Durham fugitive arrested in N.Y.

Man was sought in 2005 slaying

Staff WriterJune 30, 2006 

— A six-month manhunt for one of Durham's most-wanted suspects ended early Thursday when a fugitive task force team raided a Brooklyn, N.Y., apartment.

Roderick Jerome Wooten, 28, was asleep inside an apartment and didn't resist, police said.

Durham police say Wooten has been on the run since the Dec. 9 shooting death of his acquaintance, Michael Jason Harrington.

Harrington was shot on Scout Drive near Enterprise Street that morning, not far from his home on South Roxboro Street. He was 23 and was expecting his first child with his girlfriend, family members said.

Just hours after the killing, Durham police named Wooten their prime suspect. In the following weeks, police thought Wooten was still in Durham, hanging around the McDougald Terrace public housing complex and House Avenue on the west side of town. Several tipsters called the CrimeStoppers hot line, reporting they had seen him.

One such tip led police Dec. 28 to the Homestead Studio Suites on N.C. 55 in Durham, where a guest thought she recognized Wooten from his mug shot on the television news. That prompted a nearly two-hour evacuation, standoff and heavily armed raid of one of the rooms. Wooten was not inside.

Police think Wooten fled to Virginia soon after he learned he was wanted, said Durham police spokeswoman Kammie Michael. Then, they think, he traveled to New York.

Officers with the U.S. Marshals Violent Fugitive Task Force in the New York area began investigating reports he was staying in the Brooklyn apartment, said Sgt. Kevin Hayes with the New York City Police Department.

During Thursday's arrest, agents also found a handgun and some crack cocaine, police said. In addition to being charged as a fugitive from Durham, Wooten was charged with misdemeanor possession of crack cocaine and possession of a firearm by a felon, according to a Durham police news release. As a convicted felon, he's not allowed to have a handgun.

Wooten has a history of drug convictions and has been caught carrying a gun before, according to records with the state Department of Correction. At the time of Harrington's death, Wooten was on probation for marijuana possession, records show.

The suspect was being held in New York on Thursday morning, and authorities are expected to request he be extradited to Durham on the murder charge.

Staff writer Samiha Khanna can be reached at 956-2468 or skhanna@newsobserver.com.

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