A 20-year-old Winston-Salem man was convicted Wednesday on charges that he concealed the death of another man who fatally shot himself while playing Russian roulette in a stolen car.
Kei-Vaunaugh Cearon Sanders of Locus Street pleaded guilty in Forsyth Superior Court to attempted concealment of a death, possession of a firearm by a felon, two counts of possession of a stolen motor vehicle and several other charges.
Judge David Hall of Forsyth Superior Court consolidated the charges and sentenced Sanders to a minimum of two years and a maximum of three years and five months in prison.
Sanders was initially charged with concealment of a death. The charge was connected to the death of Kalil Nathanial Rice, 19. Rice was found dead from an apparent gunshot wound shortly after 2 a.m. on July 13, 2020, in an abandoned Kia Sorento in the 1800 block of Gray Avenue.
According to search warrants, Sanders told Winston-Salem police investigators that he had been driving the stolen Kia Sorento in the area of Academy Avenue and Anson Street when Rice, who was in the back seat, shot himself. In the front passenger seat with Sanders was James Michael King Jr., who was accused of stealing two vehicles from Parkway Ford of Winston-Salem on July 1, 2020. King was also accused of stealing the Kia Sorento from Bob King Kia of Winston-Salem on July 10, 2020. King was later convicted on those charges.
Sanders told police that he did not call 911 and that he and King parked the car at a dead-end street, the search warrants said. He then took the firearm that Rice used to shoot himself. That gun was later found at a vacant apartment, where police arrested Sanders.
The search warrants said that Rice died from a gunshot wound to the right side of his head.
King told Winston-Salem police investigators that Rice wanted to play Russian roulette with a gun, which was stolen, according to the search warrants. He told investigators that he wanted to take Rice to a hospital but couldn’t call 911 because his phone had run out of power.
William Speaks, Sanders’ attorney, said Sanders had no idea that Rice would try to shoot himself and he had no intention of trying to hide the body.
“He just panicked and ran,” Speaks said.