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Aiken investigators detail arrests in 12-year-old’s slaying

Published: Oct. 28, 2020 at 5:21 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Three people have all been charged following an investigation into the murder of a 12-year-old boy in Aiken.

Edward “Junior” F. McKenzie Jr. was shot inside his home in the 1000 block of Wyman Street. The Aiken Department of Public Safety responded to the residence for shots being fired at 3:58 a.m. on October 10.

“When we lose one of our angels so soon, it’s like, really a dagger in the heart of the community and you can’t take too many daggers to the heart and still have a sustainable community," Captain Martin Sawyer of the Aiken City Council said.

McKenzie was shot on October 10, just days after he celebrated his 12th birthday.

“For several weeks. Our agency has invested hundreds of man-hours. Completed dozens and dozens of interviews and follow-ups and has collected strong compelling evidence in this case," Sawyer said.

Investigators have taken out arrest warrants on Hykeem Hampton, 25, and Demetrious Williams, 31. Hampton is in custody and has been charged with murder, assault and battery, discharging a firearm, and weapons possession.

Williams remains on the run.

Two others, Erica Smith and Tashia Limehouse have also been arrested and charged with accessory after the fact of murder.

Investigators have given more details in this case, saying that McKenzie and another child were not the intended targets.

Aiken Department of Public Safety Chief Charles Barranco spoke at a news conference to announce the results of the investigation.

“This case has been challenging and an emotional investigation,” Barranco said. “And I pray it is one that we never have to endure again.”

Barranco said the department will work to bring this case to full prosecution.

Aiken County Councilwoman Gail Diggs also delivered remarks, and said she spoke to McKenzie’s family.

“I’ve never heard Chief Barranco cry, but I heard him cry. He was torn up about this young man being killed and the fact that it doesn’t have to be this way,” Diggs said. “Every time I think of this young man, I think of how much life he should have had left,” Diggs said. “This was such a senseless murder.”

The news of arrests offered a step towards closure, but the pain still remains in the community.

“A community where there’s 100 percent of people, only 20 percent of those people are the ones that are committing the crime,” Eugene White, NAACP Aiken President, said. “Murder is just something that damages a community--damages a family”

A life taken too soon and hurt that will last a lifetime.

If you have any information about the whereabouts of Demetrious Williams, please contact the Aiken Department of Public Safety.

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