The Charlotte Observer has been pre-occupied with Mayor Jennifer Roberts and the continuing fall out from HB2 and the transgender bathroom uproar. Observer staff cuts have made chasing down the story impossible.
Earlier this month Amanda Fisher was murdered in the parking lot of the K&W Cafeteria in Myrtle Beach on a quiet Saturday morning. Her body left in the parking lot in a pool of blood a single gun shot to her head.
|Amanda "Mandy" Fisher Source MCSO|
Within a week two suspects Terrell Freeman and Nicholas McIver where apprehended by CMPD's VCAT unit.
|Nicholas McIver Source: MCS|
The connections to Charlotte, the victim and the killers are troubling. To make things interesting add the craziness of the "Moorish Nation" and a Mecklenburg County DA's Office that failed to convince a key witness to cooperate or apparently understand that by testifying her life was in danger.
As detailed below "Authorities have declined to comment on whether or not the two cases are connected". But it is clear that Fisher knew her killers, that they all have common connections to Gastonia, Charlotte and Fisher's former boyfriend Deonte Lanier.
|Deonte Lanier Source: MCSO|
Emily Weaver The Sun News:
A former Mount Holly, N.C., woman was not considered to be in danger when she was called to the stand against her wishes to testify in a Charlotte, N.C., courtroom against an old boyfriend, who was facing a murder charge in April.
But less than 10 weeks after that trial ended in a hung jury, that witness — Amanda Renee Fisher — was found shot to death in a North Myrtle Beach parking lot.
Authorities have declined to comment on whether or not the two cases are related.
“They’re investigating several directions, several paths,” city of North Myrtle Beach spokesman Pat Dowling said of officers, who continue to look into Fisher’s death.
“They are aware of that event,” Dowling said of the recent trial.
Neither of the two men charged in Fisher’s killing were the April trial defendant, who has remained in North Carolina’s state prison system serving time for a number of convictions since December 2012. But all three, at one point or another, have spent time in a Charlotte jail.
Twenty-year-old Nicolas McIver and 29-year-old Terrell Freeman are in custody and still awaiting extradition from Charlotte to North Myrtle Beach to face murder charges in Fisher’s death.
“Freeman was picked up for having violated parole on another matter,” Dowling said, adding that his travel from North Carolina to South Carolina was a violation of that parole agreement. “McIver was picked up for having burned the victim’s car and possessing a stolen motor vehicle.”
Freeman was convicted in 2012 in Vance County, N.C., for a 2008 manslaughter, according to offender records with the N.C. Department of Public Safety. He was sentenced to serve a minimum of 5 years and 9 months in prison, but was released on parole Jan. 28. His parole was set to expire in October.
It is unclear if Freeman or McIver have any connection to 25-year-old Deonte Montez Lanier or the case of Johnny Peay, who was shot to death in Mecklenburg County, N.C., in 2012. Lanier, Fisher’s boyfriend, was charged with first-degree murder in Peay’s death and was facing a mandatory life sentence if he was convicted.
In a pre-trial hearing in October, Lanier declared to a Mecklenburg County Superior Court judge that he was a Moorish National — a faction of the sovereign citizen movement that has declared independence from many state and federal laws. Praising Allah and describing himself as a martyr, Lanier told the judge he had no authority in his case and the charges against him carried no meaning, according to The Charlotte Observer.
Anna Greene, an assistant district attorney for Mecklenburg County, N.C., who helped prosecute Lanier’s case in April, called the act more of a pre-trial delay tactic. That tactic didn’t work with the judge.
Greene said the Moorish National rhetoric and related court filings had died down by the time the trial rolled around.
The prosecutor declined to comment on any pending investigation regarding the North Myrtle Beach shooting, but she did say Fisher “was a reluctant witness” in their case. She was reluctant, Greene said, “because she had, had a relationship with Mr. Lanier, a romantic relationship. … She did not want to see anything bad happen to him.”
Prosecutors said they had recordings of calls in which Fisher promised she would never testify against Lanier, according to The Charlotte Observer. But Fisher was called to the stand on April 12.
Fisher told the jury she didn’t want to be in the witness chair and that she had moved to Myrtle Beach after being subpoenaed to testify, according to The Charlotte Observer. The trial judge arrested and jailed Fisher to ensure she showed up in court, but her testimony on the stand conflicted with what she initially told officers.
Lanier was facing charges of first-degree murder, attempted robbery with a dangerous weapon, being a felon in possession of a firearm and conspiracy.
Fisher’s testimony wasn’t enough to secure a murder conviction and the jury was hung on all charges except the firearm possession, which they found him guilty of, but by the time the trial ended Lanier had agreed to plead guilty to attempted robbery with a dangerous weapon.
Greene said they dropped the murder and conspiracy charges.
Prosecutors didn’t raise any safety risk of Fisher testifying in open court.
“There was never anything said in open court to the judge in terms of safety concerns we had for her,” Greene said.
Lanier was no stranger to the criminal justice system when his trial began in April.
He was serving time on convictions for robbery with a dangerous weapon, breaking and entering vehicles, larcenies and weapons offenses for crimes committed throughout 2011 and in 2012. Prior convictions included possessing a weapon of mass destruction, felonious break-ins, larcenies, auto theft and speeding to elude arrest dating back to Sept. 27, 2006, according to offender records with the N.C. Department of Public Safety.
Lanier is currently serving time at the Lanesboro Correctional Institution, a high-security prison facility in Polkton, N.C. A total of 23 infractions are listed with the N.C. Department of Public Safety; they range from disobeying orders and lock tampering to the unauthorized use of a phone or email and gang involvement.
Keith Acree, communications officer with the adult correction division of NCDPS, said half of the state’s inmates have no infractions. The average number of infractions for inmates is usually one to two a year, he added. Twenty-three over a span of less than four years is not the norm, but Lanier does not appear to have the most serious infractions of assaults on staff or other inmates in his record.
Lanier’s projected release date is July 27, 2022