With the broken blade of a knife lodged in his chest, a 49-year-old man lay dying Friday night outside a North Charleston mobile home.
People in Dorchester Waylyn, a community notorious for its violent past, called for help, but they found no signs of life in Joseph Edwin Brown, a resident of nearby Ranger Drive.
“Lord have mercy,” a man told a 911 dispatcher. “Another one gone.”
Brown had been stabbed twice outside 3737 Dorchester Road, across the street from Burns Elementary School. He became the 15th person to be slain in North Charleston this year.
Inside the home, North Charleston police later found and arrested Robert A. Prince Jr., 48, of Suzanne Drive, on charges of murder and possession of a knife in a violent crime.
Brown and Prince knew each other, but an incident report did not specify their relationship. Both men had past convictions for drug possession and felony assault. Public drunkenness charges dominated Brown’s arrest history, while Prince was out on bail on a drug charge at the time of the slaying.
Attempts to reach their families Monday were not successful.
About 8 p.m. Friday Brown and Prince became involved in an altercation, police said. Prince had been drinking, they said; whether Brown was intoxicated wasn’t known. Documents gave no further details about their dispute.
At some point, an arrest affidavit stated, Prince “abruptly without cause” walked up to Brown and stabbed him in the chest.
Two people called 911.
A woman told a dispatcher that she was watching television inside her home when she heard screams. She looked out and saw Brown lying motionless on the ground. People tried to feel for his pulse.
“There ain’t no pulse,” the woman said. “They’re trying to wake him up, but it’s not happening.”
As others tended to Brown, Prince ran away, police said, but Prince’s nephew later brought him back to the scene.
Inside the home, where relatives of Prince live, officers found the knife’s handle. Prince was sitting on a couch. The back of his white T-shirt appeared to be soaked in blood, police noted.
“Prince stated that it was not blood, but was Kool-Aid,” Officer Kashaun Bailey said in the report. “Prince then took the shirt off and dropped it on the floor.”
Before officers handcuffed him, Prince kicked the shirt under the couch in an attempt to hide it, police said.
The blood on the clothing had been flowing from a small cut on the back of Prince’s head. He was treated for the wound at Medical University Hospital, then jailed early Saturday. In a booking photograph, a white bandage is wrapped around the bearded man’s head.
A witness later gave a recorded statement about Prince’s role in the slaying. He was denied bail during a hearing Saturday.
Brown and Prince had arrest histories dating to the mid-1980s, according to the State Law Enforcement Division.
Since 1984, two dozen arrests resulted in convictions for Brown.
He had been convicted 10 times on alcohol-related offenses and three times for disorderly conduct. He also had convictions for possessing marijuana, heroin and cocaine.
His rap sheet showed three convictions for lying to police. He had used a dozen aliases in his lifetime, including Steven Goldfish and Pepper Johnson, according to SLED.
Both men had convictions for assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature. Brown spent time at Lieber Correctional Institution, but Prince was given probation for his conviction.
Arrests for Prince started mounting up in 1985, and about 17 of them resulted in convictions. Most were for trespassing; others included housebreaking, shoplifting and marijuana possession.
Before the slaying Friday night, Prince’s last arrest came in August 2012, when a magistrate granted his release on personal recognizance on a charge of possessing a controlled substance with the intent to distribute it. That case has not been resolved.
Reach Andrew Knapp at 937-5414 or twitter.com/offlede.