SLED reopens Hardeeville murder case, investigates missing evidence

rlurye@islandpacket.comApril 20, 2014 

A 2011 Hardeeville murder case has been reopened as state authorities investigate missing evidence and a possible relation between two defendants and a former Hardeeville Police officer, the 14th Judicial Circuit solicitor said.

About a week ago, Solicitor Duffie Stone asked the S.C. Law Enforcement Division to examine the July 2011 shooting death of 24-year-old Joseph Kilpatrick of Pineland. Kilpatrick was shot at his sister's Jenny Greene apartment, authorities say.

According to Stone, SLED will attempt to locate missing evidence and determine whether former officer Alexis Webber, the case's lead investigator, is related to two of the men charged in Kilpatrick's death, Daquan Aki Aiken, 22, of Bluffton, and Kenneth Tremont Anderson, 21, of Ridgeland.

The agency also will audit the Hardeeville Police Department's evidence room, Stone said.

"My prosecutors and investigators have been trying to pull the case together," Stone said. "There's no clear record of where the evidence went."

He would not comment further on what evidence is missing, or when and why Webber left the department. Former police Chief Richard Nagy said Webber resigned for personal reasons, but he did not remember when. That information was not available Friday from the S.C. Criminal Justice Academy or city attorney Tom Johnson.

Interim Police Chief Sam Woodward and interim city manager Rose Dobson-Elliott declined to comment on the case. Nagy -- who resigned Feb. 24 -- said he was not aware evidence is missing and declined to speak further about the allegations.

Attempts Friday to reach Webber were unsuccessful.

SLED spokesman Thom Berry said the case was reopened Wednesday. He declined to comment further.

Murder and kidnapping charges are pending against Aiken, Anderson and a third defendant, Johnathan Alexander Lilly, 20, of Hardeeville.

They are accused of donning masks and breaking into the Thatcher Road apartment where Kilpatrick was baby-sitting his sister's three children July 15, 2011. The suspects held Kilpatrick against his will and shot him, according to police.

The children, between ages 4 and 10, were uninjured.

Lilly, arrested in September 2011, was released from the Jasper County Detention Center the next month with electronic monitoring after posting a $35,000 bond.

Aiken and Anderson have remained at the detention center since their arrests in February 2012. Aiken's bond is set at $300,000 and Anderson's at $90,000.

SLED was also called to Hardeeville in November following an altercation between a police officer and Councilman Sal Arzillo.

That ongoing investigation, which includes allegations of retaliation against Nagy, is unrelated, Berry said.

Follow reporter Rebecca Lurye at twitter.com/IPBG_Rebecca.

Related content:

Hardeeville teen arrested, charged in July murder, September 21, 2011

Former Hardeeville chief says SLED investigating possible retaliation, March 5, 2014

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