunn, Delaine's mother, stressed her son's innocence.

"He did not do nothing like that," she said.

Delaine will face a judge on Oct. 19.

Authorities arrested Delaine Wednesday night on Hoffmeyer Road, located on the Darlington and Florence County lines. He is charged with accessory before the fact of murder.

According to Florence County Sheriff Kenney Boone, investigators say Delaine conspired with one or both of the other defendants to kill one of the victims. Boone added additional charges could be filed at a later time.

"I am so proud of our investigators and deputies in making these arrests," Boone said. "They have worked tirelessly to solve these brutal murders. I would also like to thank the other law enforcement agencies for their cooperation and assistance, as well as the public for the numerous tips which were provided. Hopefully, this brings some small measure of comfort to the families of the victims."

The arrest was a joint effort between the Florence County Sheriff's Office, Darlington County Sheriff's Office, the U.S. Marshals Service and SLED.

Emergency crews were called to Isaiah Street near Flowers Road on a reported shooting around 11:30 a.m. Sept. 1. Sgt. Brett Camp of the Florence County Sheriff's Office says Hall, 26, and Poston, 32, were found shot to death when investigators arrived.

A green 2004 Eddie Bauer Edition Ford Explorer belonging to one of the victims was located in East Florence on Sept. 4. According to authorities, the SUV had been burned. A caller reported hearing loud, popping noises and called 911. Responding officers found the vehicle ablaze.

Graham, 27, and Barker, 25, were arraigned Sept. 14, each facing charges for the deaths of Hall and Poston.

Boone says he believes the murders are drug related and commented the two suspects did have a connection to the victims.

©2009 WMBF News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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