Black Charged With Raping and Strangling 7-Year-Old to Death

January 11, 2014

Donald Preston Ferguson has been arrested for the rape and strangling to death of seven year old Shalonda S. Poole.

An Upstate man was arrested and charged with killing a 7-year-old in 1990, according to Greensboro police.

Donald Preston Ferguson, 52, of Spartanburg, was taken into custody without incident by U.S. marshals and charged with first-degree murder and first-degree sex offense in connection with the July 1990 death of Shalonda S. Poole, said police.

According to police, Ferguson was arrested after advances in forensic technology and investigative persistence linked him to the 23-year-old murder.

“We never stopped looking for the person responsible for the crimes against Shalonda,” said Capt. Mike Richey, commander of the Greensboro Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Division.

Over the years, the Poole case had been assigned to different detectives, each having some advances and setbacks in solving the crime, said police.

According to police, in 2007, Detective A.R. Hinson began reviewing the case file, developing additional leads, identifying and later eliminating potential subjects, until information obtained from an interview eventually lead him to Ferguson. Ferguson, who was 29 when Shalonda went missing from her family’s Hampton Homes residence on July 21, 1990, worked occasionally in the area.

Shalonda’s body was found with signs of sexual assault and strangulation the next day in a wooded area behind Jones Elementary School, said police.

According to police, Ferguson left the Greensboro area in August 1990. In October of that year, he was charged and convicted of a sexual assault in Spartanburg. He was released from the South Carolina Department of Corrections in 1997 and was on active probation until his arrest.

Ferguson was taken into custody at his home on Carson Avenue. He is confined in the Spartanburg County Jail awaiting extradition to Greensboro.  His extradition date will be determined by the Department of Corrections.

Anyone with more information about this case is encouraged to call Hinson at 336-574-4004.