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Arrest made in Wheeler murder


     An arrest in the murder of Willie Lee Wheeler at his home in Tabor City was made Wednesday afternoon, Chief Donald Dowless of the Tabor City Police Department said.

     Kason Durante Johnson, 43, of Grice Road, was charged with first degree murder. He allegedly “unlawfully, willfully and feloniously did of malice aforethought kill and murder Willie Lee Wheeler,” warrants obtained by the State Bureau of Investigation said.

     Det. Richard Adams of the Columbus County Sheriff’s Office took Johnson into custody at his home, a CCSO report said.

Wheeler was found in his home on the corner of Lewis and King streets at about 10:30 a.m. on May 2, dead of a gunshot wound, Maj. Russell Conway of the Tabor City Police Department said at the time.

Asked to assist investigating the case, the SBI responded with more than a half-dozen agents, including crime scene investigators. Dowless said he typically seeks assistance from the SBI on murder cases because of the resources and expertise the state agency brings.

     Look for more on this story as events warrant and in the next Tabor-Loris Tribune in print and online.