North Charleston man charged with murder in Delano Street slaying

Antonio Odell McNeil

On April 29, the Rev. Paul Mitchell Sr. received the phone call that still haunts the retired pastor every day.

That night, his son, Paul Mitchell Jr., was slain while in the area of Delano Street and Austin Avenue. Charleston police said the 24-year-old Mitchell Jr. was knocked off his moped and shot in his face after passing a counterfeit bill during a marijuana purchase.

The Mitchell family said Friday they are leaning on their faith and hoping some closure will come about as result of the first murder charge made in the case. Antonio Odell McNeil, 19, of Pickup Miles Court in North Charleston, is charged by Charleston police with murder and use of a firearm during commission of a violent crime.

At a bond hearing today, Charleston County Magistrate Linda Lombard set bail at $50,000 on the weapons charge and told McNeil he will have to arrange a hearing in Circuit Court if he wants bail set on the murder charge.

In May, police arrested 21-year-old Kyser Montgomery, who lives near the crime scene, on a charge of obstruction of justice. Police said Montgomery concealed information about the fatal shooting.

According to warrants issued for McNeil, Mitchell Jr. rode up on his moped up to some men in the street about 5:30 p.m. in Charleston's "Neck" area, then rode off after passing a counterfeit bill in a marijuana purchase. After the sale, one of the dealers noticed the bill was phoney and yelled to others to stop him, the warrant states.

Montgomery then rode his moped into Mitchell Jr.'s path and caused him to crash, the warrant states.

According to the warrant, Mitchell was grabbed, and McNeil pulled a large caliber semi-automatic pistol from his waistband, put it within inches of Mitchell Jr.'s face and fired a shot that traveled through his head.

Police found a broken magazine clip and several .40-caliber rounds at the shooting scene, the warrant said.

Mitchell Sr. said he learned of the killing about 7:30 p.m., after police and paramedics had rushed to the scene.

Mitchell Sr., who is a former District of Columbia police officer now residing in North Charleston, came to the scene after a call from police. He said he can't get what he saw that night out of his mind.

"I went up there and saw all the blue lights and tape. I wasn't able to see my son, but what really put a lump in my throat was when I saw his moped crashed in the middle of the street," Mitchell Sr. said.

"The perpetrator had crashed his moped into my son's, and they were able to knock him off of it, and then they did what they did to him. I relive that every day in my mind, every minute of every day," he said.

Mitchell Jr. would have been 25 on Nov. 13, said his family after attending the bail hearing for McNeil. The birthday was a particularly hard day for the Mitchells, family members said after watching McNeil's bail hearing.

Mitchell Sr. said he's been impressed with the way Charleston police have handled the investigation, and he said they have conducted themselves in a very professional manner.

"As a former police officer myself, I know what it takes to resolve a case like this," he added.

He said police called him Thursday night to tell him of McNeil's arrest, and while he welcomed news that the alleged shooter was apprehended, "I had to relive April 29 all over again, and I had a sleepless night."

Mitchell Sr. said he has been offered counseling, but has not yet taken up the offer. According to his criminal record, McNeil has convictions for marijuana possession, loitering and multiple counts of burglary. In February, he was sentenced to five years in prison, suspended on two years of probation , and was arrested again in August for burglary and loitering.