The man responsible for shooting a local barber in an apartment complex parking lot on Seventh Avenue two years ago, was apparently a hitman ordered to kill the barber.
Ramon Black, of Savannah, Ga, the apparent hitman, was convicted in a Wake County court room on Aug. 7 of first-degree murder for shooting and killing Kyevon Gales, 37, on a summer evening in July 2013. Black was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
When the murder initially happened, Garner police were tight-lipped about the case. But details finally surfaced in court.
Evidence presented to the jury, suggested another man wired Black $200 around the time of the murder, to rent a car to drive from Savannah to Garner. Black and the man, Marion Sharpe, kept in contact throughout the time Black and his girlfriend were in Garner, until the murder was carried out, according to phone records.
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The prosecution believed Sharpe had previously been in an altercation in Jacksonville, with Gales a couple of months before, that stemmed from selling drugs. Gales allegedly stabbed Sharpe in a night club.
“The jury made their decision and I respect the jurors,” said public defender Deonte Thomas. “It was an interesting case and we put up a good fight.”
Black has filed an appeal.
Black’s girlfriend, Ciara Timesha Jefferies, was also arrested and charged as an accessory to the murder. She was said to be driving the get-away car.
Initially, the case yielded no suspects. But after further investigation, which included hundreds of hours of interviews, reviews of video surveillance, monitoring phone calls, search warrants, trips to Jacksonville and Savannah, police found out the case was a little more complex than expected, according to emails.
Black and Jefferies were arrested a month after the murder.
Gales was a barber at Diamond Kutz Barbershop in the Forest Hills shopping center on Fifth Avenue. He had recently moved to Garner with his wife. He was said to have been fleeing Jacksonville in fear of retribution from the stabbing, according to court filings.
Mr. Sharpe put out a ‘contract’ to have Gales killed and associates of Sharpe were able to track Gales to Garner.
Email from Brandon Zuidema, Garner Police Chief, to Town Manager Hardin Watkins
Emails from Police Chief Brandon Zuidema and court filings suggest Sharpe hired Black to kill Gales.
“Mr. Sharpe put out a ‘contract’ to have Gales killed and associates of Sharpe were able to track Gales to Garner,” Zuidema told town manager Hardin Watkins in an email message.
In court it came out that Black, the hired hitman, made two trips to Garner from Savannah. On his first trip on July 25, he stayed at a hotel in the 40/42 intersection in Johnston County with his girlfriend, Jeffries. They waited for him outside Diamond Kutz but could not find him.
Black and his girlfriend left and came back a few days later and stayed at a hotel in the town limits.
At some point, Black met up with someone in a white van, and left Jeffries in a parking lot at the Food Lion on Fifth Avenue. She spotted Gales in the Food Lion and called Black. As Gales was leaving and walking to Westchester apartments across the street, Black followed him.
Jeffries testified she saw her boyfriend walk in the direction of Gales in the parking lot at Westchester Apartments and she heard one shot. He returned to the car and told her to drive back to Savannah. Westchester Apartments is directly across the street from the police station.
None of people involved, other than Gales, had any ties to Garner.
Zuidema wrote in an email to the town manager that it was the most involved homicide case and investigation that he had seen in his career.
The prosecutor, Jimmy Wilson, also said he appreciated the Garner Police Department’s work.
“We felt we presented a strong case,” Wilson said. “We commend the Garner Police Department with their investigation on this case and we’re satisfied with the jury.”
Jeffries was due in court on Friday for her case.
According to multiple news reports, Sharpe, was killed June 30 of this year. He was found at his home with a gunshot wound. Investigators in Onslow County have ruled it a homicide. It is unclear whether the two cases are connected.
The investigation into the white van continues.