WILKES-BARRE — Police have charged a Wilkes-Barre man with what they believe was a drug-related murder in Nanticoke.
Antoine William McNeal, 32, was taken into custody at 320 E. Northampton St. about noon Wednesday.
Wakeelah Nimat Moore lived at the East Northampton address where McNeal was located. Moore was arrested herself for hindering apprehension and drug offenses.
McNeal is accused of shooting 20-year-old Brandon Smith outside of a residence at 185 W. Church St. in Nanticoke on Jan. 18.
Smith, who died of multiple gunshot wounds, is believed to have known McNeal.
According to a criminal complaint:
Luzerne County 911 received a call around 2 a.m. Jan. 18 from Tina Letavish about the shooting. Smith was pronounced dead at 3 a.m. at Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center.
Letavish, the victim’s mother, told police Smith was texting on his flip phone on a couch near the front door when he went outside around 2 a.m. When he came back inside, he ran to the kitchen yelling “they shot me” before falling to the floor.
Investigators examining the phone found a text trail between Smith and an unknown number arranging what appeared to be a drug deal.
Police later met with Jacqulynn Moore, of South Hancock Street, Wilkes-Barre, who confirmed the unknown number belonged to her daughter, Wakeelah.
Wakeelah told police McNeal was her boyfriend and he was texting about receiving marijuana. She said she and McNeal drove to Nanticoke the night of the murder. Wakeelah, who was driving the car, parked on Fairchild Street. About two to three minutes later, McNeal told her “we gotta get out of here, they are shooting.”
Wakeelah said she owned a .38-caliber revolver, but misplaced the firearm.
Police determined Smith was actually shot inside Letavish’s white Chrysler Town and Country van.
U.S. Marshals, State Police, and Wilkes-Barre City police were seen going in and out of the East Northampton residence before bringing McNeal and Moore out in handcuffs.
Here’s what authorities said happened when they knocked on the door of Moore’s apartment late Wednesday morning:
Moore initially denied she knew where McNeal was.
But when officers told her there was an active warrant for him, she let them inside and they found McNeal hiding behind a bedroom door.
Officers also found six marijuana plants in the bedroom closet.
Moore later said McNeal called her Monday from a blocked number asking to come to her residence. He was there from 10 p.m. Monday until he was apprehended.
Moore also said the plants were hers but she was not selling marijuana.
Due to the homicide charge, McNeal was locked up with no bail at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility.
His preliminary hearing is set for 1 p.m. April 26.
Moore was sent to Luzerne’s lockup for lack of $75,000 bail. She has a preliminary hearing 9 a.m. April 27 in front of District Judge Thomas Malloy in Wilkes-Barre.
Court records show McNeal has a history of drug convictions.
In 2008, he was sentenced to 11 to 23 months for pleading guilty to a criminal conspiracy charge.
He received a 21- to 41-month state prison term in April 2015 on one count of delivery of heroin and two counts of providing false identification to law enforcement. He was paroled May 5, 2016, records show.
Reach Travis Kellar at 570-991-6389 or on Twitter @TLNews
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