A Mississippi grand jury on Wednesday indicted Byron McBride, 19, on charges of capital murder and possession of a stolen car in the May 18 slaying of 6-year-old Kingston Frazier, WJTV-TV reports.
As The Root previously reported, on May 18, Ebony Archie, Kingston’s mother, left her Toyota Camry running with Kingston inside while she briefly went inside the Kroger grocery store located at 4910 Interstate 55 North in Jackson, Miss.
Three teenagers—later identified as McBride; Dwan Diondro Wakefield, then 17; and D’Allen Washington, then 17—pulled up beside Archie’s car in a Honda Civic Coupe. Investigators have determined that McBride exited the vehicle, jumped into Archie’s car, then sped off with Kingston in the back seat.
The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation issued an Amber Alert, and a frantic statewide search—carried out by community members and multiple state agencies—ensued. After hours of searching, local news stations and some family members announced that Kingston had been found alive, but they were wrong.
News began to spread that Kingston had been discovered dead inside the stolen vehicle about 15 miles away from the Kroger parking lot where he had been abducted. He had been shot multiple times.
The details were initially hazy, but as the case developed, it was found that “investigators don’t believe Washington or Wakefield was present when the child was killed, citing cellphone records, surveillance video and gunshot residue tests,” the Seattle Times reports. However, Madison County District Attorney Michael Guest said evidence showed that the two teens picked up McBride after the shooting, which warranted accessory charges.
Though the grand jury found probable cause, it did not indict Wakefield on charges of accessory after the fact to murder, kidnapping and motor vehicle theft because Wakefield was 17 years old at the time the crime was committed and had no previous record. The jurisdiction for his case is Madison County’s Youth Court, but grand jurors have asked that the youth court send Wakefield back to be tried as an adult.
Washington, who was also 17 at the time the crime was committed, was indicted on charges of accessory after the fact to murder, kidnapping and motor vehicle theft. Grand jurors returned the indictment in Washington’s case because he had previously been indicted for armed robbery in an unrelated case.
As The Root previously reported, Wakefield and Washington will not face the death penalty because the U.S. Supreme Court decided in March 2005 that the death penalty for people under 18 years of age was “cruel and unusual punishment.” The teens do face the maximum sentence of 45 years.
Washington’s attorney, Warren L. Martin Jr., released this statement about the case:
We understand that the Madison County grand jury returned an indictment against my client, D’Allen Washington, for accessory after the fact. While we await the discovery, here are some facts we know. On the night in question, Mr. Washington did not own a cellphone. Also, on the night in question, Mr. Washington did not drive the vehicle to Madison County. Lastly, when he became a person of interest, Mr. Washington voluntarily turned himself in to the Hinds County Sheriff’s Department. We are eager to review the evidence the state will present to plan to mount a vigorous defense. Like so many, we mourn the loss of Kingston Frazier, and have refused to use this case as a media spectacle. Mr. Washington and his family have been mostly silent during this tragedy out of respect for the Archie and Frazier families. However, we only want to see those responsible held accountable for this tragic event.
Kingston was supposed to graduate from kindergarten to move on to first grade on May 18, 2017; instead, he was kidnapped and killed before the early-morning school bell rang. At Kingston’s funeral, Archie said her son had been so excited about the graduation and was ready to be a first-grader.
“It was the happiest day of his life,” Archie said.
According to Guest, it could be two years before McBride goes to trial, but he’s hoping for trial dates this summer. Guest will consult with Kingston Frazier’s family before seeking the death penalty.