COLUMBUS COUNTY, NC (WECT) - Authorities have arrested a second suspect in connection to the shooting death of Trooper Kevin K. Conner.
During a noon news conference Tuesday, District Attorney Jon David identified the second suspect as 18-year-old Chauncy Askew and said he has been charged with first-degree murder.
S.B.I. Special Agent Kevin Tabron said Askew was arrested without incident early Tuesday morning in Loris, S.C., after an extensive manhunt by members of the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division. Askew is jailed at the J. Reuben Long Detention Center in Conway, S.C., and is awaiting extradition back to North Carolina.
David declined to go into specifics about Askew’s alleged role in the shooting, saying that he couldn’t divulge details about the pending case. David also refused to provide a timeline of when law enforcement was aware of Askew’s involvement.
“Chauncy Askew’s name emerged early on in our investigation and at that point we needed to develop corroborating information to substantiate our ability to charge him and that’s we did as early as yesterday,” David explained.
Askew was charged Oct. 16, 2017, with two counts of felony break or enter a motor vehicle, two counts of misdemeanor larceny, felony larceny of a motor vehicle, felony second-degree kidnapping and felony robbery with a dangerous weapon. Warrants indicate that on Oct. 12, Askew broke into two vehicles and stole items from each, stole a different vehicle and kidnapped a different victim, using an automatic pistol to rob them of a cell phone.
On Aug. 14 — nearly two months to the day before he allegedly killed Conner — Askew entered an Alford plea to one count of breaking and entering. An Alford plea generally means a suspect maintains his innocence but admits the state has enough evidence to convict him.
The remaining charges against Askew were dismissed as a result of the plea. A judge issued an active sentence of 4-14 months in prison, but Askew was given credit for the 303 days he spent in jail awaiting trial and he was placed on unsupervised probation for 24 months.
Raheem Davis, 20, of Chadbourn, was previously arrested and charged with first-degree murder after he allegedly shot and killed Trooper Kevin Conner during an early morning traffic stop along U.S. 701 in Columbus County on Wednesday, Oct. 17. Davis is being held in the Columbus County Jail under no bond.
Last week, David said his office is considering whether or not to seek the death penalty for Davis.
“Both of these defendants will be vigorously prosecuted by my office and we will do so using the strength of the investigation developed by the S.B.I.,” David said. “Our evidence to date conclusively shows that there were two people in the truck when Trooper Conner made that fateful stop and both of them are now in custody.”
David and Columbus County Sheriff Lewis Hatcher both asked that the public keep sharing tips to the Columbus County Sheriff’s Office during the ongoing investigation.
Conner’s funeral was held at South Columbus High School on Sunday as hundreds of people flocked to the school to honor the fallen trooper.