A Detroit man admitted to planning a shooting that killed 19-year-old Tymel McKinney last month on Charleston’s West Side, a police detective testified Monday. He said the man described it as a gang-ordered hit.
During questioning about the killing, Darrell Emmett “D.J.” Carter, 18, also told police that he plotted to hire two people to kill Charleston Police Lt. Steve Cooper, another detective said.
Carter went before Kanawha County Magistrate Jack Pauley for a preliminary hearing on Monday. He is charged with first-degree murder and solicitation to commit murder. Pauley found enough probable cause to move Carter’s case into circuit court.
Charleston Police Detective C.E. Sharp testified that Carter initially denied involvement in McKinney’s April 23 slaying, but then admitted to being at the scene. McKinney was shot to death while he sat on the front porch of his Sixth Street home.
Carter later admitted to being the “leader” of the slaying, but denied being the trigger man, Sharp said.
A witness told police he saw a man matching Carter’s description wearing a bandanna on his face, and firing from a .40-caliber handgun, Sharp said. The witness said another man, later identified as Mark Gaddy, 23, of Detroit, also allegedly had a gun and did not fire it.
Gaddy and an unidentified juvenile allegedly attempted to flee the scene in a Chevrolet Monte Carlo, while Carter ran behind a neighboring house. Police arrested Gaddy and the juvenile that night, charging them with first-degree murder.
Carter was arrested the next day on an outstanding warrant. He allegedly told police he had the .40-caliber handgun in his possession when he fled the scene. He tossed the gun behind an air conditioning unit, explaining any potential fingerprints he left on the weapon, Sharp said. Police had recovered the weapon and 17 spent shell casings.
Police found photos of Carter holding the handgun on his cell phone, as well as incriminating text messages sent before and after the shooting, Sharp said. Carter allegedly told police that McKinney’s slaying was ordered by a superior of the Sex-Money-Murder gang of Detroit.
“[Carter] said McKinney was being disrespectful to his gang,“ Sharp said.
After questioning about the slaying, Carter allegedly admitted that he wanted to have Cooper killed because he did not like Cooper’s handling of a March 30 shooting incident that Carter was involved in on the city’s West Side.
Charleston Detective D.S. Paxton testified that Carter volunteered this information.
Carter met with Juhamar Bradshaw and a juvenile at Littlepage Terrace last month and offered to pay them $15,000 to kill Cooper, Paxton said. Half of the money was to be paid up front, although no money changed hands and no further plans were made.
Bradshaw and the juvenile have not been charged in connection to the alleged plot.
Carter is currently being held without bail in South Central Regional Jail. He is being represented by Attorney Brian Blickenstaff.
Before a City Council meeting Monday night, Charleston Mayor Danny Jones said he wants Kanawha Prosecuting Attorney Mark Plants’ office off the case involving Cooper. Assistant Prosecuting Attorney James Bailey presented the state’s case on Monday.
“Plants doesn’t like Cooper. He knows it. I know it. And I don’t know if Charleston police likes him, but we want him off that case,” Jones said. “I don’t want to have to bother [Circuit Judge] Duke Bloom with it. I just want them to take themselves off the case.”
Jones said he does not plan to file anything, but has discussed the matter with the city’s attorney.
The Supreme Court heard arguments from the State Office of Disciplinary Counsel on Monday that Plants should have his law license suspended until disciplinary proceedings against him are completed with the state Lawyer Disciplinary Board. Plants is charged with domestic battery of his 11-year-old son after police say he left a 6- to 7-inch bruise on the boy’s thigh with a belt.
Reach Travis Crum at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-5163. Staff writer Rachel Molenda contributed to this report.