A second person wanted in a September 14, 2020 shooting death was arrested in South Carolina and is in custody awaiting extradition to Halifax County.
Roanoke Rapids police Chief Shane Guyant said Leon Lamont Hunter, 36, was captured in Lexington County around 8 this morning and is charged in the shooting death of Aaron Martin, who was 24 at the time of the fatal shooting which occurred at the Baymont Inn.
Hunter’s brother, 24-year-old William Hunter, was arrested and charged in December of 2020.
Leon Hunter’s arrest came after Captain H. Phillips began a renewed effort of researching unsolved cases and unserved warrants in homicide investigations, Guyant said.
Phillips assigned Detective B. Biggerstaff to try to locate Leon Hunter.
Within days Biggerstaff had found an address in Indiana but that information did not yield an arrest.
Guyant said Leon Hunter was in Indiana sometime this summer and most likely moved to South Carolina in August.
Late last week Biggerstaff and other members of the department’s investigations bureau developed what Guyant described as strong information that Leon Hunter was living in Lexington County, South Carolina.
With intelligence gathered and shared with the United States Marshals Fugitive Task Force from the Eastern District of North Carolina and Columbia, South Carolina, Leon Hunter was taken into custody this morning around 8 a.m.
Leon Hunter is currently held in the Lexington County, South Carolina Detention Center awaiting extradition to Halifax County.
Guyant said extradition proceedings are expected to take two weeks if Leon Hunter waives extradition.
William Hunter is expected to appear in superior court in January.
'A team effort' and mother's reaction
“This was a team effort,” Phillips said. “In speaking with the mother of Mr. Martin I knew we had to find Leon Hunter. I am so proud of our investigators for tracking him down. I am also very grateful for our relationship with the U.S. Marshals.”
Kayana Bowser, Martin’s mother, said of the arrest, “I feel great. It’s like the best feeling I’ve had in three years.”
Bowser said the past three years have been hard on her and her family. “It’s been real hard living without my son and knowing that the people who were responsible for killing my son were still out there in the streets.”
Bowser described her son as a gentle soul. “He was athletic. He was very intelligent. He would give his shirt off his back. He was just a sweet boy.”
She said she doesn’t know why someone would harm her son in that manner. She said her son went to school with one of the brothers charged.
Bowser said, “I will be there every day with every ounce of my being,” as court proceedings begin. “If there was a possibility of death, I would want death for them. My son is no longer here. They shouldn’t be here either.”
Of the work of the police investigators she said, “They are remarkable. I got more from them in the last month than I got in the whole three years since this has been going on.”
She described Phillips as remarkable. “His partner is remarkable. The DA stayed on it. I can’t ask for a better team than what I have right now. I didn’t feel like it was just another Black child that was murdered. It wasn’t a color thing. He just pushed for justice for me and my son.”
While she is pleased with the arrest of the second person, Bowser said, “I don’t think I’ll ever have closure. I’ve had to adjust. I have a new way of living now without my son.”
Life without her son is depressing, she said. “I have to wake up every day knowing I’ll never see my son again. I’ll never get to hug my son. I still tell him I love him every day but it’s not like I can hear him tell me he loves me back.”
Bowser told her daughter about the news of the second arrest. “She was so happy. She was thanking God and everything just as I was. I literally started crying.”
Now, she said, “I’m out for justice.”