Attorney files motion to exclude weapon tied to 2015 slaying

Becky Campbell • Updated Mar 14, 2019 at 10:09 PM

The defense attorney for a Massachusetts man charged in a 2015 fatal shooting filed a motion to keep evidence — specifically a weapon authorities say was used in the killing and which was found in the defendant’s car — from being introduced to a jury if the case goes to trial.

Christopher Horton, 32, of Massachusetts, is one of two men accused of killing Perry Folk, also known as Troy Nelson Jr. and Twink, who was also from Massachusetts but living in Johnson City when he died Feb. 18, 2015, in the parking lot of a convenience store. 

The shooting happened in the parking lot of the Roadrunner at 1908 E. Unaka Ave. around 10:15 p.m. that day. Witnesses reported hearing shots fired and said a vehicle sped away, with Folk bleeding on the pavement.

Investigators at the time said Anthony Hardaway, 36, also from Massachusetts, was driving the car but was not the person who shot Folk.

Horton was the man investigators say fired the weapon. He was indicted by presentment in September 2015 on charges of first-degree murder related to Folk’s death as well as especially aggravated robbery in a separate incident that happened two weeks before the shooting. According to a Johnson City Police Department incident report, that assault happened on East Walnut Street on Jan. 29, 2015.

The investigation led police to Massachusetts, where Hardaway was found and arrested. Police there stopped a vehicle for an unrelated reason, but information obtained during that traffic stop led them to Hardaway.

It took approximately four months for the extradition process to be completed and have Hardaway returned to Tennessee to face the murder charge. In the meantime, he was indicted by a grand jury on a single count of felony murder.

“The evidence showed that Mr. Hardaway was not the shooter. He was driving the vehicle at the time of the shooting,“ McArdle said at the man’s plea hearing in 2016. As Hardaway fled the scene, he ran over Folk, but apparently told police he didn’t mean to and was just trying to get out of the area.

Hardaway pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit felony murder. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison, but will be eligible for release on parole after serving 30 percent.

Horton’s attorney, Gene Scott, filed a motion Thursday asking a judge to exclude the weapon, a Lorcin model L380 semi-automatic pistol, that was found during a traffic stop in Massachusetts on Feb. 24, 2015.

In his motion, Scott included the affidavit filed by the Massachusetts officer who pulled over a vehicle Horton was a passenger in which detailed the traffic stop that led to the discovery of the handgun, which was linked to Folk’s death. Scott’s motion stated the search conducted violated Horton’s Fourth Amendment rights and that police had no “reasonable suspicion” to detain Horton.

The motion also stated the weapon was not in plain view. It was apparently found inside a bag in the back floorboard of the car, which is where the officer said Horton had been moving around prior to the traffic stop.

A motion hearing in the case is set for March 22.

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