Tensions boiled over during a bond hearing Tuesday as murder suspect Destil Cordew engaged in a shouting match with relatives of the man he’s accused of gunning down, insisting that the slain man would vouch for him if he were alive.
Cordew, 27, of Hawthorne Drive in North Charleston, is one of two men charged with the murder of 31-year-old Cedric James. He attempted to clear his name of any wrongdoing during the hearing, in which he appeared by video conference from Charleston County’s jail.
Cordew denied firing the gun that killed James at 7 p.m. Sunday near Dorchester and Dorsey roads and maintained that James was a close friend.
North Charleston police have not offered a motive in the case.
“I swear I ain’t did that,” Cordew said to James’ relatives. “You know that that’s my friend.”
James’ distraught family members cried out in anger at Cordew’s comments, questioning why the men’s friendship ended in tragedy. Magistrate Judge Linda Lombard threatened to clear the courtroom on several occasions.
“I don’t know what to say, but I’m hurt,” James’ mother said before the court. “Cedric is dead and he’s never coming back.”
Cordew interrupted the women to say that he too was hurting. He insisted that authorities arrested him based on hearsay.
“I ain’t get catched with no weapons or nothin’. I ain’t even in the area,” Cordew said. “The person who died, he could tell you.”
Cordew, 27, and Michael Ferguson, 27, are both charged with murder and attempted murder. Cordew is also charged with possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime in connection with the shooting. He received additional charges of possession with the intent to distribute cocaine base and unlawful conduct toward a child after authorities found drugs at the Outwood Drive home where Cordew was arrested.
Cordew and Ferguson stood side by side during the hearing. Ferguson was silent for most of the proceeding, speaking only when addressed by the judge.
Detectives in an arrest affidavit said Ferguson acted as a getaway driver while Cordew fired five shots, killing James and wounding another man in the arm.
Officers found James dead on Sunday near a dumpster behind TJ Barbershop on Dorchester Road. The wounded man was taken to Roper St. Francis hospital with injuries not considered life threatening.
While searching for Cordew at a Ladson home on Outwood Drive, authorities found 5.4 grams of a rock-like substance that tested positive for cocaine base, according to an arrest affidavit. A 10-year-old girl was also at the home, the affidavit stated.
Authorities charged the girl’s mother, Laquinta Smalls, 27, with possession of crack with intent to distribute and child endangerment. She’s being held in custody on a total $60,000 bail.
As a magistrate judge, Lombard cannot set bail on murder charges. So bail was denied for both Ferguson and Cordew on those charges until a circuit judge can consider setting it. Lombard set a $250,000 bail on the attempted murder charges and $100,000 for Cordew’s possession charge.
Reach Christina Elmore at 937-5908 or Twitter.com/celmorePC.