Surprise links revealed in deaths of boy, accused killer
AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - For the first time, we’ve learned the suspected reason behind an Aiken 12-year-old’s slaying — and possibly why the man accused of killing him was murdered, too.
The man accused of killing the suspect is the boyfriend of the boy’s mother, according to prosecutors. And authorities believe a dispute over a drug deal led to the death of fifth-grader Edward McKenzie Jr., who was killed by shots fired into his Wyman Street home as he slept.
The revelations emerged Thursday during a bond hearing for Hykeem Hampton, the sole surviving suspect in the boy’s slaying.
There had been another suspect at-large in the boy’s Oct. 10 death, Demetrius Williams, but he was shot dead Jan. 8 in the 600 block of Legion Road in Warrenville.
Authorities arrested Dominique Sherard Bush, 28, of Aiken, in connection with Williams’ death.
Prosecutors revealed at the bond hearing that Bush was the boyfriend of Edward’s mom and lived in the home where the boy was killed — and Bush was supposed to be the victim.
Authorities believe the shooting stemmed from a drug dispute between Bush and Hampton about a week before the boy’s death. It’s something investigators learned of by reviewing cellphone records, prosecutor Ashley Hammack said at the hearing.
She said prosecutors believe the shooters went to the house, where Bush also lives, to target him, but hit Edward, who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Another child at the home suffered an injury that wasn’t life-threatening.
Hampton was arrested Oct. 14. After bond was denied Thursday, he remains in Aiken County jail on suspicion of murder, discharging firearms into a dwelling, possession of a weapon during a violent crime, and assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature.
Bush, meanwhile, also remains in Aiken County jail on weapons and murder charges.
Whatever happens next, a trial isn’t likely soon, according to Hammack. She said because of the COVID-19 pandemic, court proceedings are taking place online, so all jury trials are on hold.
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