Man shot to death in yard near downtown Raleigh

Staff WriterJanuary 1, 2006 

A man was fatally shot Saturday morning while standing in the front yard of a home just east of downtown.

Investigators identified the dead man as 26-year-old Charles Maurice White of Raleigh.

Officers spent Saturday trying to piece together what led to White's death on Maple Street just south of St. Augustine's College. They cordoned off the shotgun shack at 109 Maple St. where White was slain, scoured the street for evidence and took White's girlfriend, Tecia Hinton, and an unidentified man who reportedly lived in the neighborhood in for questioning.

Police would not comment on what they learned about the shooting, White or any potential suspects. Spokesman Jim Sughrue would only say that they believe the shooting was not random.

White was Raleigh's 21st homicide victim of 2005, according to police. His girlfriend's mother, Connie Hinton, said he was "good people." Wake County court records showed that he had been charged with armed robbery in October.

Early Saturday, White went to visit his mother with his girlfriend, her mother and his girlfriend's child, according to Connie Hinton. Then he piled into Tecia Hinton's car with the others and headed back to her house on Pelham Road.

According to Connie Hinton, his ride home stopped short just after 10 a.m. when he shouted out "hold up" as they passed a group of his friends near Maple Street. His final minutes were marked by his refusal to stay in his girlfriend's car, she said. Police refused to allow a reporter to speak to Tecia Hinton on Saturday afternoon.

"You know what I say to myself?" Connie Hinton said. "If he had only stayed in the car, he'd be alive now."

This is what happened in White's final minutes, according to Connie Hinton:

White approached the men and, after a few minutes, appeared to be arguing with someone. He stepped away from the apparent conflict for a moment at the urging of his girlfriend and got into her car, but hopped out before she could drive away.

Tecia Hinton then left him on Maple Street, a neighborhood of modest homes where pedestrians are as frequent as cars. Residents say their street sometimes serves as a place where people sell drugs and other contraband.

After she dropped her mother and child off at her house, Tecia Hinton turned around and headed back to Maple Street. When she got there about 10:30 a.m., White was already lying in the street with a bullet wound in his chest, police said. He was pronounced dead at 11:18 a.m. at WakeMed Raleigh Campus, according to police.

"It's like a doggone nightmare," Connie Hinton said. "It just doesn't seem right. One minute you're with a person, the next minute they're gone."

Staff writer Toby Coleman can be reached at 829-8937 or tcoleman@newsobserver.com.

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