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Columbia man charged with murder over debt


A Columbia man has been charged with killing a 21-year-old neighbor over a $50 drug debt.

Dwayne Romaine Briggs, of the 7200 block of Edenbrook Drive, was charged Tuesday with the first-degree murder of Lawrence Rico Evans III, who was shot once in the chest as he was leaving his girlfriend's house June 9.

The suspect worked as a maintenance man at the Beeches Farm Development apartment complex, where both men lived, and had split a $100 cocaine deal with Evans, according to charging documents.

Briggs followed and threatened Evans after he failed to pay $50 for his share of buying 1 ounce of cocaine, according to charging documents.

Briggs, 32, was also charged with committing a felony with a handgun and battery. He is being held without bond at the county detention center in Jessup.

Police conducted a search of Briggs' home after a series of interviews with neighbors and relatives.

Police discovered a bullet in a pants pocket that matched the one that killed Evans, police said. They also found Briggs' business card in Evans' bedroom.

The gun was not found, according to charging documents.

Police said witnesses saw a man walking a cocker spaniel near the place where Evans was shot and then saw a man running in the direction of Briggs' house after shots rang out.

Evans' relatives told police that Evans had called them and asked to borrow money, saying he was afraid something bad was going to happen to him.

Evans' mother told police her son had been a good friend of Briggs, but the two had a falling out. According to police, his mother offered Briggs money to settle the debt two days before the shooting, but Briggs refused, saying she should not have to pay her son's debt.

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