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Suspect in fatal shooting sentenced

Deonta McNeil, 15, of Raleigh, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and attempted robbery with a dangerous weapon.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — 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.

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.


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