Bond denied for third suspect in Rock Hill homicide

jmcfadden@heraldonline.comJanuary 15, 2014 

— The day after he shot at another man on a porch, Abdul Emmanuel of Rock Hill and two teenagers held Michael Giddens at gunpoint on Friday, stole his shotgun, and then shot him to death in his home, according to authorities.

On Wednesday, Emmanuel, identified as the third suspect in Rock Hill’s first homicide of 2014, appeared before a Rock Hill Municipal Court judge, who denied setting his bond. Municipal court judges are unable to set bond on murder charges. Emmanuel, 19, turned himself in to police late Tuesday.

Maurice Burris, 16, and Dontavion White, 17 – both charged with murder in Giddens’ death – turned themselves in to police on Monday. They are held at the York County Detention Center awaiting a Circuit Court bond hearing.

Police on Tuesday evening also arrested Emmanuel’s sister, Lattoya Belinda St. Hill, 26, and charged her with helping Burris and White flee to Charlotte after the alleged murder. She is charged with accessory after the fact of murder. A Rock Hill Municipal Court judge denied her bond Wednesday morning. Police on Wednesday were searching for Pamela St. Hill, Emmanuel’s mother, who police will charge with accessory after the fact of murder after she allegedly helped the teens flee Rock Hill, according to Executive Officer Mark Bollinger of the Rock Hill Police Department.

Charges for both St. Hill women come as a show of force from Rock Hill Police, who have adopted a hard stance against family members and friends who help suspects wanted for violent crimes.

Police last Friday found Giddens, 25, suffering from gunshot wounds to his abdomen in his 1167 Cedar Grove Lane home. He was taken to Piedmont Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

Witnesses told police they saw Giddens, who family and friends said was a tattoo artist who customized cars, run from a man who chased Giddens into his home before the shooting. Statements from witnesses and anonymous tips helped police identify Burris and White as suspects. Those same witnesses identified Emmanuel as one of the alleged gunmen, Bollinger said. Police did not confirm Abdul’s involvement until Tuesday morning.

Police say that on the day before Giddens was killed, Emmanuel shot at a 20-year-old on Flint Street home. The victim told police he was on the porch of a Flint Street home when several people pulled up in a blue Jeep, according to a Rock Hill police report. Emmanuel, who the victim identified, pulled out a gun and pointed it at him. The victim began to run, but the Jeep followed him until he ran back to the Flint Street home, where Emmanuel fired three shots at him. Police issued warrants for Emmanuel, who turned himself in on Sunday. He was charged with attempted murder, criminal conspiracy, possession of a firearm during a violent crime and carrying a pistol unlawfully, according to Rock Hill police records.

Police have not established a connection between the drive-by shooting and Giddens’ death, Bollinger said, although detectives will trace the gun’s history to determine if the weapon used at the Flint Street home matches a weapon used in Giddens’ death. Police have not released a motive in either shooting.

Detectives found empty gun boxes in Giddens’ home. A K9 unit tracking the suspects found a shotgun police believe was stolen from Giddens.

During Emmanuel’s Wednesday afternoon bond hearing, Municipal Court Judge Jane Modla listed his charges, which include murder, armed robbery, criminal conspiracy, possession of a firearm during a violent crime and pointing and presenting a firearm. Burris and White face identical charges, except for the pointing and presenting a firearm allegation. Police say it’s unclear which suspect fired the bullets that killed Giddens, but all three are charged under the state’s “the hand of one is the hand of all” law.

Emmanuel told Modla he did not finish high school and does not have a job. She asked why he did not inform his mother of his new charges.

“You don’t want to have her here?” Modla asked.

“No ma’am, I’m OK; I’m a man,” he answered.

Police told Modla why Emmanuel’s mother and sister were not in court. “I don’t know nothing about that,” he said.

Three women and one man appeared in court on Emmanuel’s behalf: “They ain’t my real family, but they’re my peeps,” he told Modla. He will be sent to the York County Detention Center, where he will await a Circuit Court bond hearing.

Last Thursday’s drive-by shooting was the second time Emmanuel had been charged with attempted murder. On Dec. 9, 2011, a man, 23, driving down South Jones Avenue reported to police that a teenager shot at him while he was standing in a nearby yard, according to a Rock Hill police report. The victim, who drove from the scene, told police he believes the teen was the same suspect who asked to borrow his phone weeks earlier but never returned it. He identified the shooter from a photo lineup as Emmanuel.

More than a week later, on Dec. 21, they arrested him at South Pointe High School, records show. With Christmas four days away, classes were not held that day.

School district officials say he was not a South Pointe student, but attended the Renaissance Academy until 2011. He was charged with attempted murder. Court records show he pleaded guilty to second-degree assault and battery under the Youthful Offender Act in April 2012.

Emmanuel recorded music with 715 FAM, a group of teen musicians and young adults who police have called a gang, but members say is a rap group. Antonio Wylie, a group leader, said Emmanuel was never part of the core membership, but a fan who occasionally contributed music. Emmanuel is a cousin to one of the group’s directors, Wylie said.

“He did some songs,” but, “wasn’t signed with the group,” Wylie said. “He did make music.”

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