Tuesday, 07 August 2018 20:56

Celestine declares innocence upon return to county

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Bryant, front, leads Celestine for booking as Clark observes from behind. Bryant, front, leads Celestine for booking as Clark observes from behind. rrspin.com

Claude Luther Celestine proclaimed his innocence as he was escorted to the Halifax County Sheriff’s Office for processing in a murder last month on Grant Drive.

Asked if he had anything to say he simply said “innocent” as detectives S.A. Bryant and Travis Clark took him inside. Asked to expound, he said, “I didn’t do it.”

Celestine was brought back this evening from DeKalb County, Georgia, where he fled to following the shooting death of an associate, Daquinn Blount, the morning of July 16 on Grant Drive outside Roanoke Rapids.

Another associate, Donovan Gonsalves, remains at large and is believed to be in Georgia, Sheriff Wes Tripp said this evening.

Asked for comment on Celestine’s proclamation of innocence, Tripp said, “As we all know, everyone is innocent until proven guilty.:”

Celestine had waived extradition to North Carolina after he was caught in Georgia last week by the sheriff’s office there and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation Fugitive and Missing Person Task Force.

Celestine was being booked in Blount’s murder this evening and no bond information was immediately available.

Prior to the murder warrant being lodged, he had been charged with obstruction of justice and drug charges.

Marc Anthony Solomon-Cartagena, who lived at the Grant Drive residence where Blount was shot and killed and Gonsalves was injured, had posted bond for Celestine’s release on the obstruction charge while a bondsman posted his bail on drug charges.

Tripp has previously confirmed not only did all four men know each other but evidence shows there was a dispute between Blount and Gonsalves.

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