Deputies seek man accused of Volusia Co. murder

Man faces charges of 2nd-degree murder, possession of gun by convicted felon

Published On: Feb 07 2014 04:39:00 PM EST   Updated On: Feb 08 2014 05:08:14 PM EST
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -

Authorities are asking for the public's help in finding a 46-year-old man identified by deputies as the trigger man in a fatal shooting in October in the parking lot of a bottle club near Daytona Beach.

Investigators said 46-year-old Darrell Willis faces charges of second-degree murder and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

The shooting occurred just before 5 a.m. Oct. 5 as customers were filing out of Papi's Bottle Club on North Nova Road.

Witnesses reported to deputies that an altercation first broke out inside the club. The argument spilled out into the parking lot and that's when deputies said the shooting occurred, claiming the life of 28-year-old Jeriell Lesane.

Based on the investigation by the Volusia County Sheriff's Office's Major Case Unit, Lesane isn't believed to have been the target of the shooting. Investigators said he wasn't involved in the initial altercation and they haven't been able to confirm that he had even gone inside the club.

Willis, however, was inside Papi's with a group of friends and relatives, some of whom got tangled up in the initial altercation, according to the Sheriff's Office.

One of Willis' friends told investigators that a stranger had kicked and punched his Dodge Charger while in the parking lot. Deputies said surveillance video outside of the club captured images of Willis walking to his friend's Charger with a gun in his hand and talking to those inside the car.

Willis then walked to the front of the Charger, raised his right hand and fired the gun in a northerly direction, striking Lesane, deputies said.

Lesane was taken to Halifax Health Medical Center in Daytona Beach, where deputies said he died 14 hours later.

Sheriff's investigators obtained the arrest warrant on Tuesday, but said they have been unable to find Willis. Deputies said his home address is in Elkton, which is in St. Johns County and to the southwest of St. Augustine.

In October, when the shooting took place, deputies said Willis had long hair in a dreadlock style, but investigators believe Willis may have changed his appearance and cut his hair to help elude capture.

Anyone with information about Willis' whereabouts is asked to call the Volusia County Sheriff's Office or Crime Stoppers of Northeast Florida at 888-277-TIPS, or text a tip to Crime Stoppers by texting "TIP231 plus your message" to CRIMES. Deputies said those who provide information to Crime Stoppers will remain anonymous and can qualify for a reward of up to $1,000.