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Jury hands down guilty verdict in Decatur ambush killing

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Dante L. Wade

Dante L. Wade

DECATUR — It took a Macon County Circuit Court jury 3½ hours to decide beyond any reasonable doubt that Dante L. Wade had “ambushed” his daughter’s boyfriend and shot the man to death. 

The jury came back with their guilty verdict on first degree murder at 5:02 p.m. Wednesday on the third day of the trial. Wade, 46, is now scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 7 for cutting 25-year-old Marcqui Apholone down with multiple gunshots on Nov. 9, 2018.

The fact a firearm was the instrument of murder enhances the sentencing range open to Judge Thomas Griffith and could see Wade sent to prison from 45 years to life. 

Apholone’s tearful mother, who had also been briefly called as a witness for the prosecution, had been allowed by Griffith to be present for the whole trial.

Prosecution evidence had described Apholone as the boyfriend of Wade’s daughter, Jasmine Wade, now 22. The boyfriend and girlfriend had gotten into an argument the day before the murder and Apholone had taken her keys after she had grabbed his cell phone and both refused to give the items back. Her fingers had been injured when the dispute turned physical. 

First Assistant Macon County State’s Attorney Nichole Kroncke said Wade had been waiting to “ambush” Apholone on the day he was killed, lurking nearby after his daughter had gone to her boyfriend’s home to confront him. She was angry after finding messages to other women on his phone and believed he was cheating on her, Kroncke said.  

She said Dante Wade’s assault started with a physical confrontation and then Wade had pulled a gun. The first shot almost severed Apholone’s left thumb as he held his hand up to defend himself. Kroncke said he was shot dead as he fled, and was shot in the back.  

“He runs for his life and is gunned down and left for dead,” she told the jury. 

Jasmine Wade is currently jailed because she refused to give evidence against her father. Defense attorney Caleb Brown had warned jurors they would hear from multiple witnesses with a record of lying to the police and he had tried to convince them the state’s case just wasn’t good enough to convict his client. 

“You will not hear a police officer testify that Dante was at the scene,” he added. “And you are not going to hear from any independent witness who looked at a photo lineup and said ‘I picked that guy out as the shooter.’”

Kroncke, who prosecuted the case with Assistant State's Attorney Mike Baggett, commented after the verdict. She said, "We are very grateful to the jury for their attention and their verdict; justice was brought to the Apholone family." 

But apparently not all the jurors were paying attention, however. One younger male juror, previously warned by the judge after he showed up late to court, was removed from the jury and replaced with an alternate Tuesday after falling asleep during the trial. 

Our previous stories ...


Mother sits in on trial of Decatur man accused of killing her son



Decatur man pleads not guilty to murdering daughter's boyfriend during dispute



44-year-old man arrested in shooting death of Marcqui Apholone


Mug shots from the Herald & Review 




Contact Tony Reid at (217) 421-7977. Follow him on Twitter: @TonyJReid


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