Bond for Rock Springs Murder Suspect Set at $1.5 Million
A North Carolina man charged with first-degree murder in the stabbing death of a 20-year-old Mississippi man awaits trial in Rock Springs on $1.5 million bond.
Charles Kenzell Carter, 27, of Fayetteville, NC, was arraigned before Rock Springs Circuit Court Judge Craig L. Jones Wednesday afternoon. Jones set Carter’s bond, scheduled a preliminary hearing for 9 a.m. Tuesday and ordered a public defender appointed to represent Carter.
Court documents detail the circumstances surrounding the Monday night death of 20-year-old Toboris Lee of Batesville, Mississippi.
Rock Springs police responded to the Loaf N Jug located at 2558 Foothill Blvd. shortly before 9:30 p.m. and found Lee inside the store, lying in a pool of his own blood as people attempted to resuscitate him.
Lee was pronounced dead by medical staff at Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County at 10:03 p.m. According to court documents, Lee had wounds on his abdomen, mid-chest and left shoulder as well as lacerations on the upper right side of his back and near his left eyebrow.
Carter and Lee were door-to-door salesmen traveling in a van with a larger group of salesman, according to court papers. Several members of that group evidently witnessed Monday’s incident.
A witness reportedly told a detective that he saw Carter and Lee arguing inside the store moments before the alleged stabbing. The witness said he intervened and thought the argument was over, but Carter and Lee went at it again in the parking lot shortly before Lee was stabbed.
Court papers say a second witness told police he watched the argument continue in the parking lot and saw Carter stab Lee with a black folding knife that had a blade approximately six inches long. According to the witness account, no punches were thrown before Lee was stabbed.
After a detective read Carter his Miranda rights, Carter reportedly said he was arguing with Lee because Lee owed him $10 and didn’t plan on paying him. According to court documents, Carter said he was in the van with the rest of his group and “everyone started laughing and it made him mad.” Carter allegedly said he got out of the van and didn’t remember anything else, but then said he thought Lee was about to hit him while the two were in the store, so he pushed Lee.
According to court papers, Carter said he went outside and Lee approached him, asking “if he had a problem,” and saying “they should go ahead and take care of it.” Carter allegedly said he defended himself by pushing Lee and then blacked out.
Carter also reportedly said Lee pushed him and the two tussled on the ground for about three minutes before someone pulled them apart. Carter said he was out of breath and did not remember where Lee went.
Documents filed by Teresa Thybo of the Sweetwater County Attorney’s Office show police found a folding pocket knife at the scene with the blade partially extended and what seemed to be blood and biological tissue on the blade. Carter allegedly had blood on his shoes and inside his right pocket.
If convicted of murder in the first degree, Carter could be sentenced to death, life imprisonment without the possibility of parole or life imprisonment.