Summerville teen denied bond in murder case

By Nikki Gaskins

SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCIV) - He has not yet reached the legal age of adulthood, yet one Summerville teenager is already facing a murder charge.

Anthony Willis, 17, of Summerville is charged with the murder of 18-year-old Justin Smoot.

On Tuesday, Magistrate Judge Janice Simmons denied bond for Willis.

In court Tuesday, Smoot's mother had strong words for her son's accused killer.

"You're just a baby to me. I don't understand the extent as to why this came to be. You will always be in my prayers," she said.

Willie Bailey says his grandson was gunned down on Muir Court after accusing Willis of breaking into his mother's Summerville home.

"He was just asking him a question, just a normal question, and somehow he drew a gun," Bailey said.

The Dorchester County Sheriff's Office said Smoot was shot multiple times in the back and neck.

"He was just barely conscience. He was unable to communicate with us," Major John Garrison with the Dorchester County Sheriff's Office said.

While deputies won't confirm the motive for the shooting, they said both Willis and Smoot knew one another.

"There's been some bad blood between the two of them for a while," Garrison said.

Friends and family members of Smoot described him as full of life.

"Justin was a good person," said Smoot's girlfriend Taneisha Smallwood. "He always made you laughed. He always had a quick comeback. He was smart. He was funny."

Smallwood said she talked to her boyfriend at school just hours before his murder.

Deputies located Willis in the parking lot of Churchill Commons Apartments not long after the shooting.

"These youths now a days figure if you kill someone, you're back on the streets. And that has to be changed," said Bailey.

Willis was initially charged with simple possession of marijuana. Deputies said they're not currently looking for other suspects.