Dead rapper’s associates charged – but not with murder

It’s still an unsolved killing, but so far four Lawrence residents have been charged with various crimes as the investigation unfolds into the shooting death of a Lawrence man found two months ago in a field along U.S. Highway 40.The assortment of charges- for gun violations and obstruction of justice -is evidence of the wide net the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office has cast while investigating death of Anthony J. Vital, a 28-year-old hip-hop artist known by the nickname “Clacc.” As of Monday, the office had followed about 125 leads.”The investigation is still active,” sheriff’s Lt. Kari Wempe said. “I can’t say that we have anyone specifically identified as a suspect.”The following people have been charged in relation to the case:¢ James N. Williams, 46, was charged Nov. 21 in Douglas County District Court with obstructing a sheriff’s officer “in the discharge of an official duty” related to a felony case. Williams, who was charged with dealing drugs earlier this year, is being held in the Douglas County Jail. The sheriff’s office wouldn’t comment on what it alleges he did to obstruct the investigation.¢ Carlos R. “Smurf” Green, 21, also an inmate at the jail, has been charged in Douglas County District Court with criminal possession of a firearm and explosives. According to court records, the date of the offense was Oct. 14, the day Vital’s wife told detectives she last saw her husband alive. Green is scheduled to enter a plea Tuesday morning.¢ Audrey Ferguson, 49, has been charged with obstruction of a felony case. She was booked into jail Nov. 28, was released on bond, and is due back in court Wednesday.District Attorney Charles Branson said he couldn’t talk in detail about why the three were charged and could say only that the charges came about during the investigation of Vital’s death.In addition to those defendants, Major C. Edwards Jr., 27, who was arrested in a hotel room in Mississippi a week after the death, is being held pending trial in U.S. District Court on gun violations. Police and sheriff’s investigators went looking for him after the shooting because Vital’s widow reported that her husband was going out on the town with Edwards the last time she saw him alive.When police and sheriff’s detectives searched Edwards’ home, they found evidence he had possessed two guns, despite having a felony conviction that barred him from owning a gun, according to court records.Read all articles about the Anthony Vital case– contributed by Eric Weslander