A bail bondsman posted the money for the release of Claude Luther Celestine on the drug charges filed against him when he was arrested at the murder scene.
Celestine and Donovan Gonsalves now face murder charges in the shooting death of their associate — Daquinn Blount.
That Solomon-Cartagena posted bond for Celestine’s release shows a previous relationship between the two men and backs a statement made by Halifax County Sheriff Wes Tripp Wednesday the crime appears to be drug-related.
Tripp today confirmed all the men were acquainted with each other.
Asked whether Blount, Celestine and Gonsalves were at Solomon-Cartagena’s residence in the 300 block of Grant Drive to conduct a drug transaction, the sheriff declined to answer.
The sheriff did confirm evidence shows there was a dispute between the two men who were shot — Blount and Gonsalves.
The sheriff has said there is no evidence to suggest Blount, Celestine and Gonsalves were at Solomon-Cartagena’s residence to rob him.
Tripp said the murder of Blount and the wounding of Gonsalves occurred inside Solomon-Cartagena’s residence.
Celestine was released from custody soon after his bonds were posted the afternoon of July 16, the same day as the murder. He and Gonsalves are currently at large and are believed to be in either New York or Georgia, Tripp said in a statement released Wednesday.
Meanwhile, warrants on file at the clerk of court’s office in Halifax on the arrest of Celestine on the obstruction charge show he reportedly provided multiple fictitious stories designed to delay law enforcement “in apprehending guilty parties in a homicide.”
Warrants lodged on the drug charges show on the day he was arrested, Celestine used a 2009 Audi with Georgia plates for allegedly selling and keeping controlled substances.
An additional warrant for possession of marijuana paraphernalia and related charges shows a black digital scale, a Mason jar, plastic bags and a plastic container was seized.
Solomon-Cartagena has been charged with accessory after the fact of murder and awaits an August 15 court date.
Tripp said Wednesday the accessory count against Solomon-Cartagena comes after facts were discovered which led investigators to the charge.
Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Celestine and Gonsalves is encouraged to call the sheriff’s office at 252-583-8021 or Crimestoppers at 252-583-4444.