After nearly five months of waiting, the family of one of the two North Charleston mothers shot and killed on New Year's Day felt a little closer to peace.
"When we got the call, we cried tears of joy," said Kenya Royal, goddaughter to 52-year-old Janet Royal who was killed while inside her Niagara Street home.
Kenya Royal, of Charleston, was one of nearly a dozen family members who attended a bond hearing Friday morning in North Charleston for the man accused of killing Janet Royal.
Montreal Ford, 22, of Louise Drive who is charged with murder and possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime was denied bail. Magistrate judges can't set bond on murder charges.
Ford is one of two men charged in the New Year's Day shootings that resulted in the deaths of Royal, Debra Randall Martin, 49, and the wounding of his mother.
The shootings stemmed from a conflict between Ford and 25-year-old Jimmie Harris, who fought at a nightclub on New Year's Eve.
After Harris and Ford's fight at Club Crucial, Harris shot into Ford's home on Aintree Avenue at around 5 a.m., according to police. A bullet struck Ford's mother, Sabrina Green, 41, in the head.
In retaliation, Ford then shot into Harris' home on Niagara Street, according to the warrant. Harris' step-mother, Royal, was shot through the door and struck in her chest, abdomen and arm, according to police. She died from her injuries.
Green recovered from her injuries, police said.
Harris is also accused of shooting into a Ventura Avenue home, killing Martin. Police have not said why the third house was targeted.
Harris, of Dowling Road was charged with murder, attempted murder and possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime.
Both men had already been jailed on other shooting charges when North Charleston police announced Thursday they'd been charged in connection to the New Year's Day shootings.
Harris was recently transferred to the Georgetown County jail from Charlotte, where he's accused of getting into a shootout with police in March. Earlier this month, a federal judge ordered that he be held there until his trial in the June shooting and wounding of a witness in a Walterboro drug case.
Ford was previously being held in the Charleston County jail after being accused of a shooting at a North Charleston nightclub in March.
Ford and Harris were quickly identified as potential suspects, according to North Charleston police.
Investigators interviewed Ford on Jan. 4 when he denied any involvement and said he was at a home on Lenape Street when the shootings occurred, according to an affidavit.
Ford's cellphone records, however, showed investigators he was in the area of the shooting, the affidavit stated.
Ford was also spotted by another witness inside a white car seen circling around the Niagara Street home before the shooting, according to the affidavit.
Kenya Royal said she questioned whether the family would ever see anyone behind bars for her godmother's death.
"I didn't think we'd get this far," she said.
Royal's aunt, Mildred Shine, of Charleston who also attended Ford's bond hearing, said the loss of her niece has left a hole in her heart.
"It was horrible the way they killed my niece," she said. "I hope he never gets out. Never, because my niece, I can't see her anymore."
Reach Natalie Caula Hauff at 937-5594 or Twitter.com/ncaula.
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