Suspect in Two Murders Beaten in County Jail

Natrell McKinnis
Natrell McKinnis (the previous version of this story used an older booking photo)

The man charged in two separate murders – one committed while he was out on bond – was assaulted by two other inmates in the county detention center June 22.

Natrell McKinnis, 26, was transported to Columbus Regional after the 11 a.m. attack, according to the sheriff’s office.

A detention officer was called to the pod where McKinnis was held after two men allegedly struck McKinnis on the head and neck. He was taken to the staff nurse, who determined McKinnis needed further medical care. His condition was not immediately available.

The case was turned over to the investigative division.

Natrell McKinnis (CCSO photo)

McKinnis was out on bond for the 2019 shooting of Deondre Sadler when he allegedly shot and killed William Edwards “June Bug” Jr. in broad daylight at the Whiteville New and Used Tire store in April. He was scheduled to go on trial for Sadler’s death May 22, but that case was delayed after his defense attorney, Harold “Butch” Pope, withdrew due to a previously unknown conflict. Pope had asked the court for a change in venue due to extensive pretrial publicity.

McKinnis’ reported girlfriend, Destiny Kemp, remains jailed under $750,000 secured bond, charged as an accessory after the fact.

Why McKinnis was released on bond for a first degree murder charge has never been explained by the courts.

In the Sadler killing, his father Nathan allegedly helped McKinnis flee the scene at Sandy Ridge Apartments on July 30, 2019. McKinnis turned himself in Aug. 5, 2019.

He was originally held under no bond, according to court records. A motion for bond was filed on Sept. 24, 2020. It was heard by Judge Andrew Heath on Oct. 8, 2020, and bond was set at $250,000. The court records do not reflect why the bond was granted in a murder case.

On April 14, 2021, McKinnis was released on $250,000 secured bond. On March 2, the District Attorney’s Office filed a motion to revoke bond. He was being sought by law enforcement when he allegedly shot Edwards multiple times on April 3 in Whiteville. He was taken into custody by a SWAT team in a Whiteville home on April 23.

A motive has not been released in either case. Court officials did not confirm if Edwards was scheduled to testify against McKinnis in the upcoming trial.

About Jefferson Weaver 2168 Articles
Jefferson Weaver is the Managing Editor of Columbus County News and he can be reached at (910) 914-6056, (910) 632-4965, or by email at [email protected].