Local News

Suspect in fatal shooting sentenced

Posted September 9, 2009

— A Raleigh teen pleaded guilty on Wednesday to the shooting death a 28-year-old man in January.

Anthony Dontez Wright 28, was found shot to death on Jan. 20 on the 300 block of Camden Street, police said.

Authorities said Wright was leaving a grocery store on Martin Street when five men attempted to rob him and a fight ensued.

Wright ran away and ended up on Camden Street, where his grandmother lived. He was banging on her door begging to be let in when police said Deonta McNeil, who had followed him, shot him twice. The group did not get any money from Wright.

Anthony Wright, fatally shot on Jan. 20, 2009 Teen sentenced in fatal shooting

Two children who were playing in the snow nearby recognized McNeil and helped identify him to police.

Police arrested McNeil and his brother, Rashon Lakeith McNeil, in the incident. Police also found gang symbols at the home.

Assistant District Attorney Boz Zellinger said the crime was committed for the benefit of a gang.

Deonta McNeil, an eighth-grader at Longview School, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and attempted robbery with a dangerous weapon. He was sentenced to between 196 and 245 months for the murder charge and between 64 and 86 months for the attempted robbery charge.

Deonta McNeil will serve between 21 ½ and 27 ½ years in prison.

Deonta McNeil’s attorney Dewey Brinkley said the teen was smoking marijuana and had been drinking gin before the incident.

“He has continued to have nightmares, but he is taking responsibility for what he did,” Brinkley said.

Brinkley said Denota McNeil plans to use his time in prison to get his General Educational Development. certificate (GED).

“I just wanted to say to the family I’m sorry for what happened. I just ask you that you forgive me for what I did,” McNeil said in court on Wednesday.

Rashon McNeil, 17, Markell Antonio Watson, 16, and Jerod Lee Harrington, 19, also pleaded guilty to attempted robbery with a dangerous weapon in the incident.

McNeil and Harrington were sentenced to a minimum of 6 years in jail. Markell Watson was sentenced to a minimum of five years in jail.

Markell Watson's brother, Darius Watson, 14, is also charged in the incident. He has not entered a plea.

Wright’s family was in the courtroom on Wednesday. “My son was striving to be the best he could be,” his mother Carla Wright said.

“I won’t forget but I’m going to learn to forgive,” his aunt Cynthia Wright said.

9 Comments

This story is closed for comments. Comments on WRAL.com news stories are accepted and moderated between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Oldest First
View all
  • moonpie Sep 10, 12:07 p.m.

    "Brinkley said Denota McNeil plans to use his time in prison to get his General Educational Development. certificate (GED)."

    21 to 27 years should give him adequate time to accomplish this goal....

  • mocena Sep 10, 8:51 a.m.

    "Why should he be allowed to live after taking someone else's life? I really wish some of you anti-death penalty people could give me a sensible answer to that, but I doubt you can..."
    Because two wrongs don't make a right? Because we're better than the murderers?

  • kal Sep 10, 8:36 a.m.

    Notice how the YOUNGEST member of the "group" took responsibility for the shooting-The older ones probably would have recieved a more severe punishment (especially if they already had records). These "groups" are recruiting younger and younger.

  • shortcake53 Sep 10, 8:21 a.m.

    Sorry kid, but you royaly messed up. Drugs,alcohol, and killing at age 14. And now you want to say, "Oh, sorry." You and your disgusting little friends traded what could have been a productive life and decided to steal and murder instead of work like the majority of us do. At least you will have a long time to think about it now, sitting in your cell wondering what fun things you could have been doing as a teenager.

  • vaulter Sep 9, 6:49 p.m.

    Why should he be allowed to live after taking someone else's life? I really wish some of you anti-death penalty people could give me a sensible answer to that, but I doubt you can...

  • james27613 Sep 9, 6:17 p.m.

    Well North Carolina is it time for a real tough on crime stand ?

    You use a firearm in any crime, you get 12 years automatic prison time, no get out of jail early card, no plea, no probation no nothing but a cell and three meals a day.

    This is on top of any other charges the criminal racks up.

    We don't need no new fancy jails, just a nice large lot out
    in the country, three electric fences, guard dogs and the
    convicts, let them live in tents. If our Troops can live in tents then so can these convicts.

    Place collars on their necks with explosive charge,
    if they stray past the main gates the charge blows off their head and that of one other convict. Nobody knows who your
    collar is 'married' with so everyone wants you to stay inside
    the complex.

  • james27613 Sep 9, 6:13 p.m.

    If the convicts atty says he was using drugs and alcohol,
    did they file charges for these crimes as well ?

    If he took my life I promise you I would be inside his head
    for the rest of his pathetic life, something to remember me by.

    I guess he is now an official gang banger and will be embraced by the prison population.

  • lorivalentine1 Sep 9, 6:06 p.m.

    Hope he fries... Being this young and already murdering. Sorr but he needs to go!

  • cool_rocker999 Sep 9, 5:59 p.m.

    Laws need to change in order to change the society we live in. He should have been given the death penalty for what he did. The others should have been charged as accessories to murder and spent at least 20 years each in prison.