April 15, 2014

Murder, robbery charges upheld against suspected Rock Hill gang member

A York County magistrate ruled on Tuesday that murder, several attempted murder, armed robbery and criminal conspiracy charges against Abbdul Emmanuel, accused in the shooting death of a Rock Hill man at his home in January.

Abbdul Emmanuel, an alleged gang member and accused killer, carries a gun because several people don’t like him and he’s a known snitch, teenage homicide suspects told police.

He’s accused of carrying a gun to an apparent drive-by shooting that sent bullets past a sleeping Rock Hill man’s head. He allegedly carried a gun to a brawl with a rival gang member who cheated him out of $100. And, authorities say, he carried a gun and then stole one moments after he shot a 25-year-old man to death in his home during a botched drug deal that did not involve the victim.

A York County magistrate on Tuesday upheld murder and several attempted murder, armed robbery and criminal conspiracy charges against Emmanuel, 19, accused as the triggerman in the death of Rock Hill’s Michael Giddens. He’s also been charged in several drive-by shootings that police say stem from an escalating war between rival gangs, 715 FAM and 901 KOB (Kash Over Broads), groups that consider themselves rap artists.

He appeared in court for a preliminary hearing, in which police detail the evidence they have against a defendant to justify why they filed a charge. A magistrate is then responsible for determining if authorities had substantial probable cause to file that charge. On Tuesday, Judge Lewis Malphrus did dismiss attempted murder charges against Emmanuel in connection with a drive-by shooting on Walnut Street.

“He’s just been accused, not convicted,” said Pamela St. Hill, Emmanuel’s mother who police charged as an accessory after they say she helped him flee to Charlotte after Giddens’ death. “He will have his day.”

Police were sent to a Cedar Grove Lane home, off Cherry Road, at about 2 p.m. Jan. 10 and found Giddens dead of two gunshot wounds in his stomach, Rock Hill Police Detective Joshua Welch testified Tuesday. Investigators learned that a teenage Renaissance Academy student offered to drive fellow students Maurice Lamont Burris, 16, and Dontavion Quamek White, 17, to the house so they could get marijuana. White wanted Emmanuel to come because he would have money to buy the drugs, Welch said.

Burris and Emmanuel went into the house, where they encountered two men and Giddens, who sat in a chair playing video games with a shotgun in his lap. According to statements Burris, White and the witnesses gave police, Emmanuel shot Giddens, stole his gun and chased the other two who fled the home.

Burris, Emmanuel and White fled in a blue Mercury Mountaineer before abandoning it off Dave Lyle Boulevard and going to Chester, where they stayed in a motel. Aided by Emmanuel’s mother and sister, they left for Charlotte the next morning, Welch said, and hid at a friend’s house until they returned to Rock Hill once realizing police were watching them.

Burris and White both turned themselves in to police after learning Giddens died.

Police say St. Hill and her daughter, Lattoya St. Hill, gave Emmanuel a bus ticket to New York. He did not go because he did not believe he was wanted in Giddens’ death.

Police suspected Emmanuel’s involvement because he was known to hang out with Burris, White and other alleged 715 FAM members. Police arrested Emmanuel in connection with a drive-by shooting a day before Giddens’ death. He was released on bond, but later turned himself in on murder warrants after witnesses identified him as the shooter.

In interviews with police, Burris, White and other accused 715 members claimed Emmanuel bragged about “how he caught a body” and his claims that he shot Giddens because the man pointed his gun at Burris. Burris told police Giddens never aimed his weapon, but according to Welch, told police Emmanuel “normally keeps a gun on him because people don’t like him.”

Emmanuel’s attorney, Tyler Burns, argued that his armed robbery charges should be dropped because there is no evidence that Emmanuel forcefully took Giddens’ gun.

“Your honor, he shot him and killed him” before taking the gun, said Jessica Holland, one of two York County solicitors prosecuting Emmanuel.

“He was dead at that point,” Burns countered, “it wouldn’t have made it an armed robbery.”

Malphrus disagreed and upheld all the charges against Emmanuel in connection with Giddens’ death.

Giddens’ family declined to comment after the hearing.

A week after Emmanuel’s arrest on murder charges, police arrested 13 alleged members of 715 FAM and 901 KOB, who object to police accusations that they’re gangsters and say they are unfairly typecast by authorities.

Rock Hill Police Officer Arthur Philson testified that the two groups began feuding when 901 KOB members rapped in a song that 715 FAM “isn’t making any money and they needed to get their money up.” Members of 715 responded with their own “diss music videos,” Philson said, sparking a feud that manifested in gunfire.

But St. Hill denies that Emmanuel is a member of 715 FAM, saying that even the group’s “CEO” acknowledges that he was never a core member. Group founder Antonio Wylie told The Herald in January that Emmanuel was a fan of 715, but he was not a signed artist.

“Why is he being accused of being charged as 715 when the CEO said he’s not a 715 member?” St. Hill asked. “I love him ... I pray for him. That’s all I can do right now.”

In court, Rock Hill Police Detective Ryan Thomas said Emmanuel offered police information about 715 FAM, disclosing details about the reputed gang’s hierarchy that gave investigators information they needed to arrest the accused gang members. Quoting a statement given to police by a suspect arrested in the gang roundup, Welch said, “Abbdul was known for snitching on friends in the past.”

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