LAURINBURG — A Laurinburg man charged with the murder of a Maxton man received a reduced sentence in Monday’s session of Scotland County Superior Court.
Carlton Primus, 24, was sentenced to at least 12 more years of imprisonment after pleading guilty to second-degree murder in the death of 31-year-old Chris McKoy.
Primus has been in custody since September 2009, days after McKoy’s body was found on Rockingham Road near Laurel Hill. Medical reports concluded that McKoy had suffered seven bullet wounds to the head, neck, abdomen, hands, left arm and leg.
Primus pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder, but after the District Attorney’s Office offered a plea bargain, Primus entered a guilty plea on Monday to second-degree murder and armed robbery. As part of the bargain, charges for conspiracy to commit murder, conspiracy to commit armed robbery and possession of stolen goods were dropped.
Patrick Murphy, 34, and Quatrell Nicholson, 22, both of Laurinburg, have also been charged in McKoy’s killing and are awaiting trial.
Following a home invasion in Robeson County on Sept. 2, 2009, McKoy fled to the Jameson Inn in Laurinburg, remaining there until Sept. 5, when he asked Nicholson to retrieve a .45-caliber pistol from a relative, Assistant District Attorney Michael Parker said during the hearing. Nicholson and Primus were given the weapon at McKoy’s home, which they delivered to McKoy at the motel.
McKoy’s body was found the next morning, two miles from Primus’ home. The bullets retrieved from his body were determined to have been fired by the same firearm, either a .38 or .357 Magnum.
Primus was arrested by the Scotland County Sheriff’s Office on Sept. 15 and charged with robbery with a dangerous weapon for involvement in the robbery of a Family Dollar store in Robeson County. When he was searched, officers found a .45-caliber handgun, identified by McKoy’s family member as the gun given to Primus and Nicholson.
“When the defendant Primus was interviewed that day concerning his knowledge of the crime, he denied even knowing the victim,” said Parker. “Later, he did admit knowing the victim and claimed that he had found the .45- caliber pistol on railroad tracks.”
A witness interviewed by Scotland County authorities reported that he witnessed Primus handling a .45 caliber pistol and a .357 Magnum at his home within days of McKoy’s death, using gloves when holding the weapons.
“He described those weapons and he also said that in the bag was a Jesus medallion,” Parker said. “When police questioned the victim’s family, they learned that the victim was known to wear this medallion, but it was not found on his body. … The murder weapon for Mr. McKoy has never been found; the state has reason to believe that it probably was the .357 that was in the bag.”
Parker read a letter written by McKoy’s aunt April McKoy, which read “Chris was a wonderful, loving, and caring person. He loved life and he loved to make you laugh.”
Primus’ plea was accepted by Judge Richard T. Brown, who finalized a sentence of 15 to 19 years with credit for Primus’ pre-trial confinement.