• 66°

Second man involved in Spencer murder has first court appearance

The second of three suspects involved in an Oct. 8 homicide in Spencer was arrested late Thursday night and made his first court appearance this morning.

Darius O’Bryan Abel, 24, and Kenneth Wayne Abel Jr., 28, both face two counts of first-degree felony murder.

The victims, Antonio “Tony” Walker and James “Junior” Walker Jr., were inside their Fifth Street home on the night of Oct. 8 when three men wearing gorilla masks walked through the door with guns.

Tony Walker, 29, was in a back bedroom when he was shot. He managed to stumble into the family’s living room, before he died. His uncle, Junior Walker, 43, was beaten with his own handgun and shot by one of the intruders. He died at the scene.

The gunmen forced Tony Walker’s mother, Angie Walker White, and his sister, Jasmine, to the living room floor. They were not hurt. White told reporters a day after the incident it all happened quickly, but she recalled one of the gunmen asked for her son by name. Two of the gunmen went into Tony’s room and shortly after, White said, she heard two shots.

Spencer Police, SBI and Rowan County Sheriff’s investigators have said from the beginning the crime was not random and the family and the home were a target. Authorities believe robbery was the motive.

Darius Abel walked into a district courtroom this morning in handcuffs and a Rowan County issued orange jumpsuit. The first appearance was brief and district court judge Marshall Bickett appointed John Basinger as Darius Abel’s provisional attorney.

Darius Abel said very little, but did ask for a court appointed attorney. Since Abel faces murder charges, he is eligible for a public defender from the state Capital Defenders Office.

If convicted, both men could receive life without parole or the death penalty.

Darius Abel and Kenneth Abel Jr. are believed to be cousins, officials said this morning.

Both men remain in the Rowan County Detention Center under no bond.

Family and friends gathered Friday afternoon for the funeral of Tony Walker and Junior Walker.

Spencer authorities have not made any other arrests as of Friday morning.



State shows 303 COVID-19 deaths in Rowan


CDC: Fully vaccinated people can largely ditch masks indoors


One arrested, another hospitalized in Castor Road stabbing

China Grove

China Grove Roller Mill open for tours Saturday


Facing personnel deficiencies, local fire departments request tax rate increases


‘Panic buying’ creates gas supply shortages locally, statewide after pipeline cyberattack


Twice as nice: Planet Smoothie opens alongside Cold Stone Creamery in co-branded store


Spencer board gets update on South Iredell rat problem


West Rowan teacher awarded $15,000 outdoor learning grant


Town of Cleveland plans celebration May 22

High School

High school girls tennis: Busy Hornets win again easily

High School

High school softball: Nixon, Walton top all-county team


All Hood Alumni and Friends Symposium scheduled June 18


Shoutouts: Southern City Church awards educational gifts


City to pave streets surrounding Bell Tower Green after park is constructed


Colonial Pipeline restarts operations days after major hack


Ohio’s million-dollar idea: Lottery prizes for vaccinations


GOP dumps defiant Trump critic Cheney from top House post


Israel steps up Gaza offensive, kills senior Hamas figures


Fluctuating COVID-19 death number back to 302 in Rowan County


Habitual felon sentenced to at least 8 years in prison


City of Kannapolis to have bike rodeo Saturday


Two more charged for operating illegal gambling businesses


A.L. Brown celebrates seniors with signing day