Charleston Police Department affidavits state 30-year-old Ryan Deleston first attempted to rob the teen, who was sleeping in his SUV, in the Famous Joe's parking lot around 4 a.m. before returning a short time later to shoot with a 9mm handgun.
He is charged with murder, attempted armed robbery, possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime, and possession of a handgun with an obliterated serial number.
Lion died a short time later.
"Some cases are so compelling that they are difficult to comprehend," said Charleston Police Chief Greg Mullen during a press conference on Tuesday."When a young person is brutally murdered, it touches a nerve in all of us and makes us ask why. This was a senseless act of violence that touched our department and the community."
"Today is a very important day in the life of this community," Mayor Joe Rile said at the press conference. "A vicious, violent, brutal criminal and his accomplices have been brought to justice. They are in jail. The case is solid. Their freedom is gone."
Police say Deleston was actually observed within two blocks of the shooting just minutes after it occurred at 1662 Savannah Highway. Detectives said Deleston matched the general physical likeness of the shooter.
Furthermore, a known witness told police they were familiar with how Deleston held a firearm when he robbed people. That witness viewed the surveillance video and identified Ryan as the shooter.
Investigators also say Deleston was heard talking about being in possession of a 9mm pistol on a few occasions, starting on June 24.
Then, detectives said they used a confidential informant to purchase the handgun from Deleston on July 15. Through ballistic tests, officials were able to confirm the pistol was the weapon used to kill Marley Lion.
"The outcome of this investigation is the direct result of the outstanding dedication and commitment displayed by a host of detective and police officers," Mullen said.
Two other people, 31-year-old Julius Terrell Brown and 27-year-old Bryan Latrell Rivers, have also been charged with attempted armed robbery and murder in the case. According to court officials, Julius Brown has been arrested for murder before. Authorities say those charges were dropped when the only witness was killed.
Brown, who police say was with Deleston when they found him near the scene, is also charged with obstruction of justice after police say he provided an alibi for Deleston. Police say Brown was the man captured on surveillance video walking to the left of Lion's SUV, minutes before Deleston approached the vehicle from the right.
Rivers has also been charged with distribution of an imitation controlled substance, possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
According to court documents, police arrested Rivers on July 17 after he sold them cocaine base which later tested negative for cocaine. While he was in custody, investigators questioned him about Lion's murder.
Court documents state Rivers told detectives Deleston let him hold a 9mm pistol on June 13, three days before Lion's murder. When shown a photo of the murder weapon, detectives said Rivers confirmed he had held that weapon in his hands.
A fourth person, George Brown, was also charged with accessory after the fact of the murder and possession of a handgun with an obliterated serial number, but details on his involvement are also sparse.
"Those who choose a life outside the law. This is my message to you. In Charleston, we will catch you and you will go to jail," Riley said on Tuesday. "Your crime might be in the darkest of the night with seemingly no one around, but we will catch you and you will go to jail. There is no place to hide. We will catch you as we did with Marley Lion's killers."