3 face murder charges in drug case

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Three men arrested after an incident that resulted in the killing of a 16-year-old boy in June 2011 were charged with murder this week during general sessions at the Sumter County Courthouse.

Christopher Leon Davis, 25, of Lot 42 Oaklawn Mobile Home Park; Travis Javez Dunham, 26, of 1039 Belmont Drive; and Diontrae Epps, 19, of 930 Barwick Road, were initially charged with armed robbery, unlawful carrying of a pistol and criminal conspiracy after a June 10 armed robbery at Shoun L. Wright Jr.'s home at 114 Woodlawn Ave. Denzell Archie, 16, was killed during the incident, which Sumter Police Department authorities say happened when the three suspects and Archie went to Wright's home to buy marijuana.

"This entire event is a result of an attempted armed robbery for drugs," said Deputy Chief Alvin Holston in 2011. "The reckless actions of all parties involved resulted in the unfortunate death of the 16-year-old."

Holston said that sometime during an otherwise routine drug transaction, one of the suspects put a gun to Wright's head and tried to steal drugs. Holston said the men had a brief struggle with Wright, 21; Rasheen Idries Greenwood II, 20, of 345 Wyoming Drive; and Scottie Hickson, 21, of 736 S. St. Pauls Church Road. The men exchanged gunfire, and Archie was shot. Wright, Greenwood and Hickson, who were at the home when Archie and the three suspects arrived, were charged after the incident with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.

Third Circuit Assistant Solicitor Bronwyn K. McElveen said Thursday that further investigation has led Davis, Dunham and Epps to be charged with murder. Dunham and Epps were served warrants on Tuesday before 5th Circuit Judge L. Casey Manning; Davis was served Thursday before 13th Circuit Judge D. Garrison Hill. Epps and Dunham are additionally charged with possession of a weapon during a violent crime and discharging a firearm into a dwelling.

The men were initially granted steep bonds shortly after their arrests, with Davis getting $200,000 surety, Dunham $500,000 surety and Epps $300,000. Those bonds were eventually cut in half. McElveen asked Tuesday and Thursday that the men be granted concurrent bonds on their new charges.

"These charges are associated with the exact same sequence of events that transpired for their prior charges," McElveen said. "All three defendants have now been served with murder warrants."

McElveen said Thursday that Davis had already made his prior $100,000 bond. Information for Dunham and Epps' bond statuses was unavailable by press time Thursday.

Reach Robert J. Baker at (803) 774-1211.