Two Danville men were arrested late Wednesday night on murder charges after a woman was shot to death just inside the front door to her South Danville apartment.
Melissa Jean Luna-White, 29, was shot about 3 p.m. in the doorway of her residence at 528 Longview Drive and died in flight while being airlifted to the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Danville Police Chief Tony Gray said.
After searching for two suspects for more than seven hours, Danville officers took Lamar M. Stallworth and David J. Harlan into custody without incident about 10:30 p.m. at a residence on McIntyre Circle, Gray said.
Stallworth, 27, was charged with murder, first-degree burglary and wanton endangerment, and Harlan, 23, was charged with complicity in those alleged crimes. Both men are being held without bond in the Boyle County Detention Center.
Luna-White was indicted for tampering with evidence in the death of Michael Begley Jr. 27, of Richmond, whose body was found alongside Taylor Road, strangled to death, in November.
Her husband, Jordan Montez White, 25, of 418 Adams St., Danville, is charged with reckless homicide in Begley’s death, and her sister, Gina Priest, is also charged with tampering with evidence in the case. White and Priest are awaiting trial in Boyle Circuit Court. White has been in the Boyle County Detention Center under a $10,000 bond since he was charged.
“We are not ready to make any connections to that case or with any other motive at this point,” Gray said Wednesday night. “We are still very early in the investigation.”
Gray said it was not immediately clear how many shots were fired or how many times Luna-White was struck. Witnesses reported hearing from two to five gunshots, but only one shell casing, from a semi-automatic pistol, had been recovered as of Wednesday night, Gray said.
Three witnesses who asked not to be identified for fear of reprisal said they saw the shooting unfold from their home.
According to the witnesses, two men got out of a small silver car with large, shiny hubcaps, approached the apartment and engaged in a conversation with a man inside. The two men then got back in their car and left, but returned within five minutes.
The two men approached the apartment a second time and got in to a physical altercation with the man on the front steps, the witnesses said. Luna-White appeared at the door and appeared to be trying to drag the man inside when one of the intruders pulled a pistol, turned it sideways, gangster style, and shot into the doorway, firing off four or five rounds, the witnesses said.
“It was kind of freaky seeing it happen right outside your window in the middle of the day,” one of the witnesses said.
Gray declined to comment on the witnesses’s account of the shooting other than to acknowledge there had been a fight at the front door that resulted in gunshots.
Gray said the man inside the apartment with Luna-White, who said he was her boyfriend, was not struck by any bullets and it was not immediately clear if he was the intended target of the gunfire. The man has not been charged and Gray declined to release his name.