A 15-year-old slain after he walked outside his North Charleston home.
A popular private-school teacher shot in his car at The Battery.
An ex-con gunned down outside a busy King Street bar.
In fact, police in the Lowcountry have been unable to solve 15 homicides from last year. Seven of those cases were in Charleston, where investigators have been impeded by factors such as a lack of evidence and a lack of witnesses and cooperation, Lt. Richard Moser said.
"We don't ever close them," Moser said. "We keep working on them. Any new leads that come in, we follow up."
The Lowcountry saw a record number of killings in 2006 — 77 in Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties. Despite the staggering totals, larger agencies reported closing cases at rates above the national average, which has hovered around 65 percent during the past decade, Bureau of Justice Statistics figures show.
With arrests made or suspects identified in all but seven of the city's 23 homicides last year, Charleston police have a clearance rate just under 70 percent. North Charleston police have closed all but four of their 29 homicides from last year, a clearance rate of 86 percent.
National statistics show that police have more luck solving cases involving younger victims. But North Charleston's unsolved killings involve some of the city's youngest dead.
They included Kodama Parks-Carter, 15, shot less than a block from his Barnwell Street home about 9 p.m. Sept. 16.
He came from a family of seven brothers and two sisters. His mother, Dosher Parks-Carter, now wears a metal necklace engraved with his name and image to remember him. She heard gunfire from her home the night of the shooting.
"There were people out there, so somebody had to know what happened," she said. "But nobody will say anything."
She knows if it was one of their children, they would want somebody to come forward.
Kodama's 27-year-old sister, Chineka Carter, still worries about five other siblings between the ages of 11 and 19. She constantly checks on them, fearing the killer could be someone nearby.
"We don't know anything," she said. "We don't know if it was someone they were with every day."
Other young victims in North Charleston included Gennaro Wine, 17, shot Jan. 24, 2006, and left to die in the middle of Chateau Avenue in the Park Circle area; and Ricardo James Bailey, 20, gunned down during a Nov. 7 confrontation on Ranger Drive in the Waylyn area.
Investigators have developed strong leads in the Wine case, police spokesman Spencer Pryor said.
Circumstances in some of Charleston's unsolved cases make detectives think there are witnesses who know what happened.
These cases include Jameco Harley, 31, shot Sept. 18 outside a home he was visiting on President Street; David Christopher Holmes, 26, who died in a Sept. 25 shootout downtown that also wounded two other men; and Graylin Milligan, 27, shot Nov. 12 outside LJ's Soulfood Cafe on King Street.
Police are less certain about whether any witnesses exist in cases such as the Feb. 28, 2006, shooting death of Robert Magwood Jr., 27, a police officer's son, on upper King Street; or the Aug. 19 slaying of private-school teacher Clifton Harris Jr., 57, on The Battery.
Lowcountry law enforcement agencies are seeing similar levels of violence in 2007 compared with last year.
Charleston police had not identified suspects in three of the city's eight homicides as of late last week. North Charleston police had closed five of seven homicides. And the Charleston County Sheriff's Office, which cleared all five of its homicides last year, had closed three of four cases.
Fifteen Lowcountry killings from 2006 remain unsolved.
Seven of 23 homicide cases remain open:
Feb. 28: Robert Magwood Jr., 27, of Charleston. Magwood was gunned down near King and Congress streets about 5:40 a.m., just a few hundred feet from a temporary agency where he had been working. Police found about a dozen shell casings near his body.
July 16: Isaac Larone Jones, 20, of Charleston. Jones was shot several times at Line and Nassau streets. The ShotSpotter gunfire detection system alerted police to gunshots around 4 a.m. Jones' bicycle was lying nearby.
July 23: Pamela Fyall Washington, 43, of Charleston. Washington was found in Dereef Park off Morris Street, her head smashed and her throat cut.
Aug. 19: Clifton Harris Jr., 57, of West Ashley. Harris, a popular teacher at First Baptist Church School, was found shot to death inside his car at The Battery shortly after 3 a.m.
Sept. 18: Jameco Harley, 31, of Charleston. Harley was fatally shot while exiting a car outside a house he was visiting on President Street between 4:30 and 5 a.m.
Sept. 25: David Christopher Holmes, 26, of Charleston. Holmes died after the car he was driving was sprayed with bullets near Spring and Coming streets between 4:30 and 4:45 a.m. He crashed the car on the Crosstown Expressway. Two other men in the car were wounded.
Nov. 12: Graylin Milligan, 27, of Charleston. Milligan was shot to death outside LJ's Soulfood Cafe on King Street around 3 a.m. There were about 30 people inside the bar at the time.
Four of 29 homicide cases remain open:
Jan. 24: Gennaro Wine, 17, of North Charleston. Wine was shot and left to die in the middle of Chateau Avenue about 10 p.m. Wine's friends told detectives that he had been in an argument with someone earlier that night.
Aug. 6: Kerry Darnell Spencer, 34, of North Charleston. Spencer was shot around 10:30 p.m. after reportedly venturing into the Chicora-Cherokee neighborhood to buy drugs. He was shot during a struggle with two men on bicycles who had approached the car, reached in the windows and tried to rob him.
Sept. 16: Kodama Parks-Carter, 15, of North Charleston. Kodama was shot to death near his Barnwell Street home around 9:15 p.m. His brother told police he dragged him there after finding him wounded between two nearby trailers.
Nov. 7: Ricardo James Bailey, 20, of North Charleston. Bailey was gunned down and another man wounded during an apparent robbery attempt on Ranger Drive just after 3 a.m.
The Sheriff's Office has three unsolved cases from 14 homicides last year:
Jan. 22: Rodney Tobias Major Jr., 30, of Summerville. Major was sitting in his car with a woman in a vacant lot near North Rhett Avenue at 2 a.m. when someone rapped on the window. Major was shot after he stepped out of the car.
Sept. 7: Moses Williams, 44, and Marcus Vincent Irving, 26, of Cross. The two Jamaican men were gunned down at a mobile home in Cross around 9:30 p.m. by a gunman protected by body armor. The victims had been living under fictitious names.
One of two homicides sheriff's deputies worked last year remains unsolved:
May 6: Andre Tyrone Williams, 17, of North Charleston. Williams was shot to death just after midnight in front of an abandoned home in the Stratton Capers neighborhood off Ashley Phosphate Road. On the streets, Williams was known as "Puppy Toe."
TO SUBMIT TIPS
Call the agency investigating the case or submit a tip anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 554-1111 or www.5541111.com
--Charleston police, 577-7434
--North Charleston police, 554-5700
--Berkeley County Sheriff's Office, 843-719-4412
--Dorchester County Sheriff's Office, 843-873-5111.
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