Suspects charged in two Hartford murders face judge - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Suspects charged in two Hartford murders face judge

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Damond Bester (left) and Kyrone Gardner (right) were arrested in connection to two separate homicides in Hartford (Hartford PD) Damond Bester (left) and Kyrone Gardner (right) were arrested in connection to two separate homicides in Hartford (Hartford PD)
HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

It's been a violent year in Hartford, but police are sweeping the streets.

Two men are now behind bars after being charged in two separate murders. 

This marked the fourth homicide arrest in Hartford in 18 days.

The arrests are for the 5th and 13th homicides of 2018, and both suspects appeared in court on Thursday.

The 5th homicide happened on March 19 on Westland Street. 20-year-old Tyrell Spence was shot and killed inside of his car.

Police arrested 21-year-old Kyrone "Smokey" Gardner in this shooting. 

Family told police Spence had been in an argument with his child's mother on Facebook live while others were watching and she said that she would get her uncle "Smokey" involved.

"You all can't charge me with something I didn't do," Gardner said in court on Thursday.

Gardner is being held on a $1.25 million bond. 

The 13th homicide happened on June 25 on North Canaan Street.

William Smalls, 42, was shot and killed inside his car that night.

Police arrested Damond Bester, 42, in this shooting.

Bester and Smalls had reportedly met up to settle a car accident they had both been in, and both agreed Bester was at fault, but something went awry.

Bester has an extensive criminal history, with federal gun charges as well as previous criminal weapons charge, and breaking and entering in Massachusetts.

He's being held on a $1.5 million bond.

One woman said the death of Smalls was like a cloud that hung over the neighborhood and she feels like it's been lifted now that an arrest was made. 

Erin Nurse moved from East Hartford to Hartford and Smalls' murder haunted her. 

"It was on my mind, it was a bit nervous for me to sleep at night because I was thinking, 'well will it happen again, will this be a common thing,'" said Nurse. 

Police attribute witnesses to helping solve both cases.

Both suspects are expected to appear back in court July 19.

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