Crime

Court documents: Police find alleged killer through phone records

Man accused of shooting Deonte Gainwell

Phone records lead police to suspected killer

COLUMBIA, Mo. - Court documents filed Friday revealed Deonte Gainwell was shot and killed during a drug deal in January.

Laron Nesbitt, 24, was accused in Gainwell's death. Gainwell was found dead from gunshot wounds early Jan. 17 in the 3700 block of Weymeyer Drive. When officers arrived at the scene, they found Gainwell on the street, and one of his legs was still extending into his vehicle through the driver's door, court documents said.

Investigators were able to trace the killing back to Nesbitt through phone records. Authorities searched Gainwell's phone and found that there was a text conversation between Gainwell and another person arranging a drug deal at the location of the shooting, court documents said. Gainwell told the person he was about to arrive at the location 10 minutes before 911 calls began. Police also found a "large quantity" of Xanax pills in Gainwell's car.

Investigators found that the phone number Gainwell was texting before he was shot was near the crime scene at the time of the shooting, according to court documents. In addition, the same phone number had made a call to an inmate in the Missouri Department of Corrections days before the shooting. In that conversation, the inmate referred to the caller as "Foot." Police said Nesbitt had a moniker of "Football" and was sometimes referred to as "Foot."

Nesbitt was arrested on Feb. 8 on unrelated charges. Nesbitt admitted to another person that he killed "FatMac," which was Gainwell's moniker, according to court documents. Nesbitt told the person he killed "FatMac" because he was speaking bad about a close friend, court documents said.

Gainwell had shot and killed community activist Ahmonta Harris in November, but the Boone County prosecutor and the Boone County Sheriff's Department determined the killing was justified, saying Harris had broken into Gainwell's house to commit a robbery.

Nesbitt is in the Boone County jail on a $1 million cash only bond. He's charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action. He also faces charges of unlawful gun possession in a separate case tied to the death of Dominick Roland, who was found in a crashed car with a gunshot wound on Rangeline Street early Jan. 26. Roland was being taken to a hospital in a private vehicle when the crash happened.

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