Solicitor: 'Factual and legal issues' prevents murder case from going to trial

FAIRFIELD COUNTY, SC (WIS) - The 6th Circuit Solicitor's Office told WIS Thursday "factual and legal issues" have prevented a 2006 homicide case from going to trial.

One of the suspects in the case, 31-year-old Nathaniel Antron Hunter was arrested earlier this month in a violent home invasion, accused of trying to rape a West Columbia woman and her 6-year-old daughter.

Hunter is currently facing multiple counts of kidnapping, attempted murder, armed robbery and criminal sexual conduct.

After Hunter was booked in the Lexington County Detention Center, WIS learned Hunter's criminal record also included allegations he was involved in the killing of one of two men in Fairfield County in late December 2006. Hunter was arrested in connection with the homicide in 2007.

Fairfield County investigators said Hunter had a role in the incident that led to the fatal shooting of 35-year-old Carlon Castillo. Christopher Fuller, 22, was also killed but no one has been charged in his death.

Both were killed in an apparent robbery at a mobile home in a wooded area of Ridgeway.

"He didn't deserve to die," said Mary Fuller, Christopher's mother.

More than seven years after Mary's son was shot to death in the woods near Ridgeway, the case of one of the suspects, Nate Hunter appears nowhere near going to trial.

"He ain't got no heart," Fuller said.

She wants punishment for anyone responsible for her son's death.

Fairfield County Chief Deputy Keith Lewis said the murder case against Hunter has been tough to assemble.

"We feel good about the case," Lewis said. "We think we got the proper people charged. Our policy is we don't like talking about a case that's been indicted because it could affect trial procedures. This case is a case that has a lot of circumstantial evidence and not much eyewitnesses."

In a statement, Sixth Circuit Solicitor Doug Barfield cites what he calls "factual and legal issues" preventing him from calling the case to trial but his office has been trying to reach a resolution of the charges against Hunter.

Hunter's public defender meanwhile said his client continues to claim innocence in the Ridgeway killings, but is ready to go to trial when the solicitor decides to do so.

But Lifsey said "cases get old for a reason."

The sheriff's department says other things contributed to the way events played out since the killings of Fuller and Castillo.

One includes the low bond set for Hunter, allowing him to get out of jail by posting $5,000, max.

That put Hunter back on the streets to commit additional crimes, among them assault and indecent exposure.

Lewis said the case backlog that has existed for years in Fairfield County also interfered with further prosecution.

In fact, the county just handled a case dating back to 2008.

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