Report: Crosstown murder could be result of narcotics turf war

Dontez Wright and Devin Middleton
Dontez Wright and Devin Middleton
William Nelson, III (Photo provided by Christina Green)
William Nelson, III (Photo provided by Christina Green)

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A new report released by the Charleston Police Department says that William Nelson's death could be the culmination of a turf war involving narcotic sales.

Police say 23-year-old Dontez Alonzo Wright and 19-year-old Devin Brandon Middleton were arrested Monday evening in the area of Norman and Line streets in downtown Charleston for the shooting death of 22-year-old William Nelson, III.

According to an affidavit, a witness told detectives that Nelson was robbed by three men, including Wright and Middleton, at 4 Todd Street on June 21st. The witness went on to say a feud had been escalating between Nelson, and both Middleton and Wright, over narcotic sales on Line Street.

The witness says the three men who robbed Nelson are from the Gadsden Green area.

Another witness told police that on June 24 at 12:35 a.m., Nelson was walking down Line Street when Middleton, Wright, and another black male, all holding guns, approached him. The witness says Wright said, "What's up Lil' Will? Remember me?" and then shot Nelson multiple times, causing him to fall to the ground.

Middleton then got up on a concrete median and fired several more shots at Nelson, said the witness. Nelson died on the scene as a result of gunshot wounds.

Both men are being charged with murder and possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime.

Middleton and Wright were in bond court today at 2 p.m. Bond was denied for both suspects because according to South Carolina state law, a magistrate cannot set bond on murder cases. However, both men were issued bonds of $100,000 each on the count of possession of a firearm during a violent crime.

"Very difficult when you lose someone 22 years old," said William Nelson Jr., who is the victim's father. "I feel I'm supposed to be gone before him, not my children."

The two suspects have a criminal record. Middleton is currently on probation on weapon charges, and according to SLED, he was arrested in April for a probation violation. Wright has been in prison twice, once for a drug conviction and the other time for a parole violation, according to his rap sheet.

The investigation is still ongoing.

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