- Associated Press - Monday, February 10, 2020

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - A man accused of killing a newspaper delivery man in North Carolina was convicted of first-degree murder Monday.

The jury found Roger Timothy Best guilty in the death of Walter “Wes” Edwin Scott Jr., who was killed as he delivered The Charlotte Observer in the early morning hours of Feb. 15, 2017.

Prosecutors in the Mecklenburg County District Attorney’s Office said Scott left his truck running while he stopped at a convenience store to collect old papers and drop off that day’s edition. As he returned to his truck, Best and an unknown accomplice tried to rob him. Prosecutors said Best fired a handgun 12 times, hitting Scott multiple times.

Scott, who was a volunteer South Carolina constable, was able to pull out his own gun and fire once, hitting Best in the abdomen.

Scott collapsed and died at the scene. Prosecutors said Best’s accomplice fled. Best ran from the scene, but was captured on surveillance footage dropping the gun into a nearby bush. Prosecutors said he flagged down police officers a few blocks from the murder scene and sought help for his gunshot wound.

Investigators quickly located the gun and a glove Best had discarded in a recycling bin. Best’s DNA was found on both items.

During closing arguments at the trial, Best’s attorney suggested that police found Best and stopped looking for Scott’s real killer.

In addition to first-degree murder, the jury also convicted Best of attempted robbery with a dangerous weapon and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Superior Court Judge Louis A. Trosch Jr. sentenced Best to life in prison without the possibility of parole, as well as an additional 101-146 months in prison.

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