UPDATE: Three now charged in New Year’s murder

Antwan Jahmal Johnson

Derrick Devon Pierce

Amanda Kay Canady

By DEUCE NIVEN

Thursday afternoon post
    A Bolton woman was arrested Thursday afternoon in the New Year’s Day murder of a woman found dead in the bedroom of her home, bringing to three now charged with murder in the case, Maj. Lewis Hatcher of the Columbus County Sheriff’s Office said.
    Amanda Kay Canady, 25, of Beas Lane in Bolton, was arrested at the Sheriff’s Office in Whiteville, Hatcher said. She had agreed to come in when contacted by detectives by phone.
    Derrick Devon Pierce, 29, of 950 Red Bug Road, Hallsboro; and Antwan Jamal Johnson, 30, of Giles Byrd Road in Hallsboro; were each charged with murder late Wednesday, Hatcher said.
    All three are charged in the death of Keisha April Ward, 31, at her Bussy Road home in Hallsboro early on New Year’s Day, and are being held without bond at the Columbus County Detention Center.
    Ward was found dead in her bedroom, by her children, just after 1 p.m. Wednesday, Capt. David Nobles said Wednesday. Her boyfriend, Johnny Lee Tyler, also 31, was in the room and had been “attacked and beaten by multiple assailants,” Capt. David Nobles said earlier Wednesday.
    Information obtained from Tyler and other witnesses led to the three suspects now charged with murder, Hatcher said. Detectives continue to work the case, and Hatcher said he could not rule out the possibility of more arrests.
    Pierce was arrested at a home on Sam Potts Hwy, Hallsboro, and Johnson was arrested at a James Avenue home in Lake Waccamaw, Hatcher said.
    Detectives are awaiting the results of an autopsy to determine if Ward’s death was the result of her being beaten, or another cause, Nobles said.
    Detectives are continuing to follow leads in the case, Hatcher said, and have not ruled out additional arrests.
    Tyler remained at Columbus Regional Healthcare in Whiteville on Thursday, and is expected to survive serious injuries from the beating he received New Year’s Day.
    Obituary information for Ward will be posted here.

Thursday morning post
    Two men have been charged with murder in the death of a woman found dead in the bedroom of her home, her boyfriend severely beaten, Maj. Lewis Hatcher of the Columbus County Sheriff’s Office said Thursday.
    Derrick Devon Pierce, 29, of 950 Red Bug Road, Hallsboro; and Antwan Jamal Johnson, 30, of Giles Byrd Road in Hallsboro; were each charged with murder late Wednesday, Hatcher said.
    Pierce was arrested at a home on Sam Potts Hwy, Hallsboro, and Johnson was arrested at a James Avenue home in Lake Waccamaw, Hatcher said.
    Both Pierce and Johnson are charged in the death of Keisha April Ward, 31, at her Bussy Road home in Hallsboro early on New Year’s Day, Hatcher said.
    Ward, 31, was found dead in her bedroom, her boyfriend, Johnny Lee Tyler, also 31, was in the room and had been “attacked and beaten by multiple assailants,” Capt. David Nobles said earlier Wednesday.
    Detectives are awaiting the results of an autopsy to determine if Ward’s death was the result of her being beaten, or another cause, Nobles said.
    Detectives are continuing to follow leads in the case, Hatcher said, and can not yet rule out additional arrests.

Wednesday post
    Columbus County’s first murder of 2014 claimed a former Tabor City resident now living in Hallsboro sometime early on New Year’s Day.
    Keisha April Ward, 31, died in the Bussy Road home in Hallsboro that she shared with boyfriend Johnny Lee Tyler, also 31, Capt. David Nobles of the Columbus County Sheriff’s Office said.
    Ward was found before 1:20 p.m. Wednesday. Tyler was also in the room, and had been “attacked and beaten by multiple assailants,” Nobles said later in a news release. While early indications are that both were beaten, Nobles said, detectives will not draw firm conclusions on the cause of Ward’s death until an autopsy is conducted in Raleigh on Thursday.
    Tyler was taken by ambulance to Columbus Regional Healthcare in Whiteville, with serious injuries, Nobles said. Tyler is expected to survive his injuries.
    Several children were in the home, the oldest 12, Nobles said, and one of them discovered the couple in their bloody bedroom sometime after 1 p.m. Wednesday. It appeared that at least one other person was in that room sometime after midnight, when the deadly confrontation took place.
    Nobles said some of the children were Ward’s, others may have been relatives spending New Year’s Eve. The children were apparently unaware of the violence that took place elsewhere in the house, and were quickly taken by other family members Wednesday afternoon.
    Ward is a former Tabor City resident, Columbus County Coroner Linwood Cartrette said. Her mother, Brenda Ward, manages a Tabor City convenience store.
    Detectives are pursuing leads and hope to determine who was responsible for Ward’s death, Nobles said. Anyone with information in the case is asked to call the Columbus County Sheriff’s Office at 910-642-6551.
    For more on this story see the Dec. 8 Tabor-Loris Tribune print edition.

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