FAYETTEVILLE, WV (WOAY) – It was day one of a jury trial in Fayette County against one of three men accused of a 2014 murder.
Quantel Saunders of Beckley is one of three men facing charges for a murder that occurred on November 2, 2014, in Oak Hill. According to court documents, Franklin Borders was allegedly shot in his living room and later died at Plateau Medical Center due to his injuries. Sabrina Gray told Oak Hill Police that she and Borders were in the living room when two armed men forced entry into her residence, robbed her, and shot Borders. Police say that Gray’s statement was inconsistent with what they witnessed. They observed the residence was in immaculate condition and appeared that nothing was out of place. They observed her purse was lying on a kitchen table chair and Borders was found to have money on him. Text messages were sent from Ms. Gray’s cellphone to Border’s phone, but she deleted them. When police confronted Ms. Gray with the contradictory information, police said she refused to cooperate.
A witness nearby observed a silver Dodge Neon exiting Broadway Avenue onto WV Route 16, traveling at a high rate of speed. Police discovered text messages from Ms. Gray’s phone that lead them to believe she was involved in the sale and/or delivery of illicit drugs.
A Hooter’s receipt was found near the crime scene, bearing the name of Joseph Lawson. Lawson told police he was at the crime scene during the murder of Mr. Borders. Lawson stated that he purchased marijuana from Borders, later he redacted that statement and said he never had direct contact with him. Lawson did acknowledge he fled the scene but stated it was because his girlfriend was texting him. Corte LAwson and Quantel Saunders were both interviewed and acknowledged that they were with Mr. Lawson on the evening of November 2. Corte Lawson stated he purchased pills from Joseph Lawson and this was the reason for his interaction with him. Quantel Saunders stated that he rode from Beckley to Oak Hill with Joseph Lawson to sell pills to Corte Lawson.
A cooperating individual told police she was nearby the crime scene when she heard gunshots coming from Ms. Gray’s residence. She observed two black males running from the home, and recognized them as being Corte Lawson and Quantel Saunders. They both entered an awaiting vehicle and fled the scene. She also recognized the getaway vehicle. The witness told police she was afraid to come forward with this information at this time because she was in fear of retaliation.
Quantel Saunders, Corte Lawson, and Joseph Lawson were all charged with murder. Corte and Joseph have not had a trial yet.
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