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Murder warrant filed in north Columbia killing

A warrant has been issued for first-degree murder and armed criminal action in a January killing on Weymeyer Drive.

The warrant was issued Friday for Laron Nesbitt, 24, who is an inmate in the Boone County Jail, the Columbia Police Department said in a news release. He is accused in the death of Deonte Gainwell, 20, of Columbia, who was found dead from gunshot wounds early Jan. 17 in the 3700 block of Weymeyer Drive.

Gainwell had shot and killed community activist Ahmonta Harris in November, but the Boone County prosecutor and the Boone County Sheriff’s Department determined the killing was justified, saying Harris had broken into Gainwell’s house to commit a robbery.

Nesbitt’s charges carry a $1 million cash-only bond. He also faces charges of unlawful gun possession in a separate case tied to the death of Dominick Roland, who was found in a crashed car with a gunshot wound on Rangeline Street early Jan. 26. Roland was being taken to a hospital in a private vehicle when the crash happened.

According to a probable cause statement filed in that case, Nesbitt was with Roland the night of the shooting and police found four guns inside a truck parked at a house in the 1300 block of Raleigh Dr. that Nesbitt, Roland and others were at minutes before the shooting. Nesbitt is a felon convicted of heroin possession with intent to distribute in 2014, making it illegal for him to have a gun.

A witness told investigators that Roland told the group, incuding Laron Nesbitt, Todd Nesbitt and Jamaal Radcliffe, that someone had been following them that night. Laron Nesbitt said the group shoiuld “do a hit” on that person, according to the statement.

Minutes after that conversation, Nesbitt returned to the witness’s home to tell them Roland had been shot. A second witness told police that Todd Nesbitt, another member of the group that night, told them that the car was “shot up.”

The statement does not explain why police suspect Laron Nesbitt of having a gun. The statement said that one of the four guns found on Raleigh Dr. had “what appeared to be fresh blood on it.”

Nesbitt has a bond reduction hearing scheduled for the unlawful gun possession case on Tuesday.

Radcliffe faces the same charge for the situation, but has not yet been arrested on the warrant, according to online court documents.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been corrected to note that Nesbitt is a felon.

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