Crime & Courts

Judge refuses bond for Charlotte man accused in 4 killings

Police say they got help finding Emmanuel Rangel, who is accused of four killings, from an unusual source – his close friend and alleged accomplice.

First, Edward Sanchez left his wallet at one of the crime scenes, prosecutor Bill Bunting said Thursday. Then Sanchez’s father called Charlotte-Mecklenburg police to say his son and Rangel were responsible for a shooting death at a Matthews motel along with three other killings near uptown Charlotte that police did not know about because they were only a few hours old.

Bunting shared those details at a hearing to decide whether Rangel should be freed on bond. Superior Court Judge Bob Bell denied the request. More than two dozen cases surfaced Thursday, a procedural day set aside each month for homicide cases.

Rangel’s was perhaps the best known. He and Sanchez, both 20, both face four counts of first-degree murder in connection with what authorities say are separate drug- and robbery-related killings last year. Two of their accused accomplices, Emily Isaacs and David Lopez, whom Bunting said served as drivers, also face murder charges but are cooperating with authorities.

On Feb. 22, 2015, Rosool Jaleel Harrell, 22, of Charlotte, was found lying near his car outside the Microtel Inn in Matthews. He had been shot three times in the back. A companion in Harrell’s black Acura was wounded but survived.

Bunting said Rangel and Sanchez, with Isaacs at the wheel, had gone to the motel to buy Xanax from the pair. Sanchez was carrying a small gun when he climbed into Harrell’s car, the prosecutor said. An argument broke out. Isaacs has told police she heard gunfire. Rangel left the car to join Sanchez.

Harrell, according to the prosecutor, fell to the ground on the driver’s side of his car after being hit by Sanchez’s gunfire. Isaacs told police that Rangel picked up Harrell’s .45-caliber pistol and shot him several times.

Two days later, and after the phone call from Sanchez’s father, police discovered the bodies of Mirjana Puhar, 19, Jonathan Cosme Alvarado, 23, and Jusmar Isiah Gonzaga-Garcia, 21, at a home not far from uptown Charlotte.

According to Bunting, Rangel paid Lopez $300 to drive him and Sanchez to the house to rob it for drugs and money. When the trio arrived, Rangel went inside. After several minutes, he waved at Lopez to join him, Bunting said.

Inside the home, Lopez said he saw the body of Puhar, a former contestant in the TV show “America’s Next Top Model.” She had been shot twice. Alvarado was shot once through the back of the head. Gonzaga-Garcia had been hit eight times. After the hearing, several of Gonzaga-Garcia’s family members talked tearfully with Bunting outside the courtroom. “We’ll work hard,” the prosecutor told them.

Police found nine pairs of Air Jordans and a TV at the home of Rangel’s mother that authorities say were taken from the house.

Isaacs and Sanchez eventually were arrested in Texas. Police found the same .45-caliber handgun they say Rangel used at the hotel shooting, plus a Xanax drug vial prescribed to Puhar’s mother. Bunting said Sanchez denied any knowledge of the Charlotte shootings, but police found blood from one of the victims on his jeans.

After his arrest, Rangel became part of a national debate when Republicans in Congress complained he had received protective immigration status despite known ties to gangs.

Defense attorney Jean Lawson told Judge Bell that Rangel has grown up mostly in Charlotte, graduated from high school and had worked for Sanchez’s father. Rangel’s own mother has left North Carolina “for her protection,” Lawson said, adding that her client particularly wanted the judge to know that he had “no ties to any gangs whatsoever.”

Another case: Breakup, fight lead to fatal shooting

Moments before Shelton Kimble walked off into the darkness with his gun, authorities say a friend tried to stop him.

“Let’s get out of here,” Bernard Albert told him. “Leave that girl alone. She’s going to get you in trouble.”

Kimble didn’t listen, a prosecutor said Thursday. Instead, he walked down Beatties Ford Road beyond the reach of the parking lot lights. Within minutes, witnesses heard gunshots.

The first Charlotte homicide of 2016 unfolded along a familiar theme: two men and the same woman. Kimble, 47, once dated Sharon Martin. Tyrone Burch, 45, considered her his girlfriend, Assistant District Attorney Jay Ashendorf said at Kimble’s bond hearing.

On Jan. 3, the evening appeared to turn when Burch walked into Rudean’s bar on Beatties Ford Road and saw Kimble and Martin talking, Ashendorf said. Later that evening, Martin broke up with Burch. Burch, who had been drinking heavily, apparently held Kimble responsible.

Kimble’s defense attorney Rob Corbett said Burch sucker-punched his client as Kimble left the bar, then jumped on him again after the men were separated. Eventually, Burch walked off down the road.

Kimble went to his car, and came back with a gun, Ashendorf said. Ignoring his friend’s advice, Kimble walked after Burch – his attorney says he only wanted to learn why he had been attacked.

Burch’s body was found on the roadside. He had been shot five times. Ashendorf said Burch’s blood-alcohol level was found to be 0.14 to 0.16, almost twice the legal limit for driving.

Corbett said his client told him he opened fire when Burch made a movement that made Kimble think Burch was reaching for a weapon. Afterward, Kimble drove home and changed, and turned himself in.

Thursday, Kimble didn’t speak, though Corbett said his client wanted to apologize to Burch’s relatives for what had taken place. Several of Burch’s family members sobbed quietly through much of the hearing. One couple held hands and slowly rocked.

Michael Gordon: 704-358-5095, @MikeGordonOBS