Second man charged in connection with Spencer murders

Published 2:35 am Friday, October 17, 2014

Spencer investigators charged a second man late Thursday night in connection with the shooting deaths of Antonio “Tony” Walker and his uncle James “Junior” Walker during an Oct. 8 home invasion, robbery at the family’s Fifth Street home in Spencer.

Darius O’Bryan Abel, 24, was charged with two counts of murder, just one day after police charged Kenneth Wayne Abel Jr., 28, with two counts of first-degree murder.

Darius Abel was arrested and booked into the Rowan County Detention Center without bond around 10:30 p.m., jail records show.

Spencer authorities provided few details in a brief statement, but did say an updated statement would be issued this morning. Spencer authorities have also not said how Darius Abel and Kenneth Abel are related.

Kenneth Wayne Abel Jr. said very little during his first court appearance Thursday, in which he appeared via video.

Abel, 28, of the 700 block of Candlewick Drive, was arrested Wednesday night, just a week after the two men were shot and killed.

Angie Walker White — mother of Tony White and sister of Junior Walker — said investigators contacted her about Abel’s arrest and that she was in “disbelief.”

White said she didn’t know Abel personally, but knew of him.

Around 10 p.m. on Oct. 8, three men came into the Fifth Street home, all wearing gorilla masks, gloves and camouflage and wielding guns, the victims’ family said.

Two gunmen went into a back bedroom where Tony Walker was and the other forced his relatives onto the floor.

Angie White said she and her daughter, Jasmine, had just returned home from a movie and were talking with her brother Junior when the men came through the open front door. A screen door was closed. The men forced them on the floor and one of them asked for Tony by name. Two men went into the bedroom, and White said she heard two gun shots.

She said her son stumbled out of the room and died in front of her on the living room floor. Her brother tried to protect the family and reached for his own gun.

He was beaten by one of the intruders with the gun, then was shot and killed.

Spencer Police, Rowan County Sheriff’s Office and SBI investigators spent much of Oct. 9 at the home collecting and cataloging evidence.

The day after the murders, officials said the home was a target and the motive was robbery. SBI Special Agent in Charge Tony Underwood said at the time they had no suspects. Spencer Police have released few details and have not said how Kenneth or Darius Abel were developed as suspects.

No other arrests had been made late Thursday and Spencer officials said no other details would be released. An investigator said earlier Thursday the decision to provide more details would be made by Spencer Police Chief Michael James.

James has not provided specific details about the incident or potential suspects.

Family members were at the Spencer home Thursday afternoon, continuing to make funeral arrangements. Tony and Junior Walker will have a joint funeral today.

White says she doesn’t want anyone to retaliate in anger for the deaths of her son and brother. She said she still wants law enforcement to investigate and the judicial process to be carried out.

It’s best to “let God take care of it,” said Tony Pruitt, Junior Walker’s brother.

District Court Judge Marshall Bickett asked Abel on Thursday what he wanted to do about an attorney, and Abel said he’d hire his own. Since Abel faces murder charges, Bickett appointed Darrin Jordan as provisional attorney.

An Abel family member at the Candlewick Drive home declined to comment.

Kenneth Abel has been convicted of armed robbery that stemmed from a 2007 incident in Virginia. Darius Abel was convicted in March of felony burglary and common law robbery stemming from a 2012 incident. In June 2012, Darius Abel and Kenis Allen forced their way into a Harrel Street home and forced a woman to the floor at gunpoint. One of them hit the woman in the face with a pistol while the other searched the home. The woman’s 2-year-old child was in the room during the home invasion, but not harmed.

According to the N.C. Department of Corrections, Darius Abel was also convicted of driving while impaired, drug possession and carrying a concealed weapon.

Contact reporter Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253.