Jury convicts man in 2017 killing of Liberian store owner in north Charlotte

Nearly six years after a Liberian immigrant was fatally shot inside the north Charlotte store he owned, a Mecklenburg jury on Friday returned a guilty verdict against one of the men responsible for his death.

Shalome Scott, 28, was found guilty of first-degree murder in the killing of Massaquoi Kotay, as well as illegal possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Superior Court Judge Matt J. Osman, who presided over the trial, sentenced Scott to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Shalome Scott (Image via Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office)

Kotay, 45, was owner of the Mina African Market on North Tryon Street near Sugar Creek Road. According to the Charlotte Observer, the store sold imported African food “and had become a popular gathering place for the city’s Liberian community.”

Kotay was working there on Jan. 12, 2017, when two men entered the store together. Surveillance video later showed the same two men running from the store, also together, one of them carrying an open container of beer.

Prosecutors alleged that it was Scott who shot Kotay. The motive, prosecutors said, was robbery.

Kotay died as he ran to a neighboring store for help.

Six months after the killing, the second suspect, Desmond Black, pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon. In exchange for that guilty plea, prosecutors agreed to drop the more serious charges of murder and robbery that Black previously had faced.

Black was sentenced to serve 30 months of probation, wear an ankle monitor for six months, and was required to earn a GED before the close of 2018.

He was freed from the Mecklenburg jail the day after his sentence was handed down, according to the Observer.

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