BEAUFORT, SC (March 13, 2019) – A 27-year-old Yemassee resident who shot and killed a man without warning at a popular community gathering spot has been sent to prison.
Dontarious Wright was found guilty Wednesday of murder. The Beaufort County General Sessions Court jury also convicted Wright of possession of a weapon during commission of a violent crime. He is to spend 40 years in prison.
Wright shot and killed Adrian Lamont “Mont” Manigo, 40, during a neighborhood gathering Aug. 22, 2019, in Lobeco, a community in northern Beaufort County.
“Mont tried to be the bigger person on the day he was killed,” said Mary Jones of the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office, who prosecuted the case. “He tried to walk away. Sadly, being the bigger person on that day cost him his life.”
Jones called 20 witnesses during the two-day trial. Some testified that Wright had a history of animosity toward Manigo, once remarking that “if he keeps running his mouth, the next time I see him, I’m going to shoot him.”
Neighbors were gathering beneath a large oak in a yard on Leaping Frog Lane, a familiar hangout for nearby residents. When Manigo arrived, Wright, who was already there, was seen briefly stepping to the side of the gathering, muttering to himself. About 20 minutes later, Wright produced a 9 mm handgun and sat it in his lap. Manigo, who was nearby, asked what the gun was for; Wright replied, “it’s for you.”
Manigo turned to walk away, but Wright rose and fired three times, striking Manigo once in the arm and once in the right shoulder. The bullet pierced his lung, esophagus and two major blood vessels. Wright fled as onlookers called 9-1-1. Wright bled to death before emergency medical personnel and law enforcement could arrive.
Wright was apprehended by the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office later that evening near his home, hiding in a neighbor’s shed. Wright told investigators he thought Manigo had come to the gathering to kill him. However, witnesses testified that Manigo was related to the property owner and a frequent visitor.
Jones aruged during the trial that the incident met none of the legal requirements for self defense. No argument preceded the shooting. Mangio made no threat and was unarmed when he was gunned down.
The jury of nine men and three women deliberated for 42 minutes. Circuit Court Judge Perry Buckner sentenced Wright to 40 years for the murder and five for the gun charge. The sentences are to be served concurrently.
Wright has previous convictions for strong armed robbery, assault with intent to kill, and petit larceny.
Jones is a member of the Solicitor’s Office Career Criminal Unit, which prosecutes the circuit’s most violent and habitual offenders. The team has secured convictions against 323 of the 336 defendants it has prosecuted since its formation in late 2008.