Originally created 02/24/03

Party scuffle turns deadly



AIKEN - A party in Petticoat Junction turned deadly early Sunday after someone pulled a gun during a fight, authorities said.

An Aiken County man was shot to death in the resulting scuffle, and police have charged an Augusta man in the slaying.

Quinton Lamont Bates, 23, was arrested at a relative's home in Augusta several hours after the slaying of 19-year-old Darnell Nealious, of the 700 block of Drag Strip Road in Jackson, said Aiken County Sheriff's Capt. Michael Frank.

Police said the men were among 25 to 30 people who attended a party in the 100 block of Green Road, near Aiken.

Capt. Frank described what led to the shooting:

Between midnight and 12:30 a.m. Sunday, a fight broke out outside the party. Someone fired two shots from a handgun into the air. A second person was knocked to the ground. He got up, grabbed the gun and shot Mr. Nealious in the chest. He then left the party with an unidentified man.

With help from the Richmond County Sheriff's Office, Mr. Bates was found at the relative's home at 8 a.m. Sunday and was charged with murder and possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime.

Mr. Bates, of the 3500 block of Windham Mill Drive, is being held in the Richmond County jail pending extradition to Aiken County.

"The investigation is ongoing. Of course, investigators will be looking at what involvement the second individual had, if any," Capt. Frank said, referring to the man who left the party with the suspect after the shooting.

Authorities recovered a firearm in a wooded area near Green Road, Capt. Frank said.

Reach Greg Rickabaugh at (706) 828-3851 or greg.rickabaugh@augustachronicle.com.